On the afternoon of July 4, 2022, people were evacuated from Terminal 4 at JFK. The reason for the evacuation was later reported as a bomb scare and it led to heightened security with the bomb squad and detectives scouring the area.
People were first notified of the evacuation through an announcement over the PA system and then via text message from the airport authority. The JFK Twitter account also sent out a tweet asking people to avoid the area.
It made it to the news at a local ABC network which reported the evacuation on the video below;
What are security evacuations at airports?
Since 9/11 the security at airports has been ramped up and there are now a number of procedures in place to deal with potential threats. These include evacuations, which are carried out when there is a credible threat or suspicious activity is detected.
How are airport evacuations conducted?
When an evacuation is required, the airport authority will make an announcement over the PA system and also send out text messages to people in the area. The police and other security personnel will then start to clear the area.
Why was JFK Evacuated?
On Sunday, a bomb squad was called to John F. Kennedy International Airport after an unattended bag was found there, according to the US Port Authority Police Department (PAPD). Terminal four of JFK Airport’s official Twitter account announced at 11: 26 a.m. that PAPD was investigating a security concern.
Timeline of the Evacuation at JFK:
11:26: At 11: 26 a.m., the official Twitter account of JFK Airport stated that PAPD was investigating a security incident in terminal four.
Due to a security incident, arrivals and departure levels at Terminal 4 remain closed to inbound traffic. Please expect traffic delays and allow additional travel time.— John F. Kennedy Airport (@JFKairport) July 3, 2022
At 11:47 a.m., officials said that arrivals and departures at terminal four were closed to inbound traffic, adding that passengers should expect traffic delays and allow extra time for travel.
Earlier security incident has been cleared. Arrivals and departure level roadways at Terminal 4 have reopened. Please expect residual traffic delays and allow additional travel time.— John F. Kennedy Airport (@JFKairport) July 3, 2022
What should you do during an airport evacuation?
If you are in the airport when an evacuation is announced, you should follow the instructions of the security personnel and leave the area quickly and calmly. Do not try to take any belongings with you as this will slow down the evacuation. Move away from the terminal building and await further instructions. If you are in a vehicle, stop in a safe place and do not try to drive towards the airport.
What happens after an airport evacuation?
Step 1: Determine/investigate the threat:
Once everyone has been evacuated from the terminal, the first step is to determine what the threat is. This will be done by the bomb squad and other security personnel. Sniffing dogs or bomb squad may be called in to help with this.
Step 2: The threat is neutralized:
If the threat is deemed to be credible, the next step is to neutralize it. This may involve detonating the device or making it safe so that it can be removed.
Step 3: Airport reopens:
Once the threat has been dealt with, the airport will reopen and passengers will be able to return to the terminal. There may be some delays while the airport gets back to normal operations
Bomb threats at JFK Airport today:
According to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, there have been a number of bomb threats over the past few years. If there is actually a successful terrorism threat, you’ll probably hear on the news as JFK is a major hub and is among the busiest airports in the world.
As I write this in October, there is no active bomb threat as per PANYNJ and my news tracker on emerging threats for flights indicates that there hasn’t been a threat in the past 24 hours.
Below are some recent threats covered in the news;
July 2022(NY POST)
Other recent airport evacuations:
On Oct 4, 2022, HawaiiNewsNow reported that authorities in HONOLULU have given the “all clear” after a suspicious bag triggered evacuations at two gates and several baggage claim areas at Honolulu’s airport on Monday.
Why You Should be wary of suspicious abandoned bags:
The reason that airport security takes abandoned bags seriously is that they could be used to smuggle explosives onto an aircraft. This has been a tactic of terrorists in the past, and it is something that security officials are always on the lookout for.
In March 2016, for example, suicide bombers killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and a nearby subway station. The attacks were carried out using explosives-laden suitcases.
So if you see a suspicious bag at an airport, do not try to open it or move it yourself. Instead, notify a security officer so that they can deal with it appropriately.
How safe is JFK Airport?
JFK is one of the busiest airports in the world, handling over 59 million passengers in 2019. It is also one of the most secure, with a comprehensive security system that includes CCTV, perimeter fences, and armed police officers.
In addition, the airport has its own fire and rescue service, as well as a medical center.
So while there is always a risk when traveling, JFK is about as safe as it gets.
What are some breaking news about JFK today?
JFK has made headlines lately for the notorious cancellation of flights by different airlines such as Delta. The airline has been forced to cancel over 1,000 flights in the past week due to a severe winter storm that has hit the east coast of the United States.
Flights are slowly starting to resume, but passengers are advised to check the status of their flight before traveling to the airport.
There have also been delays in the past week due to a power outage at one of the airport’s terminals. The power has since been restored and operations are back to normal. You can always check The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey website to get the latest updates on airport conditions.
They also have a number of channels they use to share any news;
JFK is a safe and secure airport, but as with any major travel hub, there is always a risk of something happening. Stay up to date with the latest news and information by following the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey website or your airline’s social media accounts.
There are also some great hotels near JFK that you can book in case you need to cancel your flight. In this article, I have listed all hotels that offer free shuttles to and from JFK.
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