Security requires varied plans to guarantee facility protection
Dec 1, 2004 12:00 PM
NO ONE security plan will fit all storage and terminaling operations. That was the message from three presenters at OPSEM 2004, the 16th annual National Association of Chemical Distributors' Operations Seminar in Orlando, Florida.
“The cookie-cutter approach does not work,” said Michael Loolara of Parker & Associates. “You have to tailor it to your specific facility.”
Loolara was joined by Mike Hazzan of Chemetica Inc/AcuTech Consulting Group and Gordon Fuller, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, in giving a security update for chemical facilities.
Since the United States was attacked by terrorists in 2001, security in the chemical industry has taken on increased importance, and the industry has voluntarily established security vulnerability analysis.
While most of the activity has focused on the manufacturing sector of the chemical industry, the storage and distribution sector has similar targets, threats, and vulnerabilities, according to OPSEM information.
Hazzan pointed out that there are two types of terrorist threats, those from domestic sources and those from international terrorists such as Islamic extremists. Domestic threats could come from employees, contractors, and political activists.
Ways that terrorists could attack a facility include product being released on site, product contamination, and physical damage to a facility's property.
“You have to look at everything there, including the cyber systems,” Loolara said. “It's inventory control, more or less.”
When a security plan is in place, managers must insure that the employees who have a need to know can access the plan, he added.
Fuller said international terrorists spend a lot of time planning. He pointed out that many of them are college educated, religious zealots who “love explosives.”
He reminded chemical facility managers to be alert to customers who buy chemicals that are used in explosives and other means of causing havoc. “If you think it's suspicious, report it,” he said.
Fuller advised employers to train employees to be vigilant and to not discuss facility information with others.
Hazzan said companies should establish rings of protection, not just one layer, and suggested a plan that includes deterring, detecting, and delaying threats — as well as ways to respond should an attack occur.
“It's tough to stop it,” he said. “You need to upgrade things. You need to spend some money. We are not fully prepared to meet this threat.”
He also predicted that more federal security regulations will be initiated for the chemical industry by the Department of Homeland Security.
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