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Security tightening in wake of bombing.

Normally cautious New Yorkers are being outfitted with more layers of alertness and suspicion in the aftermath of the World Trade Center bombing.

Building managers and security experts reviewed emergency procedures with personnel and tenants. They also instituted new precautions and procedures, some of which will remain in place long after the bombers have been punished.

"We're looking with a new set of eyes and a heightened awareness;" agreed Cushman & Wakefield's director of management services, William J. Toohey. "It will make us see those areas of vulnerability and reduce our exposure in those areas."

Tenants and managers refamiliarized themselves with the Police Department's bomb threat caller checklist as an increased number of bomb threats were made against high profile properties and tenants. "It's something that catches you off guard," said Toohey. "It's not something you expect when you pick up the phone."

Building owners and managers were advised to make an assessment of the building's risks and decide how to counteract the weak points. Efforts turned first to the garages and car parks because of the site of the Trade Center bombing.

At Cushman & Wakefield and Rockefeller Center security measures were at loading dock areas and all vehicles were checked. Delivery trucks were scrutinized at the same time balancing the need for normal delivery. Michael McNulty, vice president of protection and public services for Rockefeller Center, reported drivers who refused to comply were turned away, as were deliverymen without proper documentation.

Warren Davis, vice president of D&W Central Station observed, "Once you try to detect anybody with bombs then you have to restrict your freedoms in terms of searches of cars, bodies, and going through metal detectors."

While loiterers can be politely challenged you can't make somebody open their trunk legally, explained Captain Murray Latzen, commanding officer of the crime prevention division of the Police Department of New York City "It doesn't mean you have to let them into the facility," he agreed, suggesting owners confer with legal counsel.

"Look at the building and carefully review it with a critical eye," Capt. Latzen agreed. An emergency management team should be organized and building idiosyncrasies identified. "Review all procedures in case of fire, or utility breakdown such as what can happen if the hall lights go out in blackout," he added. Emergency procedures should be updated as well as emergency telephone numbers, tenant numbers and evacuation plans.

"Check the maintenance schedule," the police captain advised. Determine when the elevator was inspected and if it is operated by a computer make sure the folders are updated. Think about issues and what would occur, he said. For instance, if the phone goes down is the access control going down? Check backup alarm systems, the backup generator and ensure there is fuel in the generator, he added. "The more complex the building the more complex these things get," Latzen observed.

Things happen on a weekend, he stressed. "Who do you call for a policy decision to move people out? Are you moving them past the point where they could be in danger?"

While coordinators and their alternates can be volunteers, they should be people who have leadership ability and are known by the staff as being responsible, he said. "You don't want a fire warden who is running out of the building," Latzen observed. "Or will they be subdued in a time of high stress?" Know who your tenants are, he Know who your tenants are, advised, since some tenants may be involved in trade with sensitive countries. The security experts suggested enlisting the cooperation of tenants in both residential and commercial facilities by appealing to their own sense of safety. Suppliers should be contacted so that delivery personnel can be appropriately identified and will comply with procedures.

Rockefeller Center began vertical rounds by security guards while more uniformed and undercover personnel were deployed. Cardboard boxes, normally verboten in any Rockefeller Center areas, were being more critically surveyed.

You should be aware of who and what is around you when walking down a hallway or entering elevators, Davis advised. "Be aware of how to exit the situation as quickly as possible," he said.

Evacuation plans should contain more than one way of egress Latzen noted. Instead of conducting a fire drill and having people just gather in the hallway, Latzen suggested having the tenants walk down a flight of stairs so they know what to expect.

Richard Kleinman, chief operating officer of AFA Protective Systems Inc. which has 5,000 clients in the city, noted it might be time to service smoke detectors, which under local law must be calibrated and cleaned every six months. "All that is geared to protect the people in the buildings," he said. Individual offices do not need these alarms, he warned, and a fire can build up rapidly before detection.

Latzen believes that any new building should consider security right from the architectural design. Items such as video cameras are a lot cheaper to build in right from the beginning, he added.

The Rent Stabilization Association is exploring what residential owners should be doing and are reaching out to security experts. "If we put this out publicly the bad guys will get it," John J. Gilbert III, RSA's president quipped, agreeing it is incumbent for the group to come up with the basic answers for their members.

Zachary C. Fluhr, president of Kastle Systems, suggested owners look at their building from a physical as well as operational standpoint to determine where the vulnerabilities are in the building and to prepare a response.

Owners have to increase their knowledge of what is available and how their building stacks up against what is possible and what is practical to what is available, Fluhr added.

If you don't already have intercoms they should be installed, suggested Michael Arnold, president of Apple Intercom & Mailbox,. Owners may want to add a time lapse recorder that slowly takes a picture of every person coming in.

Jordan Lubitz president of Jordan Intercorn Systems Inc., said one sensible thing is to maintain what equipment you already have. "If you don't maintain the systems the problem gets worse fast," he explained. He advised having the superintendent survey what isn't working and call a responsible contractor to make the repairs.

Lubitz suggested reinforcing the entrance door of residential buildings and locking the outside door as well. "A lot of buildings have intercoms on the inside and are extending it to the outside," he said.

He noted that closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems can be wired to the superintendent's apartment, work on a time lapse basis, or enhance the tenant's intercom system. Buildings can also install cameras to cover side entrances and courtyards and tie them into the doorman's desk.

Davis noted "The best thing anybody can do is to add security devices without taking away too many of our liberties."

Jim Donohue, general sales manager Holmes of New York Inc., the oldest burglary alarm company in existence, suggested motion detectors for inside the premises, such as individual apartments or offices. A wireless "unsupervised" system is now available, he said. "It works on a military band and tells you the status and can be operated through the telephone," he explained.

Ensuring doors are shut and locked is one first line of defense. "Most are opportunistic crooks," Donohue explained. "In a residential building you need a good deterrent, with the obvious signs there is security in place."

You can go overboard, warned Kleinman. "Some of these systems are expensive." A building owner or manager should be careful that the company understands the business, knows the codes and is capable of servicing their business, he added. "You might get something cheap but will end up paying for it in the long run."

The security experts also agreed that if there had been an off-site command station as is required by New York City codes, the system or parts of it might have remained operational throughout the emergency at the World Trade Center and aided evacuation procedures.

"The image I have in mind has to do with those kindergarten kids who were trapped in the elevator," Fluhr recalled. Normally, he said, an intercorn in the elevator goes to a command center in the building.

Kleinman is on the technical committee of the National Fire Protection Association and his company protects buildings such as Trump Tower and the Empire State Building. While there are access control systems that can handle 1 million occupants, he noted, "You can become a prisoner of your own space."

"You have to be rational about these things," McNulty agreed. "The problem is that people don't stay in red alert. When this fades from the memory they will go back to their old ways and will grumble and complain about the procedures."

McNulty said many of the newly instituted safety procedures will be kept in place at least until there is some resolution of the motivation. "If it was a political motivation it could be replicated or if it was revenge it might not," he explained.
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Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:World Trade Center Bombing, 1993; New York, New York
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Mar 10, 1993
Previous Article:ESG named at 717 Fifth Ave.
Next Article:NYC retailers upbeat at close of 1992.

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