Far too many facility owners, as well as facility designers, take the threat of local terrorism for granted. The attitude of “that will never happen to us” was all too long shared by U.S.-based building tenants nationwide…until Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. The same attitude served well with facility occupants of the JP Morgan Bank in New York City, Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics and yes, even at one time (actually, twice) the World Trade Center. With the real threat of Mahdi, Al Qaeda, and most recently ISIS, the basics of force protection must be applied in all new mass occupancy buildings. This is especially true of healthcare, hazmat processing/storage, education centers and public gathering venues (i.e. sports arenas, shopping centers, etc.).
A truly modern-day design firm will always consider the local threat (terror, crime, militia, extremists) as well as the vulnerability of a present (renovation) or future (new) facility, in order to generate a proper risk management plan. This risk management plan should result in design mitigation measures to be prescribed to the design team. Such mitigation measures typically take the form of:
- Pedestrian and vehicular traffic control enhancements
- Entrance screening, including weapons detection
- Parking stand-off via anti-ram devices
- Secure access via CAC/PIV
- Clear zones from building (no storage of materials, vehicles, receptacles)
- Anti-blast protection (columns, walls
- CAC-actuated gates
- Monitoring by CCTV and Intrusion detection
- Site lighting
- Glazing (laminated glass/anti-fragmentation film) for windows and entrance doors
- Doors and hardware, capable of being remotely locked and unlocked from Security/Police station
- Controlled access within the facility (Offices, operating areas, elevators, etc.)
- To name a few
Bottom line: In today’s society, if an Owner is “shopping” for an Architecture/Engineering firm to design a facility, ask them how they implement force protection. If the above is not even discussed, AT A MINIMUM, you better keeping searching. The lives of your occupants depends on it.