Defending Against Attack

How Paramount Studios defends against a vehicle attack

When Paramount Studios, the longest operating and only remaining studio in Hollywood, wanted a preventative solution that would protect tourists and talent from car attacks, they contacted Perimeter Security Group, an integrator that has become one of the leading providers of perimeter security systems in the country. The 100-year-old facility features 30 stages throughout their 65-acre complex.

“Paramount Studios asked us to create an aesthetically pleasing solution that would stop unauthorized vehicle entry at five places but would still let production vehicles through when needed,” senior physical security professional at Perimeter Security Group Troy Blood said. “With all the news of terrorists using vehicles as weapons against people, Paramount Studios recognized that they, too, could be a high profile target.”

While not all vehicle attacks are linked to terrorism, groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda have called on followers to use trucks as weapons. In fact, an al Qaeda magazine published an article in 2010 titled “The Ultimate Mowing Machine.” The article calls for using a pickup as a “mowing machine, not to mow grass but mow down the enemies of Allah.”

It said a four-wheel-drive pickup is needed—”the stronger the better.” The article continues, “To achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control of your vehicle in order to maximize your inertia and be able to strike as many people as possible in your first run.”

To add an explanation point, John Cohen, ABC News contributor and former counter-terrorism coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security said, “They are urging the followers to go to soft targets, places that are open to the public, typically crowded and because of what they are—they are very difficult to secure.”

With all this in mind, Paramount Studios selected Perimeter Security Group, which has provided turnkey installations of custom iron fabrication, security fencing, perimeter protection devices, access controls, video surveillance and automated entry systems for projects ranging from private residences to the most secure military facilities and correctional institutions in the world. As part of this work, the integrator has implemented many systems using Delta Scientific’s vehicle access equipment to keep visitors and staff free from harm of terrorists and errant drivers.

“We reviewed Paramount Studios’ facilities and vulnerabilities and recommended a combination of Delta’s TT212 beam barricade and DSC800 high security bollards. Paramount wanted the job done quickly and at night so we wouldn’t disturb tourists or shoots.

“The high-strength wire rope beam barricade will stop a large or fast-moving vehicle weighing 6,000 pounds at 40 mph,” Blood said.

The beam is raised to allow passage of authorized vehicles through and, then, lowered to protect cars or trucks from entering. Clear opening ranges from 10.5 to 24 feet are available to allow passage of almost every type of vehicle.

“Beam barricades are very popular because this type of system covers a wider lane at a lower cost than out-of-the-ground barricades or barriers,” Blood said. “A low maintenance system, beam barricades are used worldwide at locations where wide roadways need to be secured from attacking vehicles.”

Beam barricades are seen at many nations’ embassies throughout the world. They are also selected for government facilities, restricted or reserved parking areas, impound yards, freight terminals, shipping and receiving docks, storage and warehouse entrances, arms depots and other places where standard traffic controls or gates are not capable of resisting such high crash forces or vandalism.

“Paramount Studios also selected Delta’s manually operated crash-rated bollards for those areas in which vehicle passages are infrequent,” Blood said. “The DSC800 will stop a 15,000 pound vehicle at 30 mph. Paramount Studios specified a model with classy cast aluminum decorative sleeves, which slip right over the crash tube. If ever damaged, Paramount will simply slip off the old and slip on the new sleeve.

“Versus hydraulic or pneumatic operation, manually-operated bollards were especially cost effective for this application because they were used in locations were they would seldom be lowered, as a result, this expedited installation because there were no motors or power to contend with and also eliminated the need to work with any additional trades, such as electrical. All we needed to do was to make the barriers plumb. As a result, we were able to install a location within a week.”

A Warning on Perimeter Security Systems

According to Blood, no area is more critical to the vehicle barrier selection process than testing. Without adequate testing, there is no assurance that the barrier will resist the threat. Testing is normally by an independent testing company or government agency, such as the State Department and military. Full-scale crash tests, using heavily loaded trucks, are conducted. Comprehensive reports of test results are issued and are available from the testing agency or manufacturer.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Security Today.


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