Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Security Equipment Review 2-26-08

Once again it is time to look at some new technology and gadgets that are being developed that could be used in protecting a chemical facility from a potential terrorist attack. Warning: I have not laid a hand on any of these gadgets so all of this information is from the web sites indicated; appearance on this page is not an endorsement of any product or technology.


Vehicle Barriers


One of the quickest ways to achieve the catastrophic release of either a toxic or flammable release COI is to detonate a vehicle bomb in the general vicinity of a large storage tank. Stopping a vehicle from getting close enough for the bomb to damage the storage tank is a key requirement in any site security plan. We’ll look at two different approaches.


The first device is a variant on the fixed bollard, vertical poles sticking out of the ground. Delta Scientific has developed a shallow foundation version that overcomes many of the problems facilities encounter when post-fitting these devices into facilities. The standard bollard can require four foot or deeper holes for installation. The DSC650 Shallow Foundation Bollard only requires a 12” foundation and still meets ASTM F2656-07 Crash Test standards.


Bollards are not really a useable option at a truck gate and the swing arms normally used at such gates will do little to stop a speeding vehicle. Engineered Arresting Systems Corporation (ESCO) has used its background in carrier aircraft arrester systems to develop a Vehicle Arresting System (VAS). The net type arrester is capable of stopping a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling at up to 50 mph. The retractable system is installed in the ground and can be command deployed or automatically deployed.


Non-Lethal Weapon


There is a long running debate about the use of armed guards versus unarmed guards. Many facilities are reluctant to incur the added cost and liability of sustaining an armed guard force. There are the additional problems that firearms present in a chemical facility; bullets can put holes in storage tanks and discharging a firearm in a flammable atmosphere is dangerous to say the least.


A California based company, Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS), has developed a non-lethal weapon that would seem to be well suited to use by guards at chemical facilities. The device is a LED flashlight that flashes at alternating frequencies and disorients individuals that look into the beam. It does not do permanent physical harm or even incapacitate individuals so the suspect still has to be physically detained. The device can also be used as a standard flashlight; an essential tool for security personnel.


Mobile CCTV


Many facilities are going to use a variety of electronic systems to monitor the facility perimeter to detect unauthorized intruders. Any such system will still require that security personnel be dispatched to the scene to determine what is happening. A prompt, detailed report will be required to allow the security manager to decide what type of response is warranted.


A British company, Wireless CCTV, has developed a mobile CCTV system that will ensure that the security manager gets real-time, detailed information from that initial response team. Security personnel can wear the camera vest and pictures can be transmitted by cell-phone technology to the facility base station. This allows the supervisor to see and hear what the security personnel do. This will allow an informed response and allow management direction of the personnel on scene.

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