Industry, government work to enhance security
Jul 1, 2002 12:00 PM
AS THE United States deals with terrorist threats, carriers, shippers, and government agencies are working together to improve security for the tank truck industry, said Tom Moses of the Spill Center, Acton, Massachusetts.
Government agencies are actively seeking input from industry leaders as they attempt to write new security rules. The Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) has solicited comment for a hazmat proposal for motor carriers that requires companies registered with the agency to maintain a copy of their current registration certificate on each motor vehicle. The agency is also proposing that shipping papers include the name and address of the consignor and consignee and the shipper's Department of Transportation Hazmat Registration number, if applicable. In addition, RSPA plans to require shippers and carriers of certain highly hazardous materials to develop and implement security plans and to assure that their employee training includes a security component.
RSPA also is concerned that hazardous materials are easily identified by the information attached to placards and other sources. Moses said that a small identification chip can now be attached to the tank trailer that would provide identification through a code. Another technological benefit is available in high resolution videography that is compatible with tracking programs to pinpoint areas where an incident occurs.
In an effort to consolidate response group efforts, some fire rescue services are completing electronic inventories of equipment that can be pooled, if needed. Moses pointed out that if carrier and responder resources are electronically inventoried, they can be coordinated for a community-wide crisis. In addition, replacing telephones with on-board computers can reduce the time for incident reporting to seconds.
Carriers should have an incident contingency plan in place that can be activated automatically, and plans should be designed to discriminate between accidents and terrorism.
An additional concern for industry is the cost of terrorism response and other expenses related to the security programs that are being put in place. Moses said there is some consideration that government funding might be allocated for security equipment.
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