attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings,
but they cannot touch the foundation of America" President
George W. Bush
September 11, 2001 the world as most of us know it monumentally
changed. America was shaken to its very core by a tragedy, which
no one could have predicted possible. Our nation, long free
from the ravages of war, was suddenly faced with the possibility
that this peace would surely be impacted by the actions of a
few hateful individuals.
our nations democracy, wealth, and tradition crumbled before
our eyes, in news footage that would be forever engrained in
our minds. Images, which appeared to belong in war footage of
distant lands, were taken upon American Soil. In the center
of trade, in the nations capital, on the faces of helpless victims
who struggled to understand how this could possibly happen in
a nation, which annually spends 25 billion dollars on national
intelligence to avoid such catastrophes.
us are now faced with the task of trying to make sense of senseless
acts. In the end, the enduring factor will be the strength and
united efforts of Americans. The words most eloquently spoken
by president George W. Bush, "Terrorist attacks can shake
the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch
the foundation of America." One week later, we all go about
our daily jobs trying to bring some sense of normalcy back to
our lives, never forgetting what has happened, forever changed
by it, but realizing that as a nation the best thing we can
do now is move forward.
now is how long will it take for the shock and fear to subside
and for Americans to resume life, as they knew it before September
11th. It was not until this horrible tragedy that we realized
how many areas of our lives would be impacted by an event of
this proportion. Statistics stated that over 100,000 people
had their lives personally touched by this tragedy, meaning
that they lost a son, daughter, parent, sister, brother, aunt
or uncle. This statistic doesn't even include those of us who
lost dear friends or others who simply lost their sense of security
by seeing what one senseless act could do to a country. Still
life must go on and events, which we previously considered mundane,
now cause us much fear and trepidation.
Corporate America which heavily relies on air travel to promote
businesses and services is now more cautious as to how often
our executives set foot on planes for fear that another terrorist
action will tear apart the very core of our corporate structure.
One firm based on the top floors of the World Trade Center lost
700 employees in this horrific act of terrorism. An event that
no one could have foreseen.
America pauses to ask a very crucial question, "How can
we protect ourselves from becoming casualties of crazed terrorist
activity?" At Kessler International we are often called
upon to provide safety and anti terrorist training to companies
worldwide, which have often feared these attacks. There are
widespread forms of terrorism, and therefore they required strategies
targeted to each separate form of terrorism. Hijacking, Bombings,
and kidnapping, head the list. Fears that rarely crossed our
minds. But real fears which we must all be aware of and take
measures to avoid. Below we have compiled crucial information
to help Corporate America protect their employees and their
corporations from becoming victims of such heinous crimes.
the terrorist activity most key in our minds is that of hijacking.
Unfortunately the average individual has little control over
their protection while flying. If the travel takes place on
corporate or private jets it then becomes the responsibility
of the company to assure that the plane is protected from unauthorized
· The airport facility in which
the plane is housed must have adequate security measures in
place to provide the same, if not greater, levels of security
found on commercial airliners.
· All personnel with access
to the plane must be subject to thorough background checks.
· Entry to the plane must be
closely monitored. No individual should at any time be allowed
access without the presence of security personnel on board to
monitor their activity.
· Cockpits should be fitted
with panic alarms to allow a possible hijacking to be immediately
reported to the control tower. A contingency plan must be
in place to deal with the possibility of foreign intervention.
· Sky marshals may also be utilized
to protect the passengers during flight. The addition of
an armed agent on board would be a definite deterrent to hijacking
· Proper training of all airplane
personnel must be in place in the event of a hijacking.
If the personnel on the plane are properly trained they will
be aware of key signs of a possible hijacking attempt, and possibly
be able to prevent its occurrence.
is a definite fear among Americans today in light of recent
events. The fact is that due to this fear airline travel has
been severely curtailed. We should not always be willing to
rely purely on the security measures of airline personnel, since
we have become very conscious of the fact that their measures
have certainly not been up to par.
is an important element and any suspicious activity should be
immediately reported to authorities. Unfortunately, with the
creation of plastic explosives, it often becomes difficult to
locate their existence and they are often able to slip through
security checkpoints. The only hope we have is that due to recent
activities there will be an upgrade in both security practices
and personnel so that we may once again feel some measure of
comfort when boarding a commercial flight.
It is the
responsibility of the employer to assure his work staff that
the environment in which they work is safe from fear of bodily
harm. Up until the recent World Trade Center incident most employers
and employees viewed this as simply being certain that the buildings
were up to code and that all fire safety laws were strongly
enforced. Suddenly, this has all changed. Not only must the
work environment be safe from these possible threats to worker
safety, but also add the threat of terrorist intervention.
the greatest threat is the possible introduction of incendiary
devices, which can be masked in every size shape and unlikely
appearance imaginable. The following should be considered in
order to protect the physical environment of the workplace and
those within its structure.
Being prepared for the possibility of a bomb is of utmost importance-
A structured bomb incident plan as well as a physical security
plan must be in place, including a chain of command and center
of command in the event that a bomb threat is received. This
will give your staff confidence that the threat can be properly
handled and that they are in good hands, thus eliminating a
mass panic, which is often the cause of physical injury during
Reduction of the areas of accessibility to the General public-
If the areas in which a bomb may be planted are limited to a
select few, in which the public has access, it will be much
easier to not only prevent the possibility of a bombing, but
will also create a far lesser area to search should a threat
Proper Communication Centers are critical- When
devising the bomb incident and physical security plan the command
center should always be located in a communication center, such
as the switchboard room, so that communication between those
implementing the plan and the general assembly of workers will
be easily accomplished. A chain of command should be assigned
with backups in the event of the absence of those in charge.
A physical blueprint of the plant facility should be kept updated
in the communication center.
Authorities should be contacted both in advance, to
help establish these plans, and also in the event of any threats
to the safety of workers. No one can handle incidents of
this nature better than professionals. When creating your bomb
plans it is essential to contact local authorities, who may
have a team in place to help set up such a plan, which would
greatly improve the success of such a plan. In the event that
a threat is made immediate contact with these authorities can
save time, energy and possibly lives.
Provide Bomb incident training to all senior personnel.
Local authorities will often offer assistance is setting up
training programs to inform and educate your senior staff, or
possibly all of your employees, in the necessary measures to
help prevent the possibility of bomb planting and also the proper
procedures for handling bomb threats. Minimally, your senior
staff must be trained in how to deal with crisis situations
and how to help maintain calm during these times.
The physical structure of your corporate location
must be designed to minimize the possibility of bomb placement.
Most facilities have a security staff on sight whose job it
is to help prevent intruders from entering secure areas and
also to protect the employees who are within the structure.
There are however some physical considerations that must not
be overlooked. Fencing and adequate lighting, along with controlled
access to the facility should be considered. Employee parking
should be closest to the facility with visitor parking at the
furthest location to avoid car bomb placements. Heavy shrubs
and vines or window boxes and planters should be eliminated,
as these provide an easy drop spot for incendiary devices.
A highly visible security staff is a necessity. Often
just seeing a facility, which is constantly under the surveillance
of a security patrol, will deter a terrorist from attempting
to place a bomb at such a site. This is often an inexpensive
measure, which can not only prevent the terrorist from choosing
your facility, but also help instill calm among your staff.
Installation of close circuit TV systems are a good
preventive deterrent to bomb plants- This is especially
true in large facilities which cannot be as closely monitored
by security personnel.
Employee Photo Ids should be distributed to all staff
members- Admittance to the facility should not be permitted
without presentation of these badges.
above measures are implemented the possibility of bomb placement
will be greatly minimized. It is often hard for us to understand
the importance of these measures until an event like the World
Trade Center incident occurs and then we realize how important
a plan is to deal with a crisis of such magnitude.
reason people are kidnapped is to extort money or action from
their employers or loved ones. It is therefore the express responsibility
of the employer to protect their personnel from the threat of
kidnapping. This must be done in advance of any threat and should
be initiated early in the organizational plan.
are the most visible employees in an organization and therefore
the most likely targets of a kidnapping plot, however they are
by no means the only targets. Often employees in overseas locations
are most susceptible to this terrorist activity.
element in a structured plan to prevent kidnapping is the attitude
of those who are in need of this protection. The plan must be
fully implemented and taken seriously by those involved. Often
possible targets will not believe that this could happen to
them and by exerting this opinion may only partially adhere
to the policies set up for their protection. It is a common
human trait not to want to face reality when the reality deals
with a very unpleasant possibility. Subscribing to the belief
that the individual could end up being a prospective target
may cause the subject to feel this casts a bad light on their
character or reputation. Often a suspected target may only be
convinced to adhere to the anti-kidnapping plan when they are
told of their importance in relation to the continuation of
the corporation and not their own personal safety. For example,
a CEO must not be exposed unnecessarily to kidnapping risk if
its occurrence would cause major problems for the organization.
This approach permits those with concerns about image to base
their defensive actions on the needs of the firm or group rather
than their own needs for protection. Another argument may be
the responsibility to the individual's spouse and family. By
adhering to the following guidelines the possibility of kidnapping
will be greatly reduced.
Reports of the presence of any suspicious individuals should
immediately be made to the authorities. One of the key elements
to a successful kidnapping is the element of surprise. To accomplish
this the potential kidnapper must be very well educated as to
the actions, habits and schedules of his target. This will often
be done by tailing a prospected victim for days, weeks, or even
months before carrying through with the actual kidnapping attempt.
If it appears that someone is following the executive, or seems
to be constantly turning up in the same locations, a report
should be immediately made to the security department and the
local authorities. If the element of surprise can be removed
often the kidnapping attempt will be thwarted.
Money may not be the only incentive to kidnapping.
The expectation that the only individuals who are likely to
be kidnapped are those with massive amounts of wealth may be
false. There are several types of kidnapping. Personal gain
may well be the basis, but there are also those who kidnap for
political reasons. These terrorists hope that the publicity
revolving around the kidnapping will give light to their cause.
They will often require that their political desires be met
before releasing their victims.
As the element of surprise is essential to the kidnapper,
it may also be the factor that helps to prevent the attack.
If the potential target has a plan in place to prevent kidnapping
it may in fact take the kidnapper by surprise. Kidnappers do
not expect their targets to be prepared for this event, by doing
so you can often beat them at their own game.
A structured defensive plan of action must be in place.
In preparing a defensive plan, the objective is to develop a
carefully thought out scheme of defensive actions that will
discourage the kidnapper from even making the kidnapping attempt.
Keep in mind that there may still be individuals willing to
make the attempt and therefore a thorough plan must be in place.
Placement of key personnel should be such that access
cannot easily be achieved. Any potential victim of kidnapping
should be physically placed in a position of protection within
the physical environment of the organization. The office space
of a key employee who could be a logical kidnapping or terrorism
victim should be situated so that visitors cannot gain access
without passing an effective control point, which can be a secretary
or receptionist. Physical arrangements should prevent access
without positive action by either the protected person or the
secretary. Locked doors with remote release capability can achieve
this protection. The addition of "panic," alarm devices
connected to the facility alarm system should be available within
arms reach of both the key employee and the secretary or receptionist.
Parking locations should admit key employees directly
into the facility. A parking facility should be set-aside
for key employees to provide direct access to their office locations.
If this cannot be established then a security employee, or other
escort, should be designated to meet the arriving car and accompany
the official to the office.
Most kidnapping attempts are made either at the target's
residence or while in transit. This is often the case because
the workplace is probably the most secure of the environments
frequented by the prospective target. The kidnappers will often
choose the easiest path to achieve their goal. Therefore a security
system must also be installed at the key employees home to prevent
the possibility of abduction while off the premises of the workplace.
Lighting and fencing should also be present at the residence
to help discourage attack. Background checks should be done
on all domestic staff and workers as a precaution. In addition
any individuals claiming to be from local utilities should be
carefully screened and their authority questioned.
Travel plans or other details of the employees scheduled
where a bouts should not be public knowledge. By giving
away such crucial information the safety of the employee may
be compromised. Since the home and workplace may be secure,
the kidnappers may choose to use the time in which the employee
is away from both locations to carry out the kidnapping plan.
Therefore, the less people who are aware of the schedule of
the key employee, the better the chances for their safety.
Routes to repeated locations should be frequently
changed. If a key employee must travel to a location repeatedly
it is wise to frequently change the route so that their movements
cannot be easily traced.
Vehicles should blend in with the populace. A
big luxury vehicle in a third world nation would be a sure invitation
to a kidnapper. Vehicles should blend in and not be so easily
spotted. This will make it more difficult to spot the possible
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