We recently had the opportunity to have a chat with representatives of the Australian Police where they told us about Australian National Security’s Crowded Places Security Audit. This is a checklist for sites and events open to use by large numbers of people on a predictable basis. Maybe your workplace qualifies as such! And although you may not reside in Australia, I’m sure you will find it interesting.
The audit is split in three main sections, one of them with sub-sections:
- Security Governance
• Plans, policies and procedures
• Access control
• Perimeter security
• Hostile vehicle mitigation
• Improvised explosive devices blast mitigation
• Hostile reconnaissance detection (detecting suspicious behaviour)
- Information Security
- Personnel Security
There are over 180 questions to go through, and in doing so you become aware of risks and protective measures you can implement. For example, in some places it’s common to leave the company vehicles with the keys on, which can be convenient for terrorists wanting to use the vehicle to run people over! Like with all safety considerations, the protective measures should be proportionate to the level and type of threat.
We have to consider that an emergency of any type in a crowded place will affect more people and as a consequence the risk is proportionately higher. Even though we as humans suffer from scope neglect bias you must consider to also proportionately increase your risk control measures!
Australian National Security also recommends you remember three words in the event of an attack:
- ESCAPE – move quickly and quietly away from danger, but only if it is safe to do so.
- HIDE – stay out of sight and silence your mobile phone.
- TELL – call the police when it is safe.
And because all situations are different, you will need to make quick decisions during an attack and be prepared to change your plan. Ultimately in the event of an attack, what you do matters. I believe in the USA they have one additional point to the list above: FIGHT! I guess it makes sense, although I don’t believe adding it to the list is making you braver 😉
Associated to the audit, there is a self-assessment tool in order to understand how attractive your location may be for a terrorist to attack. You have to rank your facility according to a number of considerations such as its symbolism, number of people at any one time, social importance, economic impact etc. If you believe the site you manage can be attractive for terrorists to attack, I recommend you have a read of this document.
Communication During a Security Emergency
And if you work in a crowded place, emergency officers (whether first-aiders, fire wardens or security personnel) need to have the ability to raise the alarm and maintain communication with the rest of the emergency response team. This way you can direct and monitor an evacuation (escape is No. 1 in the list) and improve safety or site occupants. Maybe you want to give EVA Emergency a go?