Are We Prepared for Disasters?

While watching the news and video clips of the horrible tragedy in Japan, it reminds me of Katrina that happened not so long ago in New Orleans.

We in the security industry try to enhance security measures in our respective sphere of expertise to protect against man-made threats and--bare with me--typically these measures will--to some degree--clash with fire/life safety elements of getting folks safely out of a facility, site or complex.

One of the closest ties between the two is in the threat assessment stage when natural disasters align to not only break our security barriers down but threaten life safety elements as well. Where security and life safety align is in the emergency preparedness measures, where we are trying to accomplish integration, processes and training procedures to assist our clients in preparing for some major disruption of normal business. Combine this with our perception of our surroundings.

If you had the chance to stand in front of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City or the World Trade Center in New York after those man-made occurrences happened, you realize not only how major and bigger-than-life those events were, but also how small and fragile we humans are.

So I pose the qustion: What if there was a nuclear plant in New Orleans when Katrina struck?

Right now, we watch as the nuclear plants on the coast of Japan are facing the threat of failure and wonder if it will effect us here in the United States. An event of major nuclear release seems like a bigger-than-life perception, but watching what is happening in Japan motivates me as a security and emergency preparedness person to think out-of-the-box and come up with ways to protect not only my clients' facilities from harm but those facilities from harming us.

So, security industry colleagues, what have you done lately to protect our critical infrastructure and when you did it, were you thinking out-of-the-box? Were you thinking of what happens after a plane hits a building or the ocean destroying critical infrastructure or were you simply giving a peace-of-mind solution to make the client happy, get paid and get out?

Posted by Charlie Howell on Mar 21, 2011

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