MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In the wake of Ebola, South Florida’s major airports have been fine tuning their highly intricate emergency plans which spells out the response to an Ebola scenario.
The communicable disease emergency plan for Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport is 72 pages long.READ MORE: Florida Condo Collapse Settlement Reaches, Tops $1 Billion
It covers everything from cholera which is a problem in the Caribbean to dengue and yellow fever which is a problem in the Americas.
The plan says the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls the shots on any communicable disease scare involving an arriving international flight.
The Florida Department of Health makes the calls when the flight is domestic.
Broward Sheriffs Fire Rescue Division Chief Tammy Nugent said her team will be the first aboard as part of a multi-agency response to assess the situation.
“What are the symptoms? Where have they been?Where are they coming from,” said Nugent.
While in the cabin, first responders will be on the phone with the CDC quarantine station in Miami.
The plan says detection of a disease threat starts with the cabin crew who alerts the flight deck of a sick passenger. The commanding officer then alerts the tower who triggers a well-coordinated emergency response on landing.READ MORE: South Florida Man Accused Of Setting Wife On Fire, Hitting Her With His Car
The plan defines a sick passenger, who should be reported by the flight crew, as someone with a fever of 100 degrees or higher in flight with a rash, swollen glands or jaundice. Also, someone suffering from diarrhea.
Depending on the airline’s policy, everyone else on the flight may not learn of the emergency until the flight has landed. The plan contains prepared scripts for the flight crew to read over the public address system. It says the doors won’t be opened until first responders arrive suited up.
Passengers seated near the sick passenger could be asked to fill out a CDC passenger locator form that asks for phone numbers and addresses to find the people up to three weeks after the incident which is the typical incubation period.
Fort Lauderdale Airport’s plan also takes into account what the airport says is an absolute last case scenario of an entire plane needing to be quarantined for Ebola.
Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport said it is highly unlikely they will ever have an Ebola situation but the plan also lists cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, SARS, and novel strains of influenza as maladies which could result in a quarantine of not only a sick passenger but others on the plane with them.
The plan is extremely detailed and covers everything from decontaminating the jetliner and what to do with passenger luggage to how passengers will receive quarantine orders and what to do about their families.
Both Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airport are planning emergency drills involving infectious diseases like Ebola in the coming months.
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