Perimeter Benefits - The world of physical security has changed in response to the pervasive threat of terrorism around the globe.

Perimeter Benefits

The world of physical security has changed in response to the pervasive threat of terrorism around the globe.

Most everyone is aware that crash-rated, anti-terrorist vehicle access control barriers, barricades, bollards and gates are standard security tools at government facilities, from embassies to courthouses and capitols to a host of other locales. They also tend to be quite visible at airports, especially leading onto the tarmac, in rental car facilities and at access to parking lots and structures. More and more, such equipment is found at soft targets; ranging from hotels, arenas and other areas where many people congregate.

However, there are certain industries that are at the forefront for terrorist attacks and other forms of vandalism. These industries need to be protected more heavily than others. This starts with perimeter access. The following three industries are at the top of this list.

Petro-Chemical Facilities

The first industry benefiting from crash-rated barriers is the petro-chemical industry. Refineries, storage areas, distribution centers, and other facilities need protection so that the entire community does not have to face the repercussions of a terrorist attack. The vulnerability of the world economy to the loss of refining and delivery capacities is highly publicized. This has helped the petrochemical and hydrocarbon industries reach the apex of terrorists’ lists for car bombing.

Today, at production and distribution facilities, more is needed at checkpoints than simply verifying if a person is authorized to enter. Security systems must be employed that can stop a vehicle, even one weighing 64,000 lbs going 50 mph, dead in its tracks. That vehicle must be stopped where you want it stopped.

Danger points at refineries, distribution centers or storage facilities are where lots of trucks come in and out each day. Just one terrorist with one truck could put a facility out of business for months. That’s why most major petrochemical and hydrocarbon processing companies, employ vehicle access control anti-terrorist barriers, bollards and gates. Companies such as Chevron, ExxonMobile, Conoco, BP, Shell and others employ them.

The most commonly used barriers will stop and destroy a truck weighing up to 15,000 lbs., traveling at 50 mph. In an emergency, the thick steel plates pop out of the ground within 1.5 seconds. When integrated properly into a total system, including fences, lights, alarms, gates and other security components, vehicle barriers are a key measure in preventing threats to sensitive resources.

Bollard systems operate individually or in groups up to 10. They are typically deployed in the up position and lowered only to allow authorized vehicles to pass. They go up and down quickly and are the perfect solution for entrances with high traffic.

The bollards employed in the oil and gas industry are tested to stop and destroy an attacking vehicle weighing 15,000 lbs moving at 50 mph.

In addition to barriers and bollards, crash gates are also used at oil and gas producing, distribution and storage facilities literally around the globe, from South Africa to North America. A linear crash gate will withstand the impact of a 15,000 lb vehicle striking the gate at 50 mph. Clear openings range from 12 to 30 feet.

Public Water and Ot her Utility Companies

Treatment plants, dams and other utility locations are at risk if the wrong individual is able to get to them. A major problem is that they are often in remote locations, making them an easy target for terrorists. A barrier will keep a harmful person or vehicle out, detain them and alert the proper authorities of the breach.

For this reason, leading public water supply and control districts including the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, the Tennessee Valley Authority and other major utilities use barricades, bollards and crash gates to protect dams, canals, treatment plants and other infrastructure facilities. A favored barricade for remote locations is one that incorporates a special locking system which prevents terrorists from disabling or dismantling it. Because the barricade is in a remote area, it needs to be especially reliable. Although set in a foundation only 18 inches deep, the barricade will survive and operate after a 5.4 million foot pound impact, protecting against a second hit from another vehicle. That’s equivalent to a 65,000 lb truck hitting it at 50 mph. Typically, the barricade is furnished with a debris screen which reduces visual and physical access to the intra-barricade for security and safety purposes. It will also deflect explosives, such as hand grenades.

Cruise Ports

At cruise lines and other port destinations, a barrier will stop any speeding automobile from getting past guard posts. The Port of Sydney Harbour and many other cruise destinations employ barricades, bollards, crash gates and other vehicle access units to protect passengers, employees, and cargo and infrastructure facilities.

The anti-terrorist barriers that protect the international cruise ship terminal in Sydney will lie flat in the road until activated, at which point they spring up at a 45-degree angle and effectively stop a speeding vehicle in its tracks.

In Sydney, vehicles not authorized to enter simply cannot get past the guard post at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay where approximately 90 vessels dock during the busy summer months. More than 160,000 passengers today are protected from vehicle assault per year.

Wherever Vehicle Att ack is a Possibility

It’s self-evident that the world of physical security has changed in response to the pervasive threat of terrorism around the globe. Where many facility managers were once criticized for taking extreme and expensive perimeter security measures, the question today is not whether to implement them, but simply how best to do it.

Whether you work in petro-chemicals, marine transportation, public waterworks or any other industry that makes a good target for terrorist vehicle attack, you can protect your employees, customers and the entire community with a crash-rated security barrier.

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Security Today.

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