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Posts Tagged ‘terrorist threats’

Disaster Preparation Lessons from the Olympics

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

As we look forward to the 2012 Olympic Games to be held this summer in London, officials are doing their due diligence to prepare for potential natural and man-made disasters. After all, planning and preparation is critical for an event that brings together millions of people from all over the world. For security reasons, the International Olympic Committee will not disclose specific steps they are taking to ensure safety for the games. Nevertheless, some disaster management experts agree about the type of disasters that are most likely to strike after the torch is lit during the opening ceremonies in Olympic Stadium in Stratford on July 27.

Disaster preparation has played a crucial role in every game since the so-called Munich Massacre of 1972 when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by Palestinian terrorists. What’s more, the events of 9/11 made preparation all the more critical, tipping the scales in focused planning from natural to man-made disasters.

Two disaster planning and preparedness recently released a novel which explores a likely threat to the 2012 games. Entitled Prion, the work explores the potential of an attack on the London 2012 Olympics using biological agents. Although the thriller is fiction, it sheds light on one of the most likely types of threats to the 2012 games…bioterrorism. Authors, Dr. Italo Subbarao and Dr. Ed Hsu, U.S.-based experts in disaster planning preparedness and emergency medicine, point out the potential dangers of man-made biological agents slipping into the wrong hands.

The authors say their work was inspired, in part, by a 2011 report by the Bipartisan WMD Terrorism Research Center in the United States, which highlighted numerous areas for improvement and concluded that: “The nation does not yet have adequate bio-response capability to meet fundamental expectations during a large-scale biological event.”

“If the U.S. is so unprepared, can the UK—or any other country—honestly claim to be in any better position?” asks Dr. Subbarao.

Rest assured the WMD Report Card was written in 2011. Since that time, extensive time and attention has been devoted to beefing up security protocols in both the U.S. and the U.K. So, even as officials ready the nations, how should average United States’ citizens prepare for a bioterrorist attack? We say this often at Allied Universal Inc, where our goal is to SAVE LIVES THROUGH TRAINING: With bioterrorism as well as any other disaster, to BE SAFE, your best bet is to prepare:

  1. Assemble a kit. Your standard Emergency Supply Kit should include items like non-perishable food, water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries.
  2. Stay informed. The first evidence of an attack may be when you notice symptoms of the disease caused by exposure to an agent. Follow these guidelines during a biological threat:
  1. Make a plan.
    • Check with your doctor to ensure all required or suggested immunizations are up to date. (Children and older adults are particularly vulnerable to biological agents.)
    • Consider installing a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in your furnace-return ducts. These filters remove particles in the 0.3 to 10 micron range and will filter out most of the biological agents that might enter your home or office building. If you do not have a central heating or cooling system, a stand-alone portable HEPA filter can be used.
    • Although you might consider investing in gas or surgical face masks, be aware that masks are only effective when worn at the exact time that the agent is released.
    • Familiarize yourself with your community’s warning systems and disaster plans.
    • Public health officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. Watch TV, listen to the radio or check the Internet for official news and information including signs and symptoms of the disease, areas in danger, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where to seek medical attention if you become ill.
  1. BE SAFE. If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance:
    • Quickly get away.
    • Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing.
    • If you have been exposed to a biological agent, remove and bag your clothes and personal items. Follow official instructions for disposal of contaminated items.
    • Wash yourself with soap and water and put on clean clothes.
    • Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs.
    • If you believe you have been exposed to a toxic agent, contact authorities and seek medical assistance. You may be advised to stay away from others or even quarantined.
    • In a declared biological emergency or developing epidemic, there may be reason to stay away from crowds where others may be infected.
    • Wait for instructions from doctors and other public health officials.
    • For more information about bioterrism, refer to cdc.gov.

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 rjwestmore.com for more information.

Preventing Terrorist Attacks

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Are you prepared for the threat of terrorism?

Are you prepared for the threat of terrorism

With the recent attempted bombing in Times Square, terrorism prevention and surveillance of threats are, once again, front page news. This is the first post in a series about terrorism-related issues, which we will explore to help property owners and managers recognize and mitigate terrorist threats.

Thanks to the efforts of intelligence and law enforcement agencies, several terrorist plots that focused on commercial buildings have been thwarted over the past several years. As seen in the recent New York City attempt, the actions of diligent civilians can also prevent catastrophe. Also, common sense and surveillance procedures increase awareness about things that “just don’t look right.”

Our first post in this series is an introduction to terrorist groups and explanation of their probable motives for planning an attack. Knowing this basic information can help provide context as to the types of targets and methods that some groups will likely use to cause damage.

Terrorist Threats

  • Domestic Groups:
    • Before the 9/11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing was the largest modern terrorist attack in the United States.
    • Domestic groups have anti-government agendas that can be based on perceived racial or socioeconomic issues.
  • International Groups:
    • Al-Qaeda is arguably the most well known terrorist group in the world. The group seeks to broadcast its views by destroying well-known targets in headline-producing fashion.
    • Other lesser known internationally-based groups, such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, also have aspirations to attack U.S. interests.

Remember that surveillance methods should not be relegated to racial profiling or stereotyping. Instead of identifying race during surveillance, look for suspicious behavior patterns. Future blog posts will explain specifics.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies:

  • Establish relationships with law enforcement for your building, including the FBI. This is a key step in preventing terrorist attacks.
  • Provide law enforcement direct access to your property so they can quickly and effectively respond to incidents and advise you about where to place surveillance equipment.

Complete emergency and disaster training should cover acts of nature as well as man-made disasters, including terrorism. While not all attacks can be predicted or prevented, property owners can take steps to identify and prevent attacks. The next blog in our series will explore how terrorist groups typically choose targets and how you can use surveillance and physical modifications to detect and deter potential threats.

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 rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.