Flight 1420 Anniversary Memorial Dedication
June 1, 2004
Remarks by Jeff Arnold, Safety and Family Assistance
Thank you for joining our 1420 Family today as we dedicate this Memorial. Know that as a result of 1420, there have been some safety improvements in air travel and post-disaster care assistance.
One very noticeable improvement is just off the end of runway 4 Right, where 1420 ran off the end. The EMAS, that's Engineered Materials Arresting System were installed. That system will safely slow a plane down that over-runs the runway. They were part of the airport's capital improvement program and were actually put on that schedule prior to 1420.
Unfortunately while there is significant nation-wide emphasis on automobile “child seats”, commercial aircraft have not received the same attention. Earlier this year, Child Restraint Seats, or CRS, almost fell off the National Transportation Safety Board's “Most Wanted, Transportation Safety Improvements” list as an issue of concern. Fortunately, CRS is still on their list, although its status is “still being assessed”. At least more airlines are allowing passengers to bring on their own CRS, but there is still a long ways to go. A Child Restraint Seat saved one of our 1420 children.
1420 probably made the most significant changes with airlines' CARE response. CARE is what many airlines call their “Compassionate Assistance Relief Effort” – the “system” that airlines use to support survivors and family members following a disaster.
Many of our 1420 family survivors and family members have shared our story many times – some by writing, some by telling the 1420 story to airlines, aircraft rescue fire-fighting groups, and other organizations, including those that train CARE responders, like the Family Assistance Foundation. Our story, and the way we were taken care of – some of it worked, and some of it could be improved, were taken to heart by many, and in turn have helped other survivors, family members, and friends following disasters.
One “device” that emerged from our story is the CARE Card. It was developed by Alaska Airlines after hearing one of our survivor's speak and has since been copied by many other airlines including JetBlue, Delta, Atlantic Coast , and even South African Airlines. The card is an unobtrusive way to let families know who they can call for help and what kind of assistance can be offered. The fact that so many airlines and even railroads in the United Kingdom copied this card is a testimony to its value for assisting others.
Many of our family have opened up themselves and given ever so freely to others following disasters, to try to ease the pain and suffering of others. Believe me when I say, many of the airlines truly appreciate us and hearing our story. They benefit and are inspired by our story and in turn, are better able to meet the needs of those who grieve …and those who survive…because of us.
Thank you for joining us today and God Bless You.