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Lessons Learned in the 10 Years since 9/11

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
Crumbling 9/11

We've learned lots of safety lessons from September 11, 2001

Part 3 in our continuing series

Since August is U.S. Army Anti-Terrorism Awareness Month, and with the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 just around the corner, we are devoting five weeks to discuss the 10 lessons the world has learned from that fateful day and recommend emergency precautions that you should take now to give you and your family, friends, employees and colleagues the best chance of surviving another terrorist attack. In our third installment this week, here are two more lessons we’ve learned:

  1. Security-related incidents will likely impact transportation and travel.

The 9/11 attacks affected public transit, commuter rail, commercial vehicles and ferries, and resulted in the need for significant road repairs. What’s more, the way people travel has shifted since the now infamous act of terrorism on our country. According to the U.S. Travel Association:

  • Business travel was hit particularly hard by 9/11. Between 2011 and 2010, total volume declined, as businessmen and women exercised the option of replacing short business trips with conference calls.
  • The good news is that American leisure travel, on the other hand, has been resilient. Despite long lines and other symptoms of policies implemented by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the leisure segment has seen a 17% increase in travel since 2001.
  • International leisure travel to the U.S. basically lost an entire decade following the attacks. While global long-haul travel increased by 40%. During the same period, overseas travel to the United States rose by less than 2%.

While the travel industry reels, emergency management professionals strategize about ways to ensure safety for anyone traveling to or within the United States. Carefully monitoring and protecting travelers has become a critical part of safeguarding our nation. If you’ve flown since 2001, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the effects of heightened security at our nation’s airports. Among the changes:

  • Restricted Items—box cutters and other sharp objects as well as large quantities of liquids and gels are no longer allowed on airplanes.
  • Heightened security on aircraft—cockpit doors are bulletproof to prevent unauthorized access. Pilots also have the option to carry a gun. And more air marshals have been placed on flights. Curtains that used to divide first class and coach cabins have been removed.
  • Improved security screening—many passengers are patted down, everyone has to remove jackets, shoes and belts before passing through security checkpoints. Even casual comments made in passing (relative to terrorism or hijacking) are taken seriously.
  • Tighter Identification checks—all passengers must carry valid IDs.

Since restrictions could be placed on domestic and international travel in the event of another attack, systems have been put in place to alert citizens if it becomes necessary to ask residents to evacuate and/or avoid certain roads or areas for safety.

  1. Law enforcement involvement is necessary at local, state and federal levels due to the criminal nature of any and all terrorist attacks. Most counter-terrorism strategies involve an increase in standard police and local authorities. But did you know that you can play a part to aid officials in their efforts to protect the public?
  • Keep your eyes open and report suspicious activities to local agencies. The best way to do this is to become familiar with your surroundings so you will notice anything out of the ordinary.
  • The Army’s iWATCH Program encourages people to identify and report suspicious behavior that may be associated with terrorist activities.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encourages people to help authorities by suggesting: If you see something, say something. If you notice suspicious activity, report it to your local police department. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911.
  • Since attacks can come in the 3-D world or cyber space, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team offers a US-Cert Incident Reporting System. Learn to identify potential threats to your cyber security along with your physical safety.

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 Allied Universal, 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.

Cyber Security Awareness

Monday, November 9th, 2009
Take time to protect your cyber security.

Take time to protect your cyber security.

October marked National Cyber Security Awareness Month. So why are we bringing it up in November? Because cyber security’s importance means it’s a topic that deserves your attention all year.

In our digitally-connected times, cyber security efforts are important for all businesses and individuals. Action or inaction in dealing with security measures can impact an exponential number of other entities. Similar to stopping the spread of infectious diseases, good practices by everyone can help contain cyber threats and collectively save money.

A recent study sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) reports that small businesses’ “cyber security policies and actions are not adequate enough to ensure the safety of their employees, intellectual property and customer data.”

The study also says, “Only 28 percent of U.S. small businesses have formal Internet security policies and just 35 percent provide ANY training to employees about Internet safety and security.”

The Department of Homeland Security offers some recommended tips for cyber security:

  • Make sure that you have anti-virus software and firewalls installed, properly configured, and up-to-date. New threats are discovered every day. And keeping your software updated is one of the easier ways you can protect yourself from an attack. Set your computer to automatically update for you.
  • Update your operating system and critical program software. Software updates offer the latest protection against malicious activities. Turn on automatic updating if that feature is available.
  • Back up key files. If you have important files stored on your computer, copy them onto a removable disc and store it in a safe place.

Share this downloadable PDF from www.staysafeonline.info that explains what businesses can do to operate safely.

Allied Universal Inc. encourages property managers and owners to think about cyber security. Check back with us for frequent updates about cyber security and other safety issues. We hope these tips will help you to BE SAFE.

DHS Announces New Safety Prep Plan for Private Sector

Saturday, October 31st, 2009
An third-party auditor will evaluate your safety preparedness.

An third-party auditor will evaluate your safety preparedness.

The Department of Homeland Security announced a new program on October 16, 2009, called PS-Prep (Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program). The initiative was created to provide a voluntary accreditation and certification assessment for use in the private sector.

PS-Prep will assess whether a private sector organization—such as a commercial company, non-profit group or educational institution—complies with one or more voluntary preparedness standards adopted by DHS. Some areas of this certification program will include:

  • Disaster Management
  • Emergency Management
  • Business Continuity Programs

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano explained the reason for the new program by saying, “Preparedness is a shared responsibility and everyone—including businesses, universities and non-profit organizations—has a role to play. Ensuring our private sector partners have the information and training they need to respond to disasters will strengthen our efforts to build a culture of preparedness nationwide.”

Through PS-Prep, any small business, hospital, stadium, non-profit organization or corporation can be certified by an accredited third party, which checks for conformity to one or more preparedness standards. Once these standards have been certified, periodic reassessments will ensure that the business is still in compliance.

Participation in PS-Prep is entirely voluntary. Nevertheless, it would behoove anyone working in the private sector to take advantage of this opportunity. Reducing the impact of hazards and planning to protect employees, allows business owners and non-profit directors to recover and reopen following a natural disaster or other emergency. Since business recovery after disasters is uncommon, PS-Prep should help get more people back in business.

At Allied Universal Inc., we believe that it is vital to develop and implement plans to reduce the impact of a potential emergency or disaster, which is why we encourage seeking certification on at least one or more standards set out by DHS. For more information on the new PS-Prep Program, visit FEMA.

Becoming certified is a definite, important way to BE SAFE!!