Anyone that has been to the airport and boarded a plane has wondered about debris on the runway. Debris around aircraft is what is known as foreign object debris (FOD). It really is anything that can harm or strike an aircraft while it is on the tarmac. In order to combat FOD on the tarmac and runways airports use a FOD sweeper to keep the area clean around the aircraft. Another way that airports keep the area safe clear of FOD is effectively designing and implementing an Aviation FOD Protocol.
Steps to Keeping the Airport Tarmac Clean and Safe
Having an Aviation FOD Program in place is an effective method of keeping FOD under control. It takes every person working and managing the tarmac to make this kind of program successful.
- Every good program starts with management. They must be committed 100 percent to the program before it will ever become successful. If they do not believe that the program can work, then no one else that works under them will ever embrace it. They must show their support by the work that they do.
- The program must have clear steps for employees to take in order to keep FOD picked up. There should even be reminder posters spread around so employees walk by they are reminded of their duty to help keep the area clean.
- All employees will need to be trained, so they are knowledgeable of the program. They should also be encouraged to take what they know and help others that may struggle with the FOD program.
- Employees should also have the tools to accomplish the goal of the FOD program. There should be secured trashcans available for use, a FOD sweep on standby so it can be used when needed, and procedures listed to handle serious FOD issues.
- Constant monitoring should be the set standard. Everyone must keep up the effort in order to make the tarmac and runways safe as possible for the millions of people that fly every year. Training should be provided on the most basic of tools like the FOD sweeper. So employees on every shift know how to use the equipment.
FOD is a serious problem that every airport has to deal with. A well-designed program equipped with a FOD sweep and other necessary equipment is important to see the danger disappear. Airports with construction in progress really has the need to double their efforts to keep things cleaned up. It is vital to keep the area safe and sound for everyone.