After the grand assault of 9/11, many security analysts worried terror cells were plotting similar or even larger scale attacks. Fortunately, however, due to law enforcement efforts and increased security, the likelihood of broad attacks involving multiple agents has actually decreased since 2001. This is due in part to decentralization of terrorist groups, which means more individuals might be operating without financial or operational backing. Unfortunately, it also means that the location of potential terror targets grows beyond high profile targets in major cities. City officials and police chiefs are responding by participating in terrorism-prevention training.
What should facility managers do in the face of the changing terrorism threat?
- Installation of outside surveillance cameras can dissuade perpetrators from selecting your building for a “dry run” or actual attack. Electronic surveillance is also a good idea if your guard dog is prone to dozing off. I would never do that, myself. But I’ve heard tails of this sort. (Pun intended.)
- Use Bollards to deter truck bombs. A Bollard is a large three to four foot post which can often be lowered and raised to allow or deny access into sensitive areas. I wonder if they make doghouse-sized bollards.
- Ask city officials not to refuse to provide architectural plans of their facility to any outside person or organization.
- Review procedures that allow non employees to enter the building. Set procedures to intercept packages and deliveries at a secure location. Require all visitors to be met and escorted by tenant personnel before being allowed into the building. Or you could hire a canine to sniff out trouble at the front gate.
- Walk a block away from your building and then try to find a way back. (Take your pooch with you!) Is the parking garage secure? Do side doors remain unlocked? If you do your homework, you will be able to uncover potential Security holes.
The importance of individual vigilance:
- As potential terror perpetrators become less organized and individuals begin operating solo, law enforcement has less information to stop attacks.
- Individual awareness of suspicious activities can thwart attacks in progress, even if your bark is worse than your bite.
- As with any goal, individual collaboration is the key to success. Encourage tenants to speak up if they see something out of place. Also, involvement of the custodial and parking staff can increase the potential for staff eyes and ears to spot potential issues.
In addition preventing potential attacks, facility managers should work with tenants to establish procedures in the event it becomes necessary to manage the aftermath of an attack:
- Review and improve evacuation procedures for building occupants. Speedy and orderly exit during an emergency can save lives.
- Establish protocols for reporting suspicious activity. Make sure there is a clear “chain of information,” with one facility point of contact for law enforcement.
In our free society, it is likely that terror threats will occur. However, individual attention combined with enhanced security measures can stop threats in action. With the recent Times Square bombing thwarted in part by a street vendor, ordinary citizens and their canine companions can make a real difference in terror prevention.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.