Security/Emergency Information

High Holidays: Are you ready to get out if you have to?

It’s happened more than once…a fire in a synagogue during High Holiday services. Bomb threats and suspicious packages … check.
Most people  tend to exit through the door they entered. In an emergency, if people don’t use all of the doors there will be bottlenecks leading to injuries or worse.
With a little bit of planning and rehearsal this problem can be readily mitigated.
  1. We all have seen the “cards in the seat pockets in front of you” on a plane. Simply figure out how to divide your sanctuary spaces so that all of the exits will be used and create a chart like the one below, reproduce it and stick it in the pockets in front of the pews.
  2. No one expects you to conduct a fire drill on Yom Kippur, but you can ask your ushers and key staff to attend a rehearsal meeting in advance of services. Discuss your plans and their roles with them ahead of time.
  3. Pre-write directions that should be kept on the bimah. In the event of an emergency you shouldn’t count on people to call an “audible” (i.e., improvise).

(click to enlarge)

Ransomware victims urged to report infections

FBI

 

 

 

September 15, 2016/Alert Number I-091516-PSA

RANSOMWARE VICTIMS URGED TO REPORT INFECTIONS TO FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT

High Holiday security: stay vigilant

Bernard Picart [Public domain], The Sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, illustration circa 1733–1739 by Bernard Picart from

Bernard Picart [Public domain], The Sounding of the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah, illustration circa 1733–1739 by Bernard Picart from “The Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations of the Known World”

Security and emergency planning should be an integral component of every synagogue’s High Holiday preparations. Here are some tools to guide you:

High Holiday Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning Library

Synagogue-specific Security & Emergency Planning

Consider the following elements of heightened vigilance:

  • Increase visible security measures. Someone planning an attack may look at your facility, conclude that it is defended and decide to go elsewhere. Several recent incidents also underscore that the presence of armed security and law enforcement personnel and the placement of security checkpoints do not guarantee that an attack will be averted or interupted. Nevertheless, their presence can enable the timely discovery and quick resolution of potential threats and reduce the lethality of terrorist attacks.
  • Review your policies and procedures. How else can you send a signal to outsiders that your facility is a tough target? For example, does your staff do regular inspections of your facility looking for something that, “Just doesn’t look right?” If not, start now. If they do, should you increase the frequency. Review JCRC’s Sample Access Policies and Procedures to identify additional steps.
  • Test your systems. OK, you’ve identified systems to screen your mail, respond to bomb threats and suspicious objects and you have an active shooters plan. The key question is: “Will they work in reality?” Do your panic buttons function? Test them (after you first alert the alarm company). Have you had tabletop exercises and drills covering multiple hazards? How can you make sure that your entire staff and constituencies are on their collective toes?
  • Check in with your local police. For most Jewish organizations, September is the start of a new program year. Reach out to your local police. Offer them the opportunity to get to know your programs, your rhythms, your people and your building. Ask them for suggestions as to how to make your people safer.
  • If you see something, say something. Think how to build a culture of security, because security is everbody’s business. If any of your staff, students, volunteers, congregants or clients sees or hears something suspicious they should feel comfortable to report it to the appropriate person in your facility and the information should be passed on to the police. In NYC the number is 1-888-NYC-SAFE. Elsewhere in New York State the number is 1-866-SAFE-NYS. Every tip is investigated.

Increased vigilance as 9/11 anniversary nears

VigilanceA recent federal bulletin urged state and local law enforcement to be on high alert ahead of 9/11 anniversary. It explained that that terrorists – specifically those aligned with
ISIS – “may be inspired or directed to conduct attacks against events associated with 9/11 memorial commemorations or other mass gathering targets timed to this date.” The report notes the symbolism associated with the somber anniversary as a motivating factor for a potential terrorist attack.

While the FBI reports that it is “unaware of any specific, credible information” of a plot against the U.S. homeland (or against Jewish communal targets), Daesh (aka “ISIS”) and Al Qaeda propaganda have repeatedly tried to inspire attacks by individuals  — such as the ones in Paris, Nice, Istanbul and Orlando — using firearms, edged weapons, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and commercial vehicles. Federal analysts note that there is an  “ongoing heightened threat environment.”

Heightened security measures should be in place through 9/11 and through the Jewish holiday season (Remember: the potential attacker in Aventura, FL was aware of the Jewish calender and planned to strike on a Jewish holiday in order to maximize the impact of his attack). Many of the terrorists responsible for recent incidents engaged in “pre-operational surveillance”, i.e., they checked out the site while planning their attack. Consider the following elements of heightened vigilance:

  • Increase visible security measures. Someone planning an attack may look at your facility, conclude that it is defended and decide to go elsewhere. Several recent incidents also underscore that the presence of armed security and law enforcement personnel and the placement of security checkpoints do not guarantee that an attack will be averted or interupted. Nevertheless, their presence can enable the timely discovery and quick resolution of potential threats and reduce the lethality of terrorist attacks.
  • Review your policies and procedures. How else can you send a signal to outsiders that your facility is a tough target? For example, does your staff do regular inspections of your facility looking for something that, “Just doesn’t look right?” If not, start now. If they do, should you increase the frequency. Review JCRC’s Sample Access Policies and Procedures to identify additional steps.
  • Test your systems. OK, you’ve identified systems to screen your mail, respond to bomb threats and suspicious objects and you have an active shooters plan. The key question is: “Will they work in reality?” Do your panic buttons function? Test them (after you first alert the alarm company). Have you had tabletop exercises and drills covering multiple hazards? How can you make sure that your entire staff and constituencies are on their collective toes?
  • Check in with your local police. For most Jewish organizations, September is the start of a new program year. Reach out to your local police. Offer them the opportunity to get to know your programs, your rhythms, your people and your building. Ask them for suggestions as to how to make your people safer.
  • If you see something, say something. Think how to build a culture of security, because security is everbody’s business. If any of your staff, students, volunteers, congregants or clients sees or hears something suspicious they should feel comfortable to report it to the appropriate person in your facility and the information should be passed on to the police. In NYC the number is 1-888-NYC-SAFE. Elsewhere in New York State the number is 1-866-SAFE-NYS. Every tip is investigated.

School security guards: New FAQ’s.

Posted on August 04, 2016

The New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) held its first meeting with schools yesterday. Applications for the School Security Guard Program are currently being accepted until November 1st for 2016-2017 school year. For questions related to the nonpublic school application process, it is really worth your while to check out the FAQ‘s. If you still have questions, contact Latesha Parks – lmparks@dcas.nyc.gov. We feel that DCAS has been making this process user-friendly.

Eligible schools. To be eligible to participate in the program, a school must meet the following:

  • Must be New York City nonpublic school;
  • Must be nonprofit;
  • Have 300 or more students in any combination of grades Pre-K through twelfth grades only;
  • Have been assigned a Basic Educational Date System (BEDS) code by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

Eligible security guard companies. DCAS is working to establish a list of qualified security vendors. In order to receive reimbursements, schools will only be able to utilize firms that are on the qualified vendor list.  Once a list is available, DCAS will notify schools of its availability via email or letter.  The list will also be available on the DCAS website. Information about how security guard companies can apply to become qualified vendors can be found in the FAQ’s.

Contracts. One piece of advice. As a school you will contract directly with a qualified security vendor. You should make sure to stipulate in the contract that should the designated City funds become unavailable, that the school has the option to decide whether to continue or terminate the contract.(n.b., the law caps the expenditure at approximately $20 million, so there is a slight possibility that the funding might run out).

There will be up-dates – so check frequently with JCRC-NY and at the DCAS website.

Posted in School security