Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reader Comment 08-23-10 ERP Planning

Edward, a reader who works with CFATS facilities on their security planning, responded to an earlier blog about emergency response planning. As is usual with Edward’s comments, he makes some interesting points that I missed in my post.

Responder Protection

Edward writes:
“It is highly likely that in addition to fire, that Law Enforcement and EMT will be forced to operate in a hazardous atmosphere of some type. It is imperative the plan be matched with the resources and that the resources be properly trained and have access to the proper equipment.”
This is a very good point that I haven’t seen addressed before. Law enforcement personnel responding to a terrorist attack on a high-risk chemical facility will potentially be exposed to multiple chemical hazards on that site. Most of these personnel will not have adequate training to recognize and respond to such potential hazards. It is highly unlikely that the average patrol car will be carrying the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely respond to an incident in a contaminated environment.

In cities with multiple chemical facilities, Baton Rouge or Houston come quickly to mind, patrol cars would need to be mini-vans to carry the wide variety of PPE to allow the patrol personnel to safely respond to all of the various chemical hazards at the multiple facilities to which they might be required to respond. Obviously this would not be practical.

Tactical Response

Edward also notes:
“On another note, when considering the threat scenarios offered by CFATS, it is very likely that the lone deputy or patrolman will not offer a viable or adequate response. Tactical teams and EOD also play a large role in the response to CFATS incidents and must be coordinated for and included in the SSP.”
I certainly agree with Edward that during an active terrorist attack, unless you have a lone, unarmed terrorist on site, a singe patrolman, or even a two man team (though few patrol cars ever carry two patrolmen) will be an inadequate response to control the situation. At most they are going to be able to secure the front gate until a tactical response team arrives on site. With the threat of IED’s or vehicle borne IED’s (VBIED’s) the need for the response of an EOD team is also a near given.

Facility security planners need to take this into account when they consider whether or not to use armed guards at the facility. I understand the reluctance to have fire arm toting people on site where the simple act of discharging a fire arm could possibly cause a conflagration. An on-site armed response team may be necessary to stop a successful terrorist attack when the response time for a tactical team would prevent a timely interception of the terrorists.

Security planners also need to consider that an armed site security team can be aware of those sectors of the facility where the discharge of weapons may pose a serious hazard to the safety of the facility where an outside security response force without that familiarity might increase the threat to facility security.

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