NFPA Conference & Expo

4  FM quick reads on

1. How To Prepare Facilities for High-Security Events


Today's tip is about four ways to prepare facilities for high-security events, like political conventions or international summits.

First, assess risk and plan for worst-case scenarios. The key to assessing risk is to look at the building through a fresh set of eyes - to pretend as if you've never seen it before, says a security expert. Look at risks such as crowd control and trespassers in the building – the most common possible risks. But don't forget to plan for the worst-case scenario as well - like an extended building lock-down. Have plenty of food available. Contract with a disaster recovery firm. And make sure local law enforcement is familiar with the building's layout.

Secondly, become an expert at communication. The rumor mill is the worst enemy of a streamlined risk management and emergency preparedness plan, so ensure that all building occupants are up to date with current, accurate information about the event and about items such as road closings, public transportation shut downs, etc.

Third, give your visitor management policy a spit-shine. One best practice is to institute the night and weekend visitor policy during the day while the high-security event is happening. One security expert suggests that it would be irresponsible to the point of negligence to allow the building to remain open during a high-security event. Every visitor should badge in and out. And occupants should be informed that they must let security know if they see someone in the building who doesn't belong.

Finally, do a review of your physical security and security vulnerabilities that you may not think about as frequently. For instance, make sure you can do an immediate shut down and reversal of the HVAC system if someone dumps a pathogen into air intakes. Indeed, check the air intakes to ensure that they're secure. Make sure cameras and access control devices are functioning properly, and that door locks do engage properly.



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