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How Vehicle Attacks Are Changing Security Strategies




Though it wasn’t an attack against a building, this week’s terrorist attack in New York City should be a stark reminder to all facility managers that the security paradigm is changing. Vehicles are increasingly being used as weapons and so FMs need to plan for this terrible eventuality.

A story in the July issue of Building Operating Management lays out some of the specific steps FMs can take to prepare for vehicle attacks. As expert Sean Ahrens of Affiliated Engineers, Inc., explains, vehicle attacks are not difficult to carry out. As sad and scary as that is, repeated attacks in Europe and now here have proven that to be true.

Ahrens says the most obvious step FMs can take is using security bollards to create a perimeter a vehicle can’t penetrate around the facility. Worth noting, he says, is that really any type of vehicle barrier can be used, and it doesn’t have to look like a vehicle barrier. For instance, if built to the proper standards, “a bench, bike rack, planter, or other feature of the built environment” can be just as effective and more aesthetically pleasing.

Facility managers can consult ASTM F 2656, a relatively new standard – developed after 9/11 – for perimeter barriers testing for guidance. The standard “provides a range of vehicle impact conditions, designations and penetration performance levels for the testing of perimeter barriers that are used to prevent attacks on facilities by moving vehicles.”

However facility managers choose to secure their facilities, the sad truth is that it’s increasingly clear that in this day and age vehicles attacks are a threat that must be dealt with.

This Quick Read was submitted by Greg Zimmerman, executive editor, Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on the how sustainability and resilience complement each other.

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