Quade urges carriers to enhance security
Jun 1, 2003 12:00 PM
COMMUNICATIONS are an essential key to security — and what you can do ahead of time is to build your communication network. That was the message from Bill Quade, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) hazardous materials division chief. He offered information for tank truck carriers about improving security measures that have become necessary because of concerns about terrorist attacks.
“We need as many eyes and ears out there as possible,” Quade said. He advised carriers to build relationships with local law enforcement agencies and emergency response groups.
The tank truck and terminal industries and government officials have been disturbed about the risk because intelligence reports have indicated terrorists might use a tank truck as a weapon for targets such as the Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, and other US icons, he said.
“We know terrorists have experimented with poison gas,” Quade said. “They have diagrams of our power plants. This is not a case that because we have killed the head, the body is going to stop moving.”
Carriers also should be especially careful to make background checks on drivers and others who apply for jobs. He said carriers have reported some applicants appearing more curious about the type of product being transported than what they could expect in salary, which should raise some concern.
“Ask questions until your are satisfied, and if you aren't satisfied, notify the local authorities,” Quade said. “I'm talking about every applicant — not just Middle Eastern applicants. There is no perfect science to this whole thing, you are relying on your knowledge. That's all we are asking you to do. Be aware of your industry and what's normal.”
Carriers should review transportation routes to determine where drivers may be stopping or spending the night. Drivers should turn off engines and lock cabs when they stop. Loading trucks with hazardous materials at night and parking them overnight for next-day delivery should be avoided, if possible.
To reduce risks, Quade advised carriers to address personnel security, develop ways to provide security while product is enroute, learn about technical innovations such as global positions systems, and establish a strong communications program.
“My goal is to make the trucking industry so hard to penetrate, that terrorists won't choose it,” Quade said.
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