Aesthetically-pleasing guard booth

A Good Fit

Safeguarding critical infrastructure doesn't mean aesthetics have to be ignored.

With more than 15,000 chemical facilities, 104 operating nuclear reactors and hundreds more utility facilities operating in the United States, it is necessary to tailor security to suit the wide variety of hazards posed by each facility. In 2003, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission developed a number of mandates regarding enhanced security at nuclear power plants. Primary among them were changes to the security perimeter and the screening of employees, vendors and visitors as they accessed the site.

On June 15, 2005, the Bush administration endorsed mandatory requirements for heightened security at chemical plants, to ensure proper safety precautions are being taken. This executive endorsement came after homeland defense experts flagged such facilities as highly vulnerable to catastrophic terrorist attack. Today's facilities operate under these requirements by screening people and vehicles and controlling access to and within the facility.

Recognized as an essential aspect in securing all nuclear power, chemical and utility facilities, perimeter security assessment and infrastructure is a key element in executing an effective security model. That is why many facilities have recognized vulnerabilities and licensed security-contracting firms have arisen to meet this need.

An Experienced Source

Customers choose to do business with Nuclear Security Services Corp. because of its experience in designing security solutions that protect more than $125 billion in U.S. critical infrastructure. With 25 years of industry specialization in securing high-risk targets and facilities, NSSC has advised numerous facilities on their mission-critical security solutions.

"For security officials within sensitive commercial and government facilities, I would advise them to see perimeter protection as collaboration," said NSSC's Tim Collins. "Security decision makers will need to consider such factors as mission-critical quality survivability. The functionality, or the purpose, of the guard booth is to give an advantage to one's officers. Inside this guard booth, armed responders need to have the ability to interdict—to respond to high-threat levels with a high probability of survival.

"Guard booths are frequently defending facilities that are critical to life, the environment and the economy. So, creating the advantage is critical."

Because guard booths play such a vital role, many are now designed to be blast- and ballistic-resistant enclosures.

Strict Specifications

When a Midwest nuclear power plant customer asked NSSC to recommend a provider of pre-fabricated blast- and ballistic-resistant enclosures, Collins already knew the strict design specifications that were necessary for effectively securing such a facility.

"Regarding the safety and security of those who work inside the security booth, consideration needs to be given to make a guard booth ergonomically friendly because it is a confined space," Collins said. "You also need to consider countertops and shelves from a safety and security perspective and all classified security devices.

"There are plenty of pre-fabricated outfits that can put up steel walls, but a lot of specialty equipment is used in mission-critical protection. This sort of protection demands unique specialty engineering skills in the construction of the guard booth, which not every pre-fab company possesses. The solution for this nuclear power plant was created as a joint effort between NSSC, Midwest NPP and B.I.G. Enterprises—a California-based pre-fab builder of blast- and ballistic-resistant enclosures."

Passing the Test

Prior to the collaboration, NSSC was asked to inspect the manufacturing facility of B.I.G. Enterprises.

"High-quality welds within mission-critical applications are necessary for the safety and survival of security forces," Collins said. "We take these site visitations very seriouslyas do our clients. We were pleased with what we saw at their facility."

When identifying and creating the survivability advantage within a security infrastructure, preparation at a facility's perimeter is key not only in stopping an attack but in deterring them as well.

About the Author

Aengus MacLoone is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

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