Tuesday, March 9, 2010

VBIED Defense

Last month I did a brief piece on a then planned CFATS Seminar to be conducted by Ameristar. That seminar has been completed and I recently received a copy of the presentation made by Protective Technologies Group (PTG) about protecting buildings against blast effects from vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). As one who has received some training in using a variety of explosives to destroy things, I was impressed by the presented information. Yesterday I had a chance to talk to Allan Mangold from PTG. I had wanted to find out why his excellent presentation did not contain any information about protecting chemical storage tanks. After all, one of the major scenarios that is supposed to be considered in developing an SVA and an SSP is the use of a VBIED to attack storage facilities containing chemicals of interest. The short answer is that he was asked by Ameristar to do a basic introduction to blast protection not chemical facility blast protection. Actually, our conversation was anything but short. It turns out that Allan and I have a lot in common. We grew up within miles of each other in the San Francisco Bay Area. We both have Army training (including blowing things up). And we are both true believers. We talked extensively about how most people do not understand that the blast effects of a major explosion can be defended against with some relatively simple techniques. What it takes is a basic understanding of how blast and overpressure affect structures. While I have a basic understanding, Alan and his organization have made it their job to develop an expanding understanding of blast protection in all of its complexities.

Since one of the major reasons I am writing this blog is to educate the chemical community about ways they can protect their facilities, I am pretty sure that Alan and I are going to have a number of future conversations so I can pick his brain about ways to communicate this particularly complex protective topic thru this blog. Since he’s passionate about blast protection techniques, I’m sure we can come up with something.

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