Thursday, October 28, 2010

EU grants €3.4 million to BEMOSA to conduct research on improving airport security

The European Union has awarded 3.4 million euro to BEMOSA (Behavior Modeling for Security in Airports) to conduct research on how to improve airport security.

Prof. Avi Kirschenbaum of the Technion’s Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management will lead the research project, which is focusing on the human rather than technological factors affecting airport security.

Airport administrations in Israel and Europe are cooperating on the project and the research will be presented at an international conference of administrators from 100 airports.

BEMOSA is a European-wide consortium consisting of 11 partners from nine different countries within the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research & Technology Development. The research project focuses on describing actual behavior in the field, with the aim of developing innovative worldwide plans for training airport staff in a way that will assist them in disaster management and risk reduction.

An initial field study of 250 airport employees has already been carried out, with Prof. Kirschenbaum finding that many employees do not operate according to guidelines.

“This stems from the fact that their training is focused on the individual while decisions are made by the group,” said Prof Kirshenbaum. “This leads to many false alarms, which cause disruption and a tremendous waste of resources. Training should be adapted to conditions in the field.

"At critical moments in an emergency, there is no time to consult a supervisor or read the manual,” Prof Kirschenbaum added. “In order to prevent disasters and deal with them properly, we have to ensure that all the teams, and not just security teams, are trained and highly motivated.”