CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — On Saturday, a gun accidentally went off at Atlanta’s airport causing instant panic and fears of an active shooter. It’s the sort of mayhem that officials at Yeager Airport are trying to avoid.

“Having just gone through this scenario in Atlanta, knowing that this system is going to be in our airport makes our passengers, and our tenants, and our employees all that much safer,” said Russel Kennedy, Operations Manager at Yeager Airport.

The shooter detection system is an additional layer of protection to security that’s already in place.
The system will cover the entire terminal as well as the general aviation facility in a separate building.

“It works in such a way that if a gunshot is detected then it will send out mass notifications. It will also work hand-in-hand with the camera systems that we have to pull those cameras up so that our operations personnel can notify police,” said Eric Johnson, Chief Police Officer at Yeager Airport.

The system will be monitored 24 hours a day in the Airport Response Coordination Center, or ARCC.

“There are sensors that are mounted on the walls. They are very indiscriminate and they double-check themselves. They check two things. They check for the audio signature of the gunfire, but they also check for an infrared flash,” said Johnson.

First responders, including Charleston police, will get instant notifications if a gun goes off anywhere inside the building. If a shooter were to move through the airport firing more shots, the sensors will track them.
Johnson says the detection system is already installed in other airports and has never had a false positive.

“It’s actually going to be a great thing that we hope we never have to use,” said Kennedy.

Yeager police hope the new shooter detection system is installed within the next year, and most importantly know this will help ensure safety at Yeager Airport.