Define. Plan. Train. - Part 2 of 7

Nov. 15, 2001
Safety & Security Special Report

2. How Safe?
Conduct a Vulnerability Analysis

In assessing the vulnerability of a facility, estimate the potential of each type of emergency; then, estimate the impact of each emergency. Consider both emergencies that could occur within your facility, as well as those in your community. According to the Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, other factors to consider include:

Historical - What types of emergencies have occurred in the community, at this facility, and at other facilities in the area?
Geographic - What can happen as a result of the facility's location?
Technological - What could result from a process or system failure?
Human Error - What emergencies can be caused by employee error? Are employees trained to work safely? Do they know what to do in an emergency?
Physical - What types of emergencies could result from the design or construction of the facility? Does the physical facility enhance safety?
Regulatory - What emergencies or hazards are you regulated to deal with?

Estimate the probability of each type of emergency. A simple scale of 1 to 5, with 1 as the lowest probability and 5 as the highest, works well. Finally, assess the potential human impact and potential property impact (each, using a 1-to-5 scale).

3. Personal ID:
Maximize Protection Through Security Preparedness

Use the "four rings of security" to identify security issues relevant to a specific facility in order to develop a customized plan. These rings help ensure that the response to a specific threat is appropriate for each location in or around a facility. View each from the standpoint of the threat and vulnerability to that portion of a property. The four rings are:

Outer Ring - The area around the building, the outer ring, can be divided into two different areas, depending on a property's location. The first includes off-property locations and activities that have a direct or indirect effect on security (the public - pedestrian traffic/vagrants/ youth gangs, etc., public transportation, public and private parking areas, parks and public spaces, restaurants and businesses, lighting, nearby construction/ renovation, and suspicious people watching the property. The second, on-property areas, refers to the grounds outside of a building in which control is usually attainable (parking, lighting, miscellaneous openings, surveillance devices, fences/walls/barriers/gates, vendors or service personnel, and vagrants).
Middle Ring - This level of security involves a building's exterior, which usually means that control is more attainable than in the Outer Ring. Areas to secure include windows, doors, roofs, and common walls.
Inner Ring - A building's common areas, which comprise the Inner Ring, offer significant influence and control over security. Special points of coverage include the lobby, windows, doors, traffic control, alarms, surveillance devices, emergency exits, stairwells, parking garages, and elevators. Of special note: When developing a security plan, check local ordinances for licensing, training, building, and fire code requirements and any other standards that may have been established for lighting and security.
Special Rings - The ability to influence security in Special Rings - which include offices, key areas, or items in a building - may be restricted, due to a staff's responsibility or control over a particular location or item. Such special areas include entrances and exits, files, safes, vaults, computer rooms, and artwork.

Considerations for specific security threats run the gamut. Based on location, activity, and accessibility, every property can be a potential target for crime. The first step is to review and assess a building's vulnerability. Consider:

• When was the last time the local police were contacted? If the area around the property is a low crime area, plan to make contact with the local police at least quarterly. If it is a high crime area, it may be beneficial to check with local police once or twice a month. Regardless of the amount of crime in an area, it is important to establish a relationship with local police officers and to interact with them when they are in the area.
• What types of crimes have occurred in the vicinity of the property? Are procedures in place to prevent or deter the same or similar incidents from occurring on the property?
• Conversely, what crimes have occurred on the property? Have steps been taken to reduce a reoccurrence?
• What is or has been the frequency of crime? If there is a trend of increased crime or other incidents in the area, the existing program may require modification or permanent change to increase security.
• Are there patterns in the time of day, activity, number of people, or locations for criminal activity? Does the existing program provide protection? Additional police or building security patrols may be needed, or additional security personnel may be necessary at critical places during these times.
• What is the best way to prepare and defend against the current crime trends? Build an awareness among the building staff about what is happening around the property. Don't hesitate to request advice from security professionals on how to defend against certain crimes before such incidents occur.

SOURCE: Are Your Tenants Safe? BOMA's Guide to Security and Emergency Planning, Building Owners and Managers Association International (

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