Support to Security and Emergency Planning for Hazardous Materials and CBRN Incidents
Accidents and incidents involving toxic or hazardous materials will provide stress to any organization or facility. Security procedures, emergency plans, and provisions for organizational continuity often do not adequately provide for situations involving such hazards.
What is the threat?
Accidents and incidents involving hazardous materials (HAZMAT) and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) materials, while rare, are significant in emergency planning because such material can produce dangerous effects well out of proportion to the actual size of the material. In addition, the psychological impact of such events can have an adverse affect to multiply the disorder and chaos that can be associated with emergency situations. Individuals and organizations responsible for safety, security, and emergency planning cannot afford to ignore this threat.
- Accidents – Actual or threatened dispersal of toxic, flammable, radioactive, infectious, explosive, or corrosive gases, vapors, aerosols, liquids, or solids. It is a fact of life now in modern society that we have hazardous materials in and around our cities for normal commercial and industrial reasons. We cannot ignore their presence or the hazard that they may produce.
- CBRN Terrorism – Use of dangerous substances to cause death, injury, property damage, or chaos. It is altogether fortunate that CBRN terrorism has remained relatively rare. However, the previous 20 years have taught us that terrorist groups will not be limited in their scope or imagination. CBRN weapons and devices can provide lethality, injury, and disorder well beyond conventional items of similar size and expense.
- Hoaxes and false alarms – The mere threat of HAZMAT and CBRN employment means that even the possibility of their presence can generate a large response, which can be expensive, both in financial and political terms. Hoaxes and false alarms must be minimized. Proper planning and response procedures can help to mitigate this risk.
Why is this threat significant?
This category of threat can result in many adverse effects:
- Death, Injury, and Disability: Companies, agencies, and institutions have a duty of care. This means that they have to be concerned for the life, health, and safety of their employees. CBRN and HAZMAT incidents can cause widespread death, injury, or disability.
- Property Damage and Financial loss: Contamination of buildings and equipment is expensive to remediate. In some instances, restoration of sites of historical or cultural importance could be monstrously costly.
- Panic, disorder, and demoralization: The actual or imagined presence of chemical weapons, infectious diseases, or radioactivity can induce fear and panic, sometimes leading to disorder. As well as affecting the general public, emergency responders and civic/political leaders can be affected if they are unprepared. In general, panic, chaos, and fear serve as “threat multipliers” making the effects of an incident more severe.
- Disruption of operations: Vital public services and commercial/industrial activity necessary for a modern economy can be disrupted by such events. It is important that necessary infrastructure has a degree of resilience against such threats.
- Damage to the environment: Modern governments and corporations have both an ethical and a legal responsibility to safeguard the environment. Dispersal of HAZMAT or CBRN threats constitutes a threat to the environment, but the state is not relieved of its responsibility, despite the unconventional nature of the situation.
What Strongpoint can do to help:
Every customer’s situation and requirements are different. Strongpoint can provide technical advice and consultancy services which are tailored to each customer’s unique needs. Strongpoint has experience in providing many types of advice and assistance to help plan and train for contingencies involving HAZMAT and CBRN threats. Strongpoint is independent of hardware and software providers. We have no particular financial interest in advocating any particular vendor of goods or services. We can provide a neutral approach to this challenging problem. The following services are indicative of the type of support that Strongpoint can provide:
Threat and Vulnerability Assessment: How vulnerable are your existing operations or premises to threats? Strongpoint can perform either a summarized or detailed assessment of threats.
Development of Policies, Plans and Procedures: Strongpoint can assist in the development of emergency plans and related documentation.
Independent audit of existing plans: In many cases, plans and procedures are already in existence, but may require an outside examination to see if they are adequate for the current threat and vulnerability situation.
Effective Utilization of Equipment: It is a practical reality that equipment is often bought by people who are not the end user. In many cases, responders are often outfitted with a wide variety of equipment from various manufacturers. It can be difficult to develop a useful concept of employment under this circumstance. Strongpoint can assist in this regard.
VIP / Executive Protection Plans: Certain individuals, whether they are important government officials, religious leaders, or corporate executives, have to take additional security precautions to ensure their safety from security threats. Strongpoint has unique expertise in this particular field, as the director of Strongpoint developed much of his expertise working in support of two US Presidents.
Integration of HAZMAT / CBRN concerns into other areas: How well do your existing emergency plans address unconventional threats such as HAZMAT and CBRN? Very often, there is a requirement to review security, operations, resilience, and/or continuity plans to make sure that they take such unconventional threats into consideration. Likewise, there are simple, low-impact measures involving conventional physical security and organizational resilience that can provide benefits. Strongpoint is one of the few providers that has useful experience providing CBRN advice to public sector continuity planners.
Radiation Detection in the Urban Environment: Strongpoint has unique experience in the detection and identification of radiation hazards in complex urban environments. Click here for more information.
Building Protection: It is very rare for a building to be designed against the CBRN threat. However, there are many efforts around the world to attempt to integrate active and passive protective measures into protected facilities.
Special and High Visibility Events: High profile events such as political summits, political events, sporting events, visits by foreign dignitaries, and related circumstances will require special planning to ensure that HAZMAT and CBRN considerations are properly incorporated into security and response plans.
Training: Planning for CBRN and HAZMAT operations requires specialized training. Even the most dynamic and comprehensive training program can require some additional assistance. Strongpoint has many years of experience in providing CBRN training to a wide variety of audiences. Please see our separate prospectus on CBRN training.
Exercises: Plans and procedures that are never exercised quickly become useless. Specialized training loses its usefulness soon unless it is periodically reinforced. Strongpoint can assist with development and execution of useful training exercises.