A Permanent Solutions

Temporary barriers serve many customers from a political event to farmers’ market

The trend that has catapulted to the top of the list for vehicle perimeter security is securing temporary events with certified crash equipment that can be installed in only 15 minutes by the customer and simply towed away when the occasion is over – such as protecting farmers’ market shoppers from an errant vehicle or a political event’s spectators from car and truck bombers. Other popular applications for these portable barriers are sporting events and festivals. Security staff can tow them into place on the day the event and provide a safe environment for spectators and employees. At the very apex of this trend is providing a means to defend against terrorist vehicles being used as weapons.


On Feb. 14, 2019, a Delta MP5000 portable barrier stopped a stolen Ford Edge crossover SUV at the North Gate of the Naval Air Station - Corpus Christi. The trespasser had driven across the base to escape but crashed into the temporary unit and erupted into flames. The driver was shot and killed.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. Eight months later, on Oct. 7, 2019, the portable barrier again stopped a stolen Dodge Ram pick-up truck at an entrance gate. This stolen car was chased by the local police onto the base. The barrier then impacted the rear of the vehicle, disabling it.

Then, on May 21, 2020, a terrorist tried to speed past a portable barrier onto the base. The Naval Air Station - Corpus Christi intruder shot at the gate’s base security sailor but struck her bullet-resistant vest. According to the Associated Press, the sailor, who survived, then rolled over and hit the switch that raised the barrier, preventing the terrorist from gaining access to the base.


The mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers carry an ASTM rating as high as M50, able to stop and disable a 15,000 pound G.V.W. vehicle moving at 50 mph. The mobile, crash barrier can be towed into position by a medium-sized pick-up truck or equivalent and deploys in 15 minutes. Both M30 and M40 rated barriers are also available. It is available in 12-, 16- and 20-foot openings.

Within 15 minutes, the barrier lowers itself into position with built-in hydraulic jacks. The trailer is stored off to the side completing the deployment. To move the barrier, the procedures are simply reversed. Both the operation of the barrier as well as deployment and retrieval are push-button controlled.

A standard system includes a battery-operated power unit, replenished from either a solar array or multiple local low-voltage sources. Optionally, a hydraulic power unit operated on a locally supplied power or full manual system, or combination, is available. Both the locally powered and battery powered hydraulic pumping unit can be sized to provide pass-through rates suitable for most inspection and identification station requirements.

The barricade operates at rates between 10 to 15 seconds for a full up-down cycle on the standard H4050 12v battery powered HPU. Sustained rates of 40 cycles per hour can be maintained inde finitely, depending on the recharging methods employed. Delta also offers an upgraded H8050 24v battery powered HPU that allows for cycle rates of 5-7 seconds for a full up/down cycle as well as additional control options and an EFO of 2 seconds. Sustained rates on this unit can reach 80 to 100 cycles per hour when plugged into a standard 120/220v power source.

It can be easier to sell or buy portable barriers than permanent barriers. The latter are oftentimes placed into an organization’s real assets budget because they are permanently installed into the ground, becoming part of the property. Such budgets can often create complex purchasing scenarios for a dealer or buyer. However, obtaining portable barriers is no different than acquiring protective vests for staff or new sets of wrenches for the maintenance department. For one time uses, a lease plan has been created where organizations can simply lease the portable barriers, use them, pack them up and return them.


The Orange County Fair (Costa Mesa, Calif.) deploys two portable barriers to protect 1.4 million guests over the event’s 23 day run. In addition, the fair organization also makes the barriers available to a 65,000 attendee pet fair, 45,000 guest tattoo fair and 200 other yearly events that are hosted by the fairgrounds annually.

“The first (portable barrier) was deployed two years ago at our service/employee gate, which also provides access to our fire lane,” said Nick Buffa, director of security and traffic operations, Orange County Fair. “We were concerned with potential vehicle attacks, especially at this gate, which has a 75 meter run-up in which a vehicle can really gain speed. How do you stop that? Plus, we only needed it periodically. After doing nationwide research and reviewing (options), we selected the 16-foot version.”

Of all the compliments Buffa has received from people on his installation, he says that the comment he remembers most was from a 30-year carnival worker who told him, “I’ve never seen a fairground do this for us. I’m always afraid of a car attack.”

Over the last year, Buffa went back to his Board and requested a 20-foot (version) to install at the main gate. Like the other (portable barrier), it remains in the up-position during fair operations but lies flat at night so that maintenance and service vehicles can easily come and go. He hopes to add more barriers in the future.

“The MP5000 is not the cheapest solution to preventing vehicle attacks but it is worth every penny,” Buffa emphasizes. “If it prevents one death, it’s done its job.”


The use of portable barriers is not limited to the United States. They were also selected to protect people attending the most recent Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, including 4,400 athletes from 70 Commonwealth nations, competing in 19 championship sports. It was the largest sporting event in Australia since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Organizers required a vehicle access system that could be rapidly deployed and would create secure vehicle check points that carried crash-certification.

Security focus had begun years prior to the games and went beyond hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) measures to include various other identified security risks. Perimeter security measures were aligned with the recently implemented Australia and New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) strategy for the protection of places of mass gatherings. A core element of this strategy was the effective and practical implementation of HVM measures at key locations.

Delta partner Knight Brothers Pty Ltd secured the contract for the vehicle barrier systems and liaised closely with organizers to ensure that specific security measures could be achieved through implementing these unique barrier systems.

“Barriers protected major event venues including the main games stadium, Gold Coast Convention Centre, the Athletes Village and critical street closures throughout the Gold Coast area,” said Matthew Knight, director of Knight Brothers. “It was important for the Games’ operations that access for emergency and authorized vehicles was maintained through the duration of the event.

“The primary use of the 20-foot (6m) portable barriers was in public areas where ground fixation or in-situ HVM measures were not practical or achievable,” Knight said. “Barriers were deployed in a variety of configurations in order to meet security and access needs. This included direct access points as well as heightened temporary security check points with stringent vehicle inspections undertaken by Australian Defense Force staff.

“Training of barrier deployment and operation was conducted directly to Commonwealth Games security staff during barrier delivery and commissioning. This ensured seamless integration of the systems across the various deployment locations. We were very proud to be a part of this prestigious sporting event and to provide the first known deployment of portable active vehicle barriers systems on Australian soil.”

Staying one step ahead by identifying vulnerable areas, and securing them, is critical to staving off vehicular attacks. That means being able to deploy security equipment in tough conditions at a moment’s notice. Such equipment exists, portable temporary barriers.

Terrorists typically don’t go where they see barricades, so placing them wherever possible attacks can happen reduces security risks dramatically. Temporary barriers are often used to protect facilities while permanent ones are being built. Plus, they’ve even been effective for the long-term where physical conditions preclude permanent solutions.

Their most common use, though, is for when vehicle access is required temporarily.

This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Security Today.


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