Organizations that deal directly with the public must always be prepared for the unexpected. Risks lurk at every turn, and if employees are not ever vigilant, something can rapidly go wrong – and place your operation in the glaring light of the media's focus.

Such was the case recently for Rome's Fiumicino airport, which is defending its security procedures after a drunk Norwegian passenger fell asleep on a baggage belt, and was subsequently carried for 15 minutes through Terminal 3 with no one apparently noticing.

In fact, the first anyone noticed something amiss is when he showed up on their x-ray monitors as he passed through the security equipment.  

You've got to love the response from the Airport. A senior officer with the airport police said the incident exposed no weaknesses in the terminal’s security. He also indicated it was not the first kind of incident involving “drunks or people with psychological problems”.

After all, they deal with pilots all the time. I don't know what else that could mean.

The passenger was taken to a local hospital and then referred to prosecutors. It is not often that someone can go to the hospital with a copy of his own recent x-rays, but I bet that saved the medical teams there some steps. I assume any charges might include “making the airport security look like idiots”.

Bottom line, have a plan when something goes terribly awry. At least have something better than blaming drunks or people with psychological problems.Those people have enough trouble.

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