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Posts Tagged ‘counter-terrorism’

Air Travel Safety

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Unexpected vacation disasters can strike whether you travel by ship, airplane or horse and buggy. In the coming weeks, we will examine the best way to BE SAFE by preparing for travel-related emergencies. Last week, we covered safety in road trips. This week, we will focus on air travel.

The good news is that, according to CNN writer Brett Snyder, 2011 was an incredibly safe year for commercial air travel. In fact, Snyder reports, “There were only 373 fatalities on 18 scheduled passenger flights worldwide.” Considering that there are roughly 10 million flights per year in the U.S. alone, this is a remarkable feat.

More good news is the anticipated installation of surveillance equipment in 81 markets by a major player in the public safety and professional communication market (HRS). This is significant because many airplane accidents are said to be related to insufficient aircraft surveillance equipment, particularly in remote areas.

These moves, along with stringent TSA training guidelines, have once again made air travel the one of the safest ways to get from Point A to Point B. In fact, according to a report in Forbes, commercial airline builder Boeing says that it is 22 times safer to fly than it is to drive on a per-mile basis. Boeing officials report: “Fewer people have died in commercial airplane accidents over the past 60 years than are killed in U.S. auto accidents over a typical three-month period.”

Unfortunately, however, as one TSA administrator admitted at an air transport security conference, “If we try to apply the reliable, predictable-world principles of safety to the non-linear, inherently unpredictable world of terrorism, it may lead to the worst kind of disaster: where calamity occurs because we think we are following all the rules, doing it ‘right.”

So, while we ultimately have little choice but to leave the big picture of airline safety to Department of Homeland Security officials, as consumers, what steps can we take to make sure the skies we travel this summer remain friendly? Here are a few helpful hints for you to follow so you can BE SAFE:

  1. Remember the 3-1-1 rule. TSA and private security partners have conducted extensive explosives testing since 2006 and determined that liquids, aerosols and gels, in limited quantities, are safe to bring aboard an aircraft. However, the one-bag limit per traveler limits the total amount each traveler can bring. Consolidating the bottles into one bag and X-raying them separately from the carry-on bag enables security officers to quickly clear the items. For more specifics, check out the TSA website.
  2. Don’t agree to watch someone’s bag while they use the restroom or step out of line. The luxury of leaving anything unattended in the airport ended on 9/11. What’s more, don’t make the mistake of leaving one of your own bags unattended while at the airport.
  3. Don’t joke about airport security while you’re at the airport. Although you might enjoy poking fun of the rules relative to removing shoes and jackets, if you make the mistake of cracking a joke about terrorism while at the airport, you will likely find yourself escorted to a hidden room for questioning by TSA officials.
  4. Cooperate with officials. Although you might often find yourself the subject of “random searches” at the airport, try to grin and bear it. Try to remember that airport security screening is tight for your protection. And the more cooperative you are, the swifter the boarding process will be for everyone.
  5. Don’t attempt to bring anything on board that is forbidden by the FAA or TSA. For instance, the FAA forbids the carriage of hazardous materials on commercial aircraft. Likewise, the TSA forbids the carriage of certain items for security reasons. To follow these rules, you need to be familiar with them. So click on the links for specifics.

When a disaster of any kind strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 3.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. What’s more, the NEW Allied Universal Property Messaging System is included FREE for all Allied Universal Online Training System users. Visit for more information.

Terrorism Avoidance

Monday, June 14th, 2010
Enterprising terrorists can make bombs out of fertilizer.

Enterprising terrorists can make bombs out of fertilizer.

This is our final blog in a series covering terrorism-related issues. Our first post provided an overview of the threats of terrorism, including suggestions for to work with law enforcement to stop terrorist plots. Our second blog explored the basics of counter-terrorism surveillance including CCTV systems and tips for spotting suspicious behavior. Today, we wrap up our series with thoughts about avoiding terrorist attacks by paying attention to the threat level for current terrorism risks, making your building a difficult target for attack, and suggestions for properly reporting suspicious acts.

Pay attention to the current “threat level

  • The Homeland Security Advisory System was established in 2002 following the 9/11 attacks. The threats range from “Low” to “Severe” and are intended to alert the public about the current estimated terrorist risk. Specific government actions are required for any given threat level to go into effect.
  • When the threat level is raised to the orange/high or red/severe levels, you should expand your surveillance efforts and take other security precautions. Threats might pertain to your particular building or one of your specific tenant’s business operations.

Make your building a less attractive terrorism target

  • In July 2006, a plot by suicide bombers in the NYC commuter rail was revealed by law enforcement personnel, who stated that the conspirator had already obtained detailed blueprints of the rail tunnels prior to the attack. Secure building blueprints which can be used to establish weak points for entering or destroying the structure. Limit the blueprints availability online and train your property managers to follow proper procedures for releasing building information.
  • Pay special attention to tenants who work with or produce materials that could be used to make explosive devices and those that work in aviation-related fields or construction-related companies. For example, Canadian officials recently investigated an individual who purchased a large quantity of manure that is sometimes used to make fertilizer-based bombs. Work with tenants to ensure they follow safety and securing procedures, for both their intellectual and physical properties.

A fundamental way to prevent terrorist attacks is to properly report suspicious activity to stop attacks in the planning stages. In the Allied Universal, Inc. surveillance blog, we talked about identifying suspicious activities but did not explore how to gather and report that activity to law enforcement:

  • Note the familiar “who, what, where, when and why,” which are vitally important to establish time lines for law enforcement so attacks can be thwarted.
  • Train your surveillance team to pay attention to details such as license plate information, nationality, build and clothing.
  • Additional information can be found in our training program, where we provide RJ Westmore Training System clients with a “Terrorism Awareness Checklist.”

Thanks for reading our series about terrorism-related issues and what you can do as building owners or property managers to mitigate risks and work with authorities to prevent attacks.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our e-based system offers the best emergency training available, with automated and integrated features. Allied Universal, Inc. is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit trade organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Visit for more information and remember to BE SAFE.