Sunport builds emergency shelter for worst case scenario

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The city finished building a huge room at the Sunport that it hopes no one will ever have to see. It’s for an emergency Albuquerque’s airport has never had to deal with.

“It’s something that we hope is never ever used. But in case it is, we want to make sure we accommodated the situation and certainly accommodated the family members,” said Jack Scherer of the Albuquerque International Sunport.

The Family Assistance Center is one of the newest additions to the Sunport. This space was originally an old ticketing office, but the Sunport and the City of Albuquerque worked with the Red Cross to turn it into a room built for any sort of emergency. That could mean major weather delays, to a plane crash, or terrorist attack.

“It’s one of safety sensitive areas where we want to make sure all precautions are taken both on the entry of the screening, but also in the case of an emergency,” said Gilbert Montano of the City of Albuquerque.

In the event of an emergency, the Red Cross will send in a team of people to help. The room comes equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, water fountains and a computer for people to notify friends and family of the situation.

“The families will come and be sequestered. They will be given information concerning the event. They’ll be given updates,” said Sherer.

The Family Assistance Center also has areas for kids to play and even counseling rooms. Staff at the Sunport are currently working to upgrade the furniture, but it’s still something they hope will be a waste of money in the end.

“Being prepared for what you shouldn’t be prepared for. It’s far better to over prepare than under prepare and regret,” said Montano.

This is something the Sunport is copying from other major airports across the country. It’s only available for emergency situations and will not be accessible to the general public. The entire project cost $350,000 and was paid for with airport funds.

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