Emergency Services

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Next-Gen-911.aspxNext-Gen 911GP0|#21788f65-8908-49e8-9957-45375db8bd4f;L0|#021788f65-8908-49e8-9957-45375db8bd4f|National Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652018-06-01T04:00:00Zhttps://adminsm.asisonline.org/pages/lilly-chapa.aspx, Lilly Chapa<p>​Overall, 2017 was a landmark year for catastrophic natural disasters in the United States, leading to dozens of deaths and revealing weaknesses in emergency response systems. Two regions were hit particularly hard—the Houston, Texas, area where more than 80 people were killed during a hurricane in August, and northern California where wildfires were responsible for more than 40 deaths in October.</p><p>These multiday disasters were far-reaching and overwhelming—for both citizens and first responders. During the Houston floods, overloaded 911 dispatch centers led hundreds of people to turn to social media for help, and kayak-paddling citizens pitched in to help rescue efforts. Criticism of emergency response during the California wildfires was swift—evacuation warnings during the rapidly evolving blaze were either delayed or nonexistent, and emergency lines were constantly tied up.</p><p>After-action reports by state and local officials are still being conducted, but the emergency communications failures have left citizens, law enforcement, and legislators looking for solutions.</p><p>The question of how people can seamlessly use their phones for a myriad of activities yet not use that same technology when calling 911 has been asked for years as mobile devices have become the standard—more than 80 percent of 911 calls are made from wireless devices. There is a mobile-friendly solution—albeit one that has not been widely adopted. Known as Next Generation 911 (NG911), the program is IP-based and would allow citizens to call, text, and send multimedia transmissions to dispatch centers, which would have enhanced response capabilities. </p><p>Many of the problems experienced during the Texas and California disasters—especially overloaded phone lines—could be avoided with such a system. NG911's enhanced location capabilities and ability to reroute calls to other dispatch centers would allow for more seamless emergency response, especially during high-volume call times.</p><p>While potential for such emergency communications technology improvements has been discussed for almost a decade, there is no federal requirement for dispatch centers to upgrade 911 technology, and it's up to states and localities to implement—and pay for—the new system. Legislation was passed in 2012 that outlines the federal role in helping communities transition to NG911 and calls on the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to coordinate efforts among U.S. federal, state, and local stakeholders. The overarching goal of the legislation is to connect the more than 6,000 independently operating systems in the United States into a nationwide interconnected system with modernized capabilities. </p><p>The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed these federal efforts—known as the National 911 Program—and found that key challenges include addressing funding, governance, and interoperability and technology concerns. This year, NHTSA is planning to implement a $115 million grant program and outline a roadmap dictating national-level efforts to encourage NG911 adoption at the state and local levels.</p><p>"Collaborating with the appropriate federal agencies to determine federal roles and responsibilities to carry out the roadmap's national-level tasks could reduce barriers to agencies effectively working together to achieve those tasks," the GAO report states. "Furthermore, developing an implementation plan that details how the roadmap's tasks will be achieved would place the National 911 Program in a better position to effectively lead interagency efforts to implement NG911 nationwide."</p><p>At the end of the day, however, it's still up to each of the country's almost 6,000 dispatch centers to make the upgrade, if they choose. A U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) congressional report released at the end of 2017 surveyed almost all states on their NG911 implementation efforts, finding that many were taking some steps to pave the way for the upgrades but they face funding challenges. </p><p>The FCC report details how dispatch centers are raising money to implement NG911 capabilities—a huge hurdle for localities, experts say. The National 911 Program commissioned a study last year assessing the cost of nationwide NG911 implementation, but it has been under review for months and has not been released publicly. However, some officials estimate it will cost $10 billion to implement across the country.</p><p>Officials at each state and locality are taking a different approach to raising money—often a combination of state funding and increased fees for phone subscribers. However, not all money raised so far is dedicated to upgrading 911 services. In 2016, states raised more than $2.7 billion in 911 fees, but only 7 percent of that money was spent on NG911 efforts versus maintaining legacy systems. Additionally, about 5 percent of the money collected was diverted to nonpublic safety uses, the report notes.</p><p>Localities also face challenges collecting subscriber fees. It's up to telecommunications companies to collect the fees and give them to the states and localities that have implemented them, but 20 states lack the ability to audit the companies to make sure they are collecting fees from all applicable subscribers. It's a common concern—counties are required to notify telecom companies of the fee increase and trust they will pay up.</p><p>One county in Nevada—one of the states that is unable to audit telecom companies—has one of 12 emergency communications systems in the United States that is three generations old. In trying to upgrade its system to NG911, the county implemented an increased subscriber fee in 2016 but has not received the expected amount of money due to sporadic telecom payments. The county expected to collect $150,000 for NG911 by now but has only received about $46,000.</p><p>Many localities are waiting for the NHTSA grants to become available, but experts agree that $115 million across almost 6,000 dispatch centers will not go far. In March, representatives of emergency communications organizations requested that Congress consider funding its own grant program for NG911.</p><p>"Without significant federal funding, we are concerned that 911 networks across the country, including in rural and urban areas, will not be upgraded quickly and efficiently," the letter notes.</p><p>"The grants will not cover it all—there will need to be significant local funding," says Andrew Huddleston, an assistant director at the GAO who worked on the NG911 report. "The grants are there to provide financial assistance—that's why we highlighted funding as a key challenge area for the states, because it can be a significant cost."</p><p>Huddleston says he visited several dispatch centers and saw how funding was a challenge for small and large communities alike.</p><p>"It can be more challenging for local governments that might have a smaller tax base, and even for larger ones because they have more infrastructure," Huddleston explains. "We visited a fairly large call center in an urban area that would seem like they had more resources than average, but they did talk about how during the transition time they would have to maintain their legacy 911 system as well as bring the NG911 system online—so basically paying for both while they are transitioning. That's hard from a money perspective."</p><p>Other challenges to nationwide NG911 implementation include interoperability and technology challenges. Thirteen states have deployed IP networks for local emergency services to use, but most dispatch centers remain on legacy networks, the report notes. An estimated 1,800 centers can receive text messages, but there is no data on how often citizens text instead of call emergency services. One Houston emergency operations center reported that it only received a handful of texts during the height of the floods, compared to tens of thousands of calls and hundreds of posts on social media. </p><p>While being NG911, compliant requires a set list of capabilities—securely using additional data for routing and answering calls, processing all types of calls and multimedia, and transferring calls with added data to other call centers or first responders—there are several ways to implement the upgrades. Even if two neighboring states are NG911 compliant, they may not have seamless interoperability if they are using different equipment or software solutions, the GAO report notes.</p><p>"The systems are supposed to be all interconnected—if you call one call center and it's overloaded, that call can be transferred to the next center seamlessly, and they can answer the call, so you still get emergency response and not put on hold," Huddleston says. "To be able to do those things you have to have interoperability. There are multiple software solutions that could be employed for NG911, so that's definitely something state and local governments will need to be willing to consider."</p><p>An IP-based emergency communications system will have to address cybersecurity challenges as well. The FCC report notes that in 2016, just eleven states and the District of Columbia had spent money on cybersecurity for their dispatch centers. Additionally, the GAO report discusses the federal government's role in assisting dispatch centers in strengthening their cybersecurity when switching to the new system. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a guide outlining cybersecurity risks of NG911 and what centers could do to mitigate them, the report notes.</p><p>"We talked about cyber risk because we're moving to an IT system, and that opens potential for different kinds of attacks than you'd have with the traditional 911 system," Huddleston explains. </p><p>Indeed, Baltimore's computer-based 911 system experienced outages in March due to a ransomware attack. The program that the city uses automatically populates the caller's location and dispatches the emergency responders closest to the caller, but the attack shut down the system for about 24 hours, requiring call centers to manually dispatch first responders.</p><p>Another challenge facing dispatch centers is setting up technology and guidelines for dealing with photos and videos sent through NG911. None of the states that GAO spoke with were processing multimedia through their 911 systems due to concerns related to privacy, liability, and the ability to store and manage the data.</p><p>"We highlighted multimedia as a challenge, since one of the intentions of NG911 is to allow not just voice calls but also video or images to be part of what citizens can share when they're trying to contact 911," Huddleston says. "But that creates challenges on the end of the 911 call centers—what do they do with the video? They have protocol for phone calls, but video is a different beast in terms of what to look for if there are privacy concerns."</p>

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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Secure-Activism-101.aspxSecure Activism 101: How To Survive a Demonstration<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">Twenty-thousand strong marched in protest in Bogotá in 2011 at the Colombian government’s plans to cut university spending. The protestors retained a student-led atmosphere of goodwill and the only simmering of potential aggression was due to the presence of the Colombian Police’s Riot Control Unit (ESMAD) parked on strategic side streets.</span></p><p> I was in downtown Bogotá on the second floor café above the throngs with a tourist from Seattle, watching students from all over Colombia protesting the bill pushed through by President Juan Manuel Santos’ government to reform higher education by introducing a profit motive. </p><p> “I wish my daughter could be here to witness this,” the Seattle visitor told me. “It’s a healthy display of the young airing their grievances with a government decision. We don’t see this anymore in the United States.”</p><p> Protest participants were handing out carnations to members of the ESMAD, placards were held aloft announcing the arrival of different student bodies. With several years of experience as a foreign correspondent in Colombia, I knew better than to drop my guard despite the festive mood as if these students had somehow lost their way in route to a humanities class.</p><p> And my instincts were right, as the carnival atmosphere was threatened by an undercurrent of disobedience as masked agitators—armed with spray paint canisters—left shop windows and walls emblazoned with slogans: “Pensar diferente no es un crimen.” Translation: “Thinking differently isn’t a crime.”</p><p> From our present vantage point we were safe, unless the protest turned violent, as it has been proven time and again that an emotionally charged crowd of people can be swayed from grief or merriment to sadistic dementia in a second.</p><p> After all, if the ESMAD fired off tear gas, where would we go? The only exit from the café would be down a narrow flight of stairs and out onto the Carrerra Septima, the principal thoroughfare for all demonstrations in Bogota as it leads directly to the Plaza de Bolivar and the Palicio Narino seat of power—hardly an ideal route.</p><p> Strikes, marches, and demonstrations are a routine occurrence in Colombia, set against the backdrop of the Colombian armed conflict—currently the longest-running in the hemisphere. And in 2016, in the lead up to and after the signing of a final peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC rebels), these may increase as disgruntled sectors of the country’s society feel their needs and complaints are not being heard.</p><p> If President Santos makes good on his promise to bring the final accords to a referendum, so people can vote in favor or against it, there will be many opportunities for people to make their cases heard by pounding the streets.</p><p> As a Bogotá-based journalist, the possibility of being caught up in some kind of social unrest during the course of my work in 2016 is high. To help plan for the worst, I picked the brain of a trusted security expert—Ben Hockman, senior consultant at Control Risks, a global risk management consultancy specializing in assisting clients operate in complex and hostile environments.</p><p><span style="line-height:1.5em;"><strong>Planning<br></strong></span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Even with experience witnessing challenging demonstrations across South America from Bolivian miners threatening to hang themselves by the neck from a bridge to facing off with police and throwing sticks of dynamite along each avenue leading up to La Paz’s Plaza Murillo to politically charged May Day lawlessness, I know better than to stay too close to the action.</span></p><p> This experience with the issues of violence and potential lawlessness in demonstrations in Latin America has helped me in the past. But before hitting the streets, Hockman suggests I take the following into account when I’m planning to cover an event. <br></p><ol><li style="line-height:1.5em;"><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Gather intelligence. Know the immediate area, the wider area, and all evacuation options. Determine what the political and economic situations are.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">S</span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">tudy the basics of the local political and economic situation. A well prepared traveler to Venezuela might avoid wearing red t-shirts in and around Caracas, for instance, in the current climate of social unrest.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Have a Go Bag. Collect identification documents, copies, snacks, cash for emergencies, water, basic first aid kit, and put them into a bag to take with you.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Print physical copies of maps from apps. Don’t rely on applications, such as Waze, Google Street View, as Internet access may go down in the midst of unrest.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Know in advance where help points are located and how to get to them.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Have a back-up communication plan and prepare for network infrastructure failure. Have a replacement cell phone, a radio, or a walk-talkie.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Be conscious of your wardrobe. Are you able to change your look quickly? What happens if you are in olive drab and resemble the military? </span><br></li></ol><p></p><p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">​As Hockman advises, before even approaching a demonstration, I should know the lay of the land—or at least have in my possession a map of the area where I will be engaging with the event. </span><br></p><p> I also need to keep myself abreast of the type of demonstration that is taking place: is it political, is violence likely? I should check for security forces and know the general current of feeling in the city and country at that precise moment, in addition to having investigated the outcomes and reactions to past demonstrations. </p><p> Additionally, as a 6-foot-tall Caucasian male, I know I’m going to stand out in a melee of rioting Bolivian miners. The question is if that makes me more—or less—of a target.</p><p> And in extreme situations where a demonstration may lead to military deployment and a challenge of the political regime, it’s crucial to have my passport and tickets out of the country on hand.</p><p><span style="line-height:1.5em;"><strong>Responding<br></strong></span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">As the tourist from Seattle and I watched the main cadre of students pass by during their protest, I was right to be concerned. Things were heating up, and paint bombs were being hurled at government buildings.</span></p><p> Our exit option was limited and there would be precious little space for movement on the street because of the numerous protestors. To get out of the café, the tourist and I would need to keep close, head to the edges of the protest, and move with the crowd as if negotiating a strong ocean current, before slipping away down a side street. </p><p> The aim would be to get out, avoid a possibly trigger-happy police front line spraying pepper spray or tear gas, and escape injury in the process.</p><p> To help think through our escape plan—if it became necessary—I ran through Hockman’s checklist on what to do if caught in the midst of a violent protest.</p><ol><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Remember your principal objective is to put as much distance as possible between you and the unrest. If you fail, plan b will be to seek appropriate cover—alleyways, buildings, or vehicles.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Control your emotions. Try to remain as calm as possible.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Keep anyone in your party close—<span style="line-height:19.5px;background-color:#ffffff;">maintain</span> a distance within reach or physical contact, and agree on safe meting points ahead of time in the event that you are separated.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Keep moving, but don’t run.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Move with the crowd and don’t draw attention to yourself. Look for exit options to side streets and your help points—alleys, safe zones, or alternative cover.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Make yourself compact while moving. Protect your head, neck, face, and vital organs. Do not get pushed against or blocked by solid objects.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Watch your footing and obstacles on the ground.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Move between “waves of crowd movements.”</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Avoid major roads and sites.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">If gas or pepper spray is released, cover your airways with clothing but try to keep your hands free. </span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Do not approach the front line of police.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Avoid interaction with demonstrators or security forces.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Avoid confrontation with any party.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">If you find yourself on the ground, try to stand as quickly as possible. If you can’t stand up, curl yourself into a ball to protect vital organs and try to regain your footing as soon as possible.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">If you’re in a vehicle, stay in the vehicle. If gun shots sound, determine their origin and the target before driving away or running away. Sudden movements can draw attention from both protestors and the security forces, particularly during exchanges of fire, so have a plan before you move.</span><br></li></ol><p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Luckily, the worst of the violence was d</span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">efacement of property and a couple of skirmishes during the student protest in 2011, and we were able to safely leave the café.</span><br></p><div><span style="line-height:1.5em;"><strong>The Aftermath</strong></span></div><p>Fast forward four years, however, and I was again in the midst of some social unrest in the form of the Colombian Farmers’ Protests of 2015. Thousands of farmers were protesting to demand that the government comply with reforms it agreed to in 2014, accusing it of failing to implement measures to reduce debt and control the price of fertilizer. It was clear that the Colombian people were largely in favor of the protests, and on key dates 45,000 people had taken to the streets to demonstrate.</p><p> This time the feeling was different and the carnival atmosphere of the student-led demonstration was replaced with a more sinister and aggressive sentiment. And, as was to be expected, pandemonium ensued.</p><p> At the height of the turmoil, there was a period of four hours when police used tear gas on rioters throwing petardos (flash-bombs) that injured the police and the public. None of the injuries appeared serious, however, in what was Bogota’s worst street violence since protesters in March 2012 against the city’s municipal bus system were attacked by young vandals.</p><p> This was clearly a demonstration to avoid, and Hockman gave me the following tips to manage the immediate aftermath of violent social unrest.</p><ol><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Avoid public transportation.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Check for injuries and, if necessary, seek medical help. The immediate adrenaline rush experienced during violent unrest might mask injuries.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Report in to your office or family as frequently as you can.</span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Consider the possibility of mild-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and seek medical attention where necessary.</span><br></li></ol><p><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Colo</span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">mbia will face a new wave of emotionally and politically fueled demonstrations in 2106 and beyond as the government seeks to sign off on a peace accord with the FARC and entice the country’s second guerrilla group—the National Liberation Army—to the negotiating table, demonstrations will be the norm.</span><br></p><p> It pays to be prepared, and to fully consider the advice provided by experts in the field. </p><p><em>Richard McColl is a foreign correspondent and conflict resolution specialist based in Colombia. Ben Hockman contributed to this article and is a senior consultant at Control Risks based in Colombia and a member of ASIS International.</em></p><p><br></p>GP0|#21788f65-8908-49e8-9957-45375db8bd4f;L0|#021788f65-8908-49e8-9957-45375db8bd4f|National Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Securing-the-Fan-Experience.aspxSecuring the Fan Experience<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">In October 2005, as the final seconds ticked off the clock and Oklahoma University (OU) sealed its 43 to 21 victory against Kansas State, an announcement washed over the 84,000 fans gathered in the football stadium: a bomb had gone off outside the stadium and attendees could not leave.</span></p><p> When fans finally exited the venue 30 minutes later, OU student Joel Henry Hinrichs III was dead, killed when an explosive device attached to his body detonated near Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. After an FBI investigation, authorities determined that Hinrichs had no intention of harming others and his death was ruled a suicide.</p><p> The incident at OU is just one in a long line of threats to sports venues across the United States and the world, stretching from the Munich Summer Olympics in 1972 to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. Now, any sporting event can be selected as a worthy target,and with more than 2,450 stadiums in the United States alone, there are many of these critical infrastructure targets to choose from.</p><p> Complacency in responding to emerging threats could result in lost assets, injuries, and deaths. The National Football League (NFL) addressed this concern with its clear bag policy for entry into any football game—a controversial and unpopular decision, especially for female fans. </p><p> The policy, adopted in May 2013, requires fans who carry in bags to use bags that are clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC that do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12.” The league also allows fans to bring in one-gallon, clear, plastic freezer bags, and small clutch bags that are approximately the size of a hand. These rules are similar to policies that were already in place at the University of Michigan, Penn State University, and others.</p><p> “Our fans deserve to be in a safe and secure environment,” said Jeffrey Miller, NFL vice president and chief security officer, in a press release on the policy. “Public safety is our top priority. This will make the job of checking items much more efficient and effective.”</p><p> Following the NFL’s actions, in January 2014, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that metal detectors will be required by 2015 in all baseball stadiums. The policy was developed with the aid of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in an effort to “standardize security practices across the game,” said MLB spokesman Michael Teevan in a press release. All 30 teams will be required to implement security screening for fans, either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers.</p><p> Although there are many obstacles to overcome, the ultimate goal is to provide a secure venue where sports fans are safe watching their team and the stakeholders are responsible in their efforts to provide a safe and secure environment. Two ways of doing this are by understanding the current liability landscape and through improvements in facility design.​</p><h4>Liability</h4><p>During the February 2014 Super Bowl, DHS provided support to the State of New Jersey and the NFL to help secure MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford and establish a perimeter around the facility. Efforts included teams to secure transit to and from the stadium, equipment scanning of cargo entering the stadium, air security enforcement, maritime and waterway security, and the addition of screeners and checkpoint lanes at Newark Liberty International Airport for the influx of fans arriving by air for the game.</p><p> This was part of the department’s efforts through the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY) Act of 2002, which allows businesses to have a cap placed on liability due to terrorist acts where Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies (QATTs) have been deployed. Many venues in the sporting world have qualified for the act designation and are among the more than 685 applications that have been approved, according to DHS.</p><p> When venues achieve designation, they are encouraged to develop and deploy antiterrorism technology, and private corporations have seized on the opportunity to promote the financial incentive of enhancing technology and infrastructure to create a secure ring around venues. These methods include 24-hour awareness of the interior and exterior of the venue before, during, and after the event, such as the security operation surrounding the 2014 Super Bowl. </p><p> The SAFETY Act is just one part of the initiative to improve security at critical infrastructure in the United States, clarify liability, and ensure that insurance is available to cover terrorist attacks. This became a major concern for the private sector following the collapse of the Twin Towers, when the courts decided that the World Trade Center stakeholders should have known that the building complex was a potential target for terrorist attacks. Consequently, the stakeholders should have provided more mitigation to occupants in the buildings, the courts determined, resulting in $39.4 billion in losses from the towers’ collapse.</p><p> Following the incident, many insurance providers began to exclude terrorism coverage from their policies. This ultimately threatened the economy; commercial project leaders and many industry investors require terrorism protection to begin construction.</p><p> After the insurance companies’ move, the federal government decided to take action, and in 2002, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), which allows the federal government to assist with compensation in the event of losses from a terrorist attack. It was renewed by Congress in 2007 and is currently being debated for extension through December 2019; otherwise, it will expire at the end of this year.​</p><h4>Facility Design</h4><p>With the changing liability landscape, constructing new stadiums and retrofitting them to improve the fan experience and security is now a focus. Venue owners of the NFL, MLB, National Hockey League, and National Basketball Association are taking pride in developing new, elaborate facilities, and have recognized that stadium construction analysis and design can help them achieve their goal of protecting the up to 100,000 people who attend a game. </p><p> New stadiums can be engineered for increased safety. For example, to ensure maximum security new construction can avoid dangerous major industrial areas, highways, freight railways, and bodies of water. The structure should also be protected against earthquakes, lightning, and bombs.</p><p> Additionally, it should have all glassy, show areas away from where the fans stand. This means putting up a large expanse of glass near the entry could result in a shower of glass on fans if a sniper or bomb blast blows it out.</p><p> Venues should also be less porous. In particular, ballparks should not expose their outfields to adjacent neighborhood buildings where a sniper could lurk. There are now numerous companies that promote building protection, bollards, barriers, safety glass retrofit, hydraulic lift gate closure, hazardous materials detection technology, and other security services to protect the integrity of the building and the fans.</p><p> Along with improving the safety features of the materials in the facility itself, ingress and egress issues should also be of concern to venue owners: patrons have been crushed to death on several occasions. One of the worst incidents of fans being crushed at a soccer match was at a match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, in 1989 where 93 people were killed and 180 injured when fans surged forward in severely overcrowded stands, according to <em>The New York Times. </em></p><p> Egress should also be considered during an evacuation, given that victims can be trampled when panicking crowds behave erratically, such as during a fire. Venues can also be held liable for crowd crush incidents, so many are changing their venue construction and practices in response. For instance, festival seating or open admission is no longer a universal practice because crowds can get unruly and can threaten public safety, according to Steven Adelman of Adelman Law Group. Adelman doesn’t consider general seating, such as festival seating, to be a wise arrangement. Assigned seating, railings, sections, and corridors are valuable for crowd management and result in fewer crush situations.</p><p> Venues of various capacities in the United States will eventually be required to protect the public with a high standard of security, including MLB and NFL stadiums. The focus on entry security and control of access is only one of many enhancements seen in the last few years that are now necessary to prepare for a wide range of threats.</p><p> In the past, venue security was focused on weather related, earthquake related, or firearm related threats. The concerns of today include biological, chemical, radiological, and hidden explosive threats, and venues must take the proper precautions to ensure fans and athletes within their facilities are secure. </p><h4>Government Programs for Securing Sports Venues</h4><p><br>The federal government has designated sports venues as critical infrastructure and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is providing a variety of resources to the sector, taking the lead in sports venue security. One of its first projects was in May 2005 when the agency worked with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, providing funds to the University of Southern Mississippi to develop a model for sports venue security. </p><p> These vulnerability models were designed to address hazards and threats, and DHS has concentrated on providing resources for venue owners and managers. Following are a few such tools available to security professionals.</p><p> <strong>Risk assessment.</strong> DHS has created a Risk Self-Assessment Tool (RSAT), which provides an assessment of the venue and a benchmark report, comparing it to other similar venues. Results of the assessment are confidential and can address retrofitting of equipment and physical infrastructure, technology, staff training, maintenance, and creating a virtual ring of safety around a venue to increase security.</p><p> <strong>Reference materials. </strong>DHS also publishes an official Protective Measures Guide for U.S. Sports Leagues and a Protective Measures Guide for Outdoor Venues as a resource for sports venues. It also has created a suspicious activity video, Check It! A Training Guide: How to Check a Bag for Security Personnel, which includes guidelines on checking for false sides or bottoms, and checking for forbidden or hidden items. </p><p> DHS has also created another video in the Check It! line on protecting public spaces. This video explains how to recognize suspicious behavior.</p><p> Additionally, DHS will also provide site assistance visits for venue owners and law enforcement to receive input on their particular venue vulnerabilities. DHS can also provide evacuation planning for a stadium.</p><p> <strong>Cubed Program.</strong> DHS is also taking an active role in promoting the interconnectivity of cybersecurity and physical security. One recent initiative, the Cubed Program (C3), was announced in February 2014 and is just one of DHS’s recent efforts. The program provides assistance to owners and operators, voluntarily, to use DHS guidelines in managing their cybersecurity. The program provides cybersecurity resources and access to a cybersecurity advisor. </p><p> The federal government also provides incentives for participating, including liability protection, procurement advantages, and tax grants. </p><p> <strong>Reviews.</strong> If a sports venue is listed in the Commercial Facilities Sector of U.S. critical infrastructure, DHS will provide tools for a self-assessment Cyber Resilience Review. However, DHS also gives venues an option to allow a DHS representative to perform a security assessment. All findings are then presented in a confidential report.</p><p> <strong>Insider Threat.</strong> DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also offers programs to assist with sports venue security. Its “IS-915: Protecting Critical Infrastructure Against Insider Threat” course provides guidance to critical infrastructure employees and service providers on how to identify and take action against insider threats. There are no prerequisites for the course, which is offered for free on FEMA’s website, but FEMA recommends that participants take “IS-906: Workplace Security Awareness” to provide a foundation for the course.</p><p> <strong>Surveillance.</strong> FEMA also offers another program, “IS-914: Surveillance Awareness: What You Can Do, A Guide to Identifying Suspicious Behavior.” The course is designed to make critical infrastructure employees and service providers aware of actions they can take to detect and report suspicious activities associated with adversarial surveillance—surveillance conducted to gather information about individuals, organizations, businesses, and infrastructure to commit an act of terrorism or another crime.</p><p> The course is also available on FEMA’s website for free and also provides additional course documents and training resources for students. </p><h4>Sports Venue Security Checklist</h4><ul><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Credential all employees and vendors with photo IDs.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Conduct background checks on all staff working the event, including delivery staff and concessions suppliers.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Conduct pre-event staff training on e</span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">mergency plans for evacuation, hazardous weather, terrorism, hostage events, bomb threats, releases of chemical agents, food borne illnesses, fire, structural collapse, and earthquakes.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Prepare and update a protocol and script in video and audio of emergency instructions for every type of emergency.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Address crowd management and fan demographics, accounting for the influence of alcohol and fan emotion. Ensure one crowd observer—live or via video surveillance—for every 250 visitors.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Upgrade to advanced camera surveillance of interior, exterior, and perimeter of the venue for 24-7 coverage.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Promote the use of the Department of Homeland Security initiative “If You See Something, Say Something” to empower fans and staff through signage and video.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Assess barriers, fences, and surveillance of the perimeter and install perimeter barriers, bollards, or planters as needed.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Secure all systems serving the venue, including air flow, utilities, and water.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Make sure hazmat strips are in place to monitor air quality and detect foreign chemicals.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Search and lock down the venue before the event; all individuals and vehicles should be searched on arrival.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Ensure that all parking and entry staff are equipped with radios.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Have highly visible uniformed security and law enforcement in place to act as a deterrent.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Secure all concessions.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Maintain open communication and cooperation with law enforcement.<br></span><br></li><li><span style="line-height:1.5em;">Consider using a social media technology for situational awareness to monitor the venue.</span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">​</span><br></li></ul><div><br> </div><div><em>Nancy Serot is a business development manager for Phoenix Risk Assessment and a member of ASIS International. Thomas K. Zink is a professor at the Saint Louis University Department of Environment and Occupational Health and founder of Project EQUIPP.</em><br></div>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Sounding-the-Alarm-at-Lone-Star.aspxSounding the Alarm at Lone Star<p>In our interconnected world, the vast majority of people within a college campus community think little of an emergency and how the institution will communicate with them—until it happens. Then, they want timely information on what is occurring, what to do, and where they can learn more.  </p><p>There is an assumption that if anything happens, everyone will receive a text message instantly, the faculty and staff will know what to do, and there will be an announcement over a public address system. Expectations are set. </p><p>Recent events, like the shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College in October 2015, have students, faculty, parents, and guests inquiring about the notification equipment and procedures in place on their campus. They want assurances that the emergency systems will work when needed. </p><p>Many institutions have opt-in text messaging solutions and public address systems used for a broad range of services, including special events. In an emergency, speakers, sirens, and horns are often the first warnings received that danger is present or imminent.  </p><p>To meet the expectation of the campus community, schools must understand what emergency communications are necessary, what the law requires, and what the school can afford.  </p><p>This was the challenge facing Lone Star College (LSC) in 2010. The largest higher education institution in the Houston area, with six colleges, eight centers, two university centers, and LSC-Online, LSC provides high-quality academic transfer, workforce education, and career training programs to more than 83,000 credit students each semester, and a total enrollment of 95,000 students. It would need a robust emergency communication system to support its diverse campus community. ​</p><h4>Crafting a Solution </h4><p>When LSC decided to create its notification system, LoneStarAlert, in 2010, it used a team approach, crafting a selection committee and choosing a sponsor who could move the project forward. An LSC vice chancellor responsible for safety and security was chosen as the sponsor—an indicator of the project’s importance within LSC. </p><p>LSC then began selecting its committee members, including a cross section of the organization: administrative, college relations, compliance, emergency management, facilities, IT, law enforcement, procurement, student services, and tenants. </p><p>The committee also included individuals who preferred the status quo system at LSC, which had six colleges and six alert systems with their own name, workflow, vendor, and contracts. Having individuals on the committee who represented each of these systems made them realize that one solution with one name was a better overall system for LSC. Because of this, these individuals felt they had a voice and were being heard, making them great ambassadors for the new system. </p><p>Once the committee was assembled, LSC began assessing its environment. It knew it had different systems and various levels of sophistication because the campus had buildings that ranged from 40 to less than five years old. The buildings were also geographically dispersed among the city of Houston and Harris and Montgomery Counties in Texas, each of which has its own building and fire codes.  </p><p>To tackle this service area—approximately the size of Rhode Island—LSC first targeted the LSC-Greenspoint Center, a mid-rise atrium building with the most stringent fire ordinances of all the buildings on LSC campuses.  </p><p>LSC also targeted buildings within two colleges: LSC-North Harris and LSC-Kingwood. LSC-North Harris was chosen because it is close to a major airport and runway. LSC-Kingwood was chosen because it falls under three jur­isdictions—half the campus sits in Montgomery County, the remaining half is in Harris County, and the entire campus is annexed by the City of Houston.  </p><p>Then, over a five-year period, LSC created a mass notification system (MNS) with multiple levels of redundancy. ​</p><h4>the lone star system </h4><p>LSC implemented LoneStarAlert in 2011, consolidating its various emergency campus text messaging services under one solution. LoneStarAlert is a Web-based warning system that can send voice and text alerts to registered individuals when an emergency occurs. </p><p>The system works by issuing an alert over speakers, via a prerecorded or live message, and through e-mail messages in English and Spanish. For example, for a lockdown the prerecorded message says: “Attention. Lockdown now. There is an emergency on campus. Go into the nearest room or closet and lock the door.” Messages also instruct the campus community to wait for further instructions while they remain in a safe place. </p><p>LoneStarAlert also uses text messages of 90 characters or less—in English and Spanish. For an active shooter situation, messages say “Lockdown now. Emergency on campus. Go to nearest safe place, stay calm, and wait for further instructions.”  </p><p>More than 100,000 users are registered for the alert system, and it is only used for emergency messaging and testing of the system. Users are added through an automated system at the beginning of the semester, and users also have the option to self-register.  </p><p>This information is collected in compliance with the State of Texas Education Code Section 51.218 Emergency Alert System. The code requires institutions of higher education to gather a student’s personal e-mail, cell phone, or telephone number to deliver emergency communiques; using only LSC’s e-mail and voice mail system does not satisfy the requirement. </p><p>This information must be added to LSC’s LoneStarAlert system once provided, typically during registration. This process is repeated at the start of each semester.  </p><p>The system is also designed as an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in (choosing to participate) system, in compliance with the code. LSC does not allow this data to be used for any other purpose.  </p><p>Some users are still reluctant to regist­er for LoneStarAlert for fear that their information will be sold to third-party marketers. Ensuring this personal information is only used for emergency use not only keeps LSC in compliance with state regulations, it also shows that the institution is committed to protecting users’ privacy.  </p><p>LSC has made a commitment to closely manage this information and grant access to it only on a need-to-know basis and as authorized.  ​</p><h4>targeting the lsc population </h4><p>For an MNS to work, the institution has to think of the recipients it wants to target and ensure the system is capable of sending alert messages to those target groups. </p><p>LSC identified its target groups as employees, distribution lists (internal and external response teams), dynamic groups (created as needed), geographical locations, networked equipment, students, contractors, tenants, and guests. </p><p>LSC also needed to consider its unique status as a commuter college without campus housing. Some students, employees, and guests visit different campus locations more than once throughout the semester. Sending an emergency communication to just one given area would limit the reach of the MNS, and might miss some individuals who are en route and others who want to know what is occurring on any LSC campus.  </p><p>Instead, the system would need to be structured to send emergency messages to all registered users, regardless of their location. This system would be easier for LSC to administer and more desirable for the LSC community. </p><p>LSC also knew that accessibility and inclusion would be key to the success of its MNS. The system would need to be accessible to individuals with physical, sensory, mental health, and cognitive or intellectual disabilities that affect their ability to function independently. </p><p>The system would also need to be inclusive of seniors, those with limited English proficiency, and unaccompanied minors on campus. LSC has dual education programs for high-school students, Discovery College for children during the summer, full- and part-time day care centers, high schools, and public libraries that all provide opportunities for underage guests on campus.  </p><p>To reach these individuals, LSC would need to design its MNS to provide information online and to enroll them through LoneStarAlert. Because minors cannot be asked directly for personal contact information, LSC would have to work with leaders of these various groups to contact parents and guardians—who would then provide the information that then allowed their child to be enrolled in the system. </p><p>LSC also knew that its system would need to reach the public libraries, four-year educational partners, school systems, executive conference centers, and commercial tenants that are a part of its campus. To reach these stakeholders, LSC would have to provide instructions and a means for individuals to self-register in LoneStarAlert. ​</p><h4>choosing the right integrator </h4><p>LSC awarded its initial MNS contract to a local system integrator, Convergint Technologies. They worked together to create LSC’s wide-area MNS, which is used for any hazard or threat that poses an imminent or present danger and requires immediate action. This includes an evacuation, shelter-in-place, or lockdown scenario. Advisories and alerts that do not pose an imminent or present danger are sent out via LSC e-mail. </p><p>LSC’s MNS is deployed using Windows and Microsoft SQL Servers in a secured and high availability environment. The servers are clustered into a shared pool of monitored resources, so if a host fails, the system immediately responds by restarting each affected host from a different host. </p><p>The MNS encodes and decodes audible signals and live-voice messages transmitted across a TCP/IP local area network using voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). LoneStarAlert text, voice mail, and e-mail are delivered using a Web-based application hosted by the provider. </p><p>LSC’s wide-area MNS command system is located at the main administrative offices and is interconnected with each campus’ central control station, comprising the total system.  </p><p>Each campus is classified as a zone, and each building within a zone is considered a sub-zone. Most campuses have sub-zones that are interconnected. This configuration enables activation of prerecorded, live voice, or tone signals that can be sent to a sub-zone, zones, or the total system, providing redundancy throughout the system. </p><p>LSC police dispatch is responsible for immediately distributing voice messages or alert signals. It is authorized—and empowered—to send emergency messages to the affected populations using either prerecorded messages or live messaging via the wide-area MNS and LoneStarAlert.  </p><p>Dispatchers will send an alert when requested by an officer on the scene, or when requested by senior leadership. They will also issue an alert if there is credible information coming to the dispatch center that warrants sending a message. </p><p>As part of its initial installation, LSC included speakers for common areas with signals adjusted so the message could be heard through a closed door. However, the level of noise in the area impacts the level of intelligible voice or tone that can be heard.  </p><p>Additionally, LSC has video displays at all of its campuses where emergency messages are displayed using a digital management system. This ensures that individuals who cannot hear the emergency alerts do not miss them. </p><p>LSC also uses a buddy system where a buddy will help ensure a person with functional needs is supported, and first responders are aware of their last known positions and conditions. This information is then captured—when provided—in each campus fire safety plan. </p><p>As an additional measure, most LSC campus community members have cell phones. This enables those who are deaf or have other hearing impairments to receive emergency text messages and, where available, two-way communications using the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).  </p><p>The TRS bridges the communication gap between voice telephone users and people with hearing impairments by allowing users anywhere in the United States to dial 711 to be connected to a TRS operator. The operator then serves as a link for the call, relaying the text of the calling party in voice to the called party, and converting to text what the called party voices back to the calling party. </p><p>Following the initial setup, in-house resources assumed most of the responsibility for supporting the system over a five-year period. However, the system integrator supplements LSC resources.  </p><p>Additional system integrators are also used to provide support for the MNS. Sharing the service responsibilities among multiple vendors provides redundancy in the event a vendor is unable to provide services to one or more of LSC’s locations. ​</p><h4>testing </h4><p>Whether a fire exit drill or a lockdown drill, testing of emergency communications processes and systems is a base requirement. LSC has a rolling three-year sustainability and exercise program that’s part of the LSC Emergency Management Plan, which tests the LoneStarAlert and its MNS. </p><p>In the beginning, some questioned the approach and anticipated backlash from disrupting operations by testing the systems. However, LSC quickly learned that the process built confidence within the community that the school is doing its part to keep its campus safe. </p><p>Testing also gave users who were registered incorrectly and did not receive text message alerts a chance to inform LSC. Users who did receive texts and e-mail alerts could also report how long it took to receive them. </p><p>This helped LSC determine that, on average, more than 95 percent of regis­tered users received text and e-mail alerts within two to three minutes of activation. </p><p>On one occasion when LoneStarAlert was not tested during a larger emergency management drill, LSC received negative feedback, debunking the myth that testing the system during normal operations is viewed negatively. This approach has helped LSC align its MNS with its brand.   </p><p>-- </p><p><em>Denise Walker is chief emergency management officer at Lone Star College System, responsible for policy and direction on emergency management; safety and security audits; fire safety; environment, public health, and safety; and victim advocacy. She serves as the chair of the Greater Houston Local Emergency Planning Committee and is executive member of the Texas Emergency Management Advisory Committee. She is the author of several books, including Mass Notification and Crisis Communications: Planning, Preparedness, and Systems.   ​</em></p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465