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Planning for damage control.


WITH THE ARREST AND trial in New Jersey of Yu Kikumura - a Japanese terrorist with Libyan connections - and the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Scotland, it might be prudent to review plans dealing with terrorist threats and bomb threat management. Plans dealing with bombings are sometimes divided into two parts - bomb threat management and bomb incident management. The first part deals with bomb threats, while the second part deals with management of an incident after a known or suspected explosive device has been found.

Classic planning efforts for bomb threats and incidents have often centered around the following considerations:

* A vulnerability assessment of the facility or building is essential. Some buildings are vulnerable to a bombing attack and others simply are not, a concept that is referred to as how hard or soft the target (your facility) is. Consider also the kind of facility being assessed.

* An estimate of the risk of attack is required, based on the type of business, location, past threats, current intelligence, and the amount of risk a terrorist takes in attacking your facility.

* An examination of the physical security measures already in place should be made. To deter an attack it is essential to examine the measures as they are enforced rather than as they exist on paper.

* Clear and unequivocal lines of authority must be identified. Senior management support is crucial, especially if management of an emergency shifts from one group to another - for example from building services management to security.

* Periodic review, testing, and updating of a management scheme for dealing with emergencies should be planned and budgeted for. The threat and incident plan should also be examined to ensure that it is complete, up-to-date, and workable. The accompanying box contains an example of a plan for threats and incidents.

Sample Explosive Incident Response Plan

The following explosive incident response plan is a model that should be customized to a company's needs. This plan is reactive rather than preventive.


This portion outlines what the planner intends to accomplish, along with stating any applicable regulations or policy. It should state any limitations management wants to impose and may comprise the following sections:

* Command and control specifies who will be in charge of the incident; who the alternate person is; what authority is granted during the incident; how critical decisions will be made; how to locate, equip, and staff a command center; and means of notification and communication. It will also normally state who or what conditions may invoke the plan.

* Training applies to management, search teams, most likely threat recipients, and security personnel.

* Budgetary considerations make provisions to budget for the cost of the plan.

* Updates state under what conditions the plans will be updated and by whom.

* Plan locations specifies who holds copies of the plan and where the copies are located.

Operating Procedures

This portion states how the plan is implemented.

* Notification deals with who will be notified after a threat has been received.

* Evaluation discusses the evaluation of threats and potential decisions made after the evaluation has been completed. Included in this section is who will search what areas and with what equipment and the mechanics of evacuating the facility.

* Identification of potential explosive devices outlines actions to be taken after a search team has identified a possible device.

* Damage control states allowable (under the plan) actions that may or will be taken to lessen the effects of an explosion.

* Emergency movement makes provisions for moving a suspected device if outside help is not immediately forthcoming.

* Device detonation deals with planned responses should the device detonate. This includes immediate action for injuries and activation of a crisis management team and a disaster management plan for the resumption of normal activity.


This portion addresses internal and external communications that may be necessary and names the person authorized to make those communications.

* Internal communications decides by whom and how communications will be made to employees from threat notification to the end of the incident.

* External communications establishes communications with various public safety agencies, utilities, and geographic neighbors.

* News media regulations states who is designated to deal with media representatives. It may also provide guidance on which issues can be addressed and which will be answered "no comment."

When reviewing the plan, look over some of the new aids that help security forces detect explosive devices. Explosive detectors can dramatically improve the effectiveness of a search effort either at a perimeter or in a facility after a threat has been received.

One company manufactures a hand-held explosive detector that will search people, vehicles, places, and parcels for concealed explosives. Members of a guard force can be trained in its use within one day. While these devices perhaps cannot detect as many different types of explosives as a dog, they can work for up to 6 hours at a time and can be placed into operation within 15 minutes. Dogs can typically work for only an hour before needing rest. The biggest advantage of these devices over dogs is cost savings with increased effectiveness. The biggest disadvantage is that available technology is simply not quite as good as a well-trained bomb dog.

Perhaps the most exciting technology to be introduced is a computer-generated analysis demonstrating the likely effects of an explosion in a facility. One product of this type uses commonly accepted high-explosive scaling laws to compute a number of blast-wave parameters. The model presents a three-dimensional picture of the damage and injury projected at a facility.

The computer analysis can not only illustrate how vulnerable a facility currently is but also generate different scenarios to strengthen all facets of a facility. These computer programs are also useful when facility construction or renovation is planned.

Many plans falter in the translation between a paper plan and action. This failure stems from faulty threat and incident planning, partly from a lack of knowledge of steps to take if a suspected device is located, and partly from a lack of disaster management planning. Additionally, failure to use a team approach in the planning process limits the plan's scope to the thoughts and expertise of one writer. Unless the writer is an expert in all the topics a plan will cover, the plan will likely be deficient in some respects.

When reviewing the data collection portion of a bomb threat management plan, carefully review data collection forms and methods. The FBI Bomb Data Program Threat Information Recording Card is probably the best-known data collection form for recording threat information. The form serves two purposes - to assist in evaluating the threat and to assist a law enforcement agency in its investigation. Important considerations include putting these checklists where they can be used and training the people likely to receive a bomb threat. A person who has never received any training is not likely to be an asset when evaluating the threat.

THE EVALUATION PHASE OF BOMB threat management is crucial. Clear and unequivocal statements about the timely communication of a threat, who evaluates threats, and a chain of authority must be made in the plan. After the evaluation is completed, decisions about searches and evacuations must be made. These considerations represent danger zones. Legal counsel should be sought in the planning process and possibly during the incident.

Overt searches by trained teams should be extremely thorough, but this is a slow operation and requires substantial training. Overt searches by occupants can be rapid and are advantageous because the searchers are familiar with the area. Covert searches by supervisors can be reasonably rapid but may not be very thorough due to the supervisors' unfamiliarity with the area.

The question of who performs the searches can lead to problems if different groups have different objectives. For example, if management wants to use union members to perform a search, industrial relations, the union, and the contract between the union members and the company will come into play. Legal advisors will usually recommend not using company personnel to search for an explosive device due to liability. However, the plan should specify who will conduct searches for explosive devices, and the company should provide training and guidance for them.

Abdicating the search to the local police department is an extremely dangerous tactic despite the surface benefits. Many police officers receive minimal training in explosive devices. They also will not know what the facility looks like and what belongs there.

If the facility is in a multitenant building, obligations to the other tenants in the building must be considered. Legal, moral, and ethical considerations will have an impact on what is communicated to neighbors. If a threat is received, what obligations are there to communicate this to workers in the organization or building? These are but some of the reasons a team approach with legal counsel should be used in planning.

The plan should specify who will search for explosive devices.

The following are considerations in planning an evacuation process:

* how much the loss of production will cost

* how to make sure everyone evacuates

* how to control those evacuated

* where to place the relocated people

* what happens if it rains or snows

* how long to remain evacuated

* who determines if it is safe to return

* how much distance between the building and assembly point is required

* what will the effects of the threat and evacuation be on customers

* what responsibilities are there to others in the building, nearby traffic, and pedestrians

The local police department can help in the evacuation planning phase because laws may grant them authority to act, relieving the company of some responsibility and liability. However, in many jurisdictions the police advise rather than take control.

SOMETIMES THE FACILITY CANNOT be evacuated. A training film for police officers shows an improvised explosive device being placed on a wall outside an operating room. If a facility could have something like this happen, plans need to address it.

What if a search shows a suspect device. This answer may depend on whether the local police force has a bomb squad. If trained hazardous devices technicians are available within a short time, the company is fortunate.

A review of some procedures bomb squads use reveals some interesting options. First, they can remove the device. Well-equipped squads may use robots for this procedure. The squad can also render the device safe in place. Only under extreme conditions will a technician's hand enter a device to render it safe. Finally, the rquad can destroy the device in place. If the device is a military explosive instead of an improvised explosive device, a military explosive ordinance disposal team should be used. However, their normal operating procedure is to destroy the device in place. Destroying the device in place runs a risk of detonating the device.

What if the suspected device is located in a facility critical to the company's operation? Damage control measures can help here. Damage control measures mitigate the primary and secondary damage an explosive device can cause. Primary effects of an explosion are blast pressure, fire, and fragmentation. Secondary effects are secondary fires and secondary fragmentation.

Damage control measures include a shutdown of utilities such as natural gas lines, venting, barricading, and the use of bomb blankets. Utilities should be shut down outside the building. Venting consists of opening doors and windows in the area of the explosive device. Windows and doors should be completely opened and wedged to prevent closing. This action will not stop windows and framing from being blown out, but some reduction in overall structure damage will be achieved.

Barricading consists of placing some sort of barrier between an explosive device and an area needing protection. Barricades help to deflect, slow, or capture fragments; deflect blast pressures; and possibly isolate fire. An example of a barricade is sand bags. Barricading should not be done between a device and blast pressure exits like doors or windows. Whatever material is used as a barricade against an explosive device could become a secondary fragmentation.

Bomb blankets usually consist of multiple layers of ballistic material. Although bomb blankets are only effective against small amounts of explosive, should they be destroyed by the force of an explosion they will normally produce no secondary fragmentation.

Before undertaking any damage control measures, talk directly with the responding bomb squad - especially if there is a long response time. Barricades and bomb blankets increase the risk of death or injury to the squad members because the forces of the explosion are channeled. However, these squads can advise on how to best protect the company's property and employees and how to minimize the danger to the squad.

The importance of bomb threat management and bomb incident management cannot be overemphasized. Ensuring that personnel are trained and that planning is complete is an integral part of such management.

About the Author . . .Robert J. Russo, CPP, is employed by the investigative services department of Public Service Electric and Gas in Newark, NJ. Russo controlled the Bomb Threat Management Program for the US Coast Guard and is a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:dealing with terrorist threats & bomb threats; includes related information
Author:Russo, Robert J.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1989
Previous Article:Bomb threat ... what now?
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