New resource guide. Take a look at DHS’ new resource guide, Security of Soft Targets and Crowded Places. It’s essentially a one-stop table of contents for DHS’s free materials, including links for help on identifying suspicious activity, access control and screening, active assailants (they’re not just shooters anymore) and bomb threats. Follow the supplied links for an introduction to facility security that can serve as a good first step for houses of worship, schools and other soft targets. Resources include fact sheets, guidance, and online training and education courses.
Mail screening poster. Thanks to the world’s leading geopolitical intelligence platform, Stratfor, for its timely reminder about mail and package screening after an attempted bombing.
- While many questions remain in the case of a parcel bomb sent to a Mexican senator, the largest is why the mail of such a high-level official was not screened.
- While politicians and large corporations clearly must take significant measures to screen their mail, even ordinary people (and Jewish organizations) should open their mail cautiously.
- Simple steps can help everyone from the largest entities to the average citizen.
Note that Cesar Sayoc, 57, admitted in court to having mailed 16 explosive devices to a variety of officials and to CNN’s offices in October 2018. He allegedly said he would “eradicate the Jews” if he had the power to, along with lesbians, black people and Hispanic people.
We urge you to download the tips found on the Stratfor graphic and share it with your staff and others.
Rosh Chodesh Elul includes clarion calls indicating that the High Holidays are coming soon. So, now is a good time to check out a recent presentation on synagogue security or to take a deeper dive into the library of documents available on the JCRC-NY Security Resources pages. Here are some relevant selections:
High Holiday Security and Emergency Preparedness Planning Library
- High Holidays: Are you ready to get out if you have to?
- JCRC-NY High Holiday Security Thinkplate
- Access control considerations during High Holiday services (PDF)
- Houses of Worship and the High Holidays
- Planning for the Unexpected – High Holiday Edition 2010 (PDF)
- Are you prepared? 5 steps to make your facility safer and more secure
- Sample Building Access Policies & Procedures (PDF)
- Bomb Threat Guidance resources. See also Hoax threats can be scary, too, To evacuate or not to evacuate? That is the question., DHS’ Introduction to Bomb Threat Management, Manhattan bomb threat: lessons learned, Bomb threat training video.
- Active Shooter Resources Page (DHS, FBI and NYPD)
- Cybersecurity Resources Page
- US Postal Inspection Service Guide to Mail Center Security (PDF)
Vulnerability, Risk and Safety Assessments and Planning
- FEMA: Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings
- FEMA, Emergency Operations Planning
- Potential Indicators, Common Vulnerabilities, and Protective Measures: Religious Facilities (Updated)
- Hometown Security Report Series: Houses of Worship
- K-12 School Security: A Guide for Preventing and Protecting against Gun Violence (2nd ed., 2018) provides preventive and protective measures to address the threat of gun violence in schools. The Guide is delivered in two parts: the first portion is a PDF with general security best practices and considerations in narrative format; while the second portion is a Microsoft Excel-based security survey. Together, these documents outline action-oriented security practices and options for consideration based on the results of the individual school’s responses to the survey. While the primary audience for the Guide is the K-12 community, institutions of higher education or pre-K schools may also benefit from the information presented.
- NYPD: Engineering Security: Protective Design for High Risk Buildings
- OSHA: Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool. This expert system will help you to create a basic Emergency Action Plan. This basic plan likely will be adequate for needs of many small and medium-sized entities. Most small and medium-sized entities can create basic plans using this system in 10 to 15 minutes. Larger, more complex organizations will require more work.
- Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Drug Free and Safe Schools. Taking action now can save lives, prevent injury, and minimize property damage in the moments of a crisis. The importance of reviewing and revising school and district plans cannot be underscored enough, and Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities is designed to help you navigate this process. The Guide is intended to give schools, districts, and communities the critical concepts and components of good crisis planning, stimulate thinking about the crisis preparedness process, and provide examples of promising practices.
- Emergency Preparedness Planning Guide for Childcare Centers. From the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (a collaborative program between the Illinois Department of Public Health and Loyola University Chicago). Lots of ideas to keep toddlers safe.
- Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center, U.S. Department of Education
- REMS: Conducting a Safety Audit
- California STAS: Protective Measures for Enhanced Facilities Security
- New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Critical Infrastructure Protection Bureau: Facility Self-Assessment Tool (updated) and other tools here.
The National Explosives Task Force (NETF) coordinates rapid integration of explosives expertise with intelligence and law enforcement information to support operational activities. Products are peer-reviewed by explosives experts from participating agencies.
National Explosives Task Force
Suspicious Package Indicators and Recommended Response Procedures
Package bombs, which include letters, parcels, and anything delivered by postal or courier service, are not a new technique and have been used by terrorists and anarchist groups. Many of these bombs are triggered when victims handle or open the packages, although they can be initiated in other ways.
Package bombs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they may look harmless. There are a number of characteristics that may lead you to become suspicious of a letter or package.
If you believe a letter or package is suspicious:
- Stop. Do not handle or open.
- Do not use cell phones, pagers, or two-way radios near suspected devices.
- Be aware of secondary devices.
- Evacuate and isolate the immediate area.
- If applicable, activate the facility’s emergency plan.
- Make note of the characteristics that caused suspicion.
- Call 911.
Formal Screening Procedures
Commercial or government entities with mail screening procedures are advised to review existing procedures for screening packages, identifying suspicious items, and instituting the appropriate safety protocols.
If no current procedures are in place, guidance should be sought from local, state, and/or federal resources. Planning considerations should include (but not be limited to) recurring training for screeners, an understanding of the standards and limitations for operating times, and regularly scheduled maintenance of screening equipment, such as calibration, updates, and testing.
The NETF prepared this document to raise awareness of package bombs and the need for diligence and safety procedures in evaluating suspected improvised explosive devices. If a suspicious package is found, call 911. Any diagnostic or render safe actions should be performed only by the appropriate experts.
The U.S. government has resources on mail security available to citizens and businesses. More
information can be found at http://about.usps.com/securing-the-mail/mail-security-center.htm. Click here to download a PDF copy of this notice.
The National Explosives Task Force (NETF) coordinates rapid integration of explosives expertise with intelligence and law enforcement information to support operational activities. Products are peer-reviewed by explosives experts from participating agencies.
Update: December 11, 2017.
Explosion-Port Authority Bus Terminal Passageway to Times Square
At approximately, 7:20AM today police responded to a reported explosion under the Port Authority Bus Terminal Station in New York City.
- According to the NYPD, one suspect, Akayed Ullah, who wore an “improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body,” is in custody following an explosion.
- The suspect is one of four people who have been injured. All of the injuries are believed to be non-life threatening at this time.
- The Port Authority at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue has been evacuated as a precautionary measure and subways did not stop at Times Square. Regular subway service resumed, with residual delays, at 11:03AM.
The police and FBI will continue their investigation. A transcript of the media availability at the scene can be found here.
According to our sources, there are no specific, credible intelligence regarding threats to the Homeland resulting from the announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) have long cited US foreign policy as being among their primary grievances, and their access to readily available weapons makes it increasingly easy for them to conduct an attack with little or no warning.
We reiterate our recommendations below.
Analyses of recent events highlight potential tactics: Ramming, Edged weapons, Improvised explosive devices, small arms or a combination thereof. Out of an abundance of caution we recommend that Jewish organizations should review their security posture and implement a policy of heightened vigilance. Consider giving special attention to security awareness, access control, mail and package screening, active shooter plans and general security protocols.
- Brief your staff on basic suspicious behavior (Indicators of Terrorist Activity from the NYPD and Security Awareness by Paul DeMatties) and make them aware that they are responsible for immediately reporting suspicious activity or persons.
- Create a “culture of security” in your organization. Security is everybody’s business. Everyone should know, “If you see something, say something.”
- Check in with your local law enforcement officials. Let them know if you have any upcoming programs.
- Access control
- Review your access control and security policies and procedures should be reviewed and strictly followed.
- Utilize additional security during high-volume arrival or departure times.
- Brief your security staff concerning your enhanced expectations, and have supervisors make additional visits to your location to ensure compliance.
- Mail and package screening
- Review your mailroom security and handling procedures with staff. See the comprehensive “Best Practices for Mail Screening and Handling” guide from DHS is available here. Check out Safe Mail Handling from DHS and find the USPS page on mail security, including suspicious mail and packages, here.
- Advise your mailroom personnel not to handle letters or packages that look suspicious (discoloration, stains, or emits an odor).Personnel should immediately leave the area and dial 911. Personnel should make sure that no one re-enters the area until the NYPD/FDNY Hazmat Unit declares it safe.Consider the following:
- Larger organizations should continue to screen and x-ray their mail. The USPS best practices for mail center security contains an excellent chapter, “Protect Your Business from Package Bombs and Bomb Threats”.
- All organizations, large and small, need to examine all mail and packages, whether delivered via the post office, UPS, FedEx, other carrier or hand delivered.
- Whether or not your organization has a mail room, designate and train specific people to screen your organization’s mail. Make sure that they know what your screening protocols are and know what to do if they find anything suspicious.
- Screen your mail in a separate room. That way if you find anything suspicious, you can easily isolate it.
- If you believe that an envelope or package contains a hazardous substance (e.g., an unknown white powder) instruct your screener to avoid inhaling the particulates, wash his/her hands with soap and room temperature water and isolate him/her in an adjoining, designated area away from the substance and await instructions from the first responders (This will take some planning. You don’t want anyone walking past the other employees and possibly contaminating them).
- If you deem an item to be suspicious:
- Do not open it.
- Do not shake it.
- Do not examine or empty the contents.
- Leave the room.
- Close the door.
- Alert others in the area.
- Call 911.
- Shut down your HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) systems, if possible.
- Consider whether you want to vacate your premises.
If you have a specific question about a package mailed to you, you can contact:USPS POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
PO BOX 555
NEW YORK NY 10116-0555Phone :
- Active shooters. Print out and distribute the NYPD flyer here to your constituencies and find more resources at the JCRC-NY active shooter resources page.
- Conduct interior and exterior security inspections (by security, maintenance staff, trained volunteers, executive staff, etc.) several times a day.
- Check all security equipment for fitness.
- Review available video system recordings (day and night) daily to detect suspicious activity.
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Alright, good morning. Everyone’s got sound? Everybody’s good? Alright, good morning. At 7:20 am, approximately, 7:20 am this morning, we had terror related incident in the subway, in the passageway between 42nd and Eight, and 42nd and Seventh. The Governor is going to speak. The Mayor is going to speak. I’m going to give you some more details. Dan Nigro is going to talk about some of the minor injuries and then Joe Lhota is going to talk about subway service. Governor?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: Thank you, good morning to everyone. The first news this morning was obviously very frightening and disturbing. When you hear about a bomb in the subway station, which is in many ways one of our worst nightmares, the reality turns out better than the initial expectation and fear.
You had a number of law enforcement agencies that did a fantastic job. The NYPD, the PAPD, the Port Authority Police, the MTA Police, they were all on it. You see behind us representatives of all the agencies coordinated. The Assistant Director of the FBI, Bill Sweeney, is here. So everyone worked together.
There was an explosion. The Police Commissioner will go over the details. It was a minor – it was an effectively low tech device. There were several injuries, we hope minor, and it was handled extraordinarily well. There was a disruption in train service and bus service while a sweep was being done, that’s all being restored now, as you will hear from Joh Lhota. The subway station – subway service, except at 42nd Street is being restored. The Port Authority Bus Terminal is re-opened, so buses will be running once again.
This is New York. The reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom. We are the Statue of Liberty in our harbor. And that makes us an international target, we understand that. With the internet now, anyone can go on the internet, and download garbage and vileness on how to put together an amateur level explosive device, and that is a reality that we live with. The counter-reality is that this is New York, and we all pitch together, and we are a savvy people, and we keep our eyes open. And that’s what see something, say something is all about. And we have the best law enforcement on the globe. And we are all working together extraordinarily well.
I want to thank the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office for doing a great job this morning and we will go forward, and we will go forward together. All the service will resume. Let’s go back to work. We are not going to allow them to disrupt us. That’s exactly what they want and that is exactly what they’re not going to get. Thank you.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much Governor. Let’s be clear, as New Yorkers, our lives revolve around the subways. When we hear of an attack on the subway, it’s incredibly unsettling. And let’s be also clear, this was attempted terrorist attack. Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Thank God our first responders were there so quickly to address the situation, to make sure people were safe. Thank God the only injuries, that we know at this point, were minor.
But I agree 100 percent with the Governor’s point. The choice of New York is always for a reason. Because we’re beacons to the world and we actually show that society of many faiths and many backgrounds can work, and we showed that democracy can work. And our enemies want to undermine that, the terrorist want to undermine that, so they yearn to attack New York City. But New York City is blessed with the finest law enforcement, and what our first responders did today was another example the ability to assess a situation quickly, contain it, and make sure people are safe.
Let me just say, it’s very important for my fellow New Yorkers to know. There are no additional known instance at this time, there are no additional known activities. We will wait for a fuller investigation, of course, by the NYPD, the MTA police, the Port Authority police, and the FBI, but at this point in time, all we know of is one individual, who thank God was unsuccessful in his aims. There are also no credible and specific threats against New York City at this time. But we will give you more information, of course, as the investigation unfolds.
The first responders responded brilliantly. Now the mission of the NYPD is to secure all major transit hubs and major sites in this city. So you will see expanded NYPD presence today all over the city. New Yorkers have come to understand when you see our specialized forces, when you see those long guns, and those highly trained officers, that’s something that should be reassuring to you. That means that the NYPD is on full alert and out in force and that means you are safe.
Finally I want to say, the Governor invoked that phrase, we can’t say it enough times, when you see something, say something. This is the difference maker. We’ve seen it time and again. When an everyday New Yorker sees something that doesn’t make sense, hears something, sees a package, gets a feeling that something’s wrong. Don’t hold it yourself, tell a police officer. They are the ones who can take the information and act on it. It is so important to speak up because you could be saving many lives by doing so.
I’ll finish by saying this. This is most resilient place on Earth, we’ve proven it time and time again. We’ve proved it just over a month ago. We proved it on 9/11. We are going to prove it again today. The terrorists will not win, we are going keep being New Yorkers. Let’s get back to work. Thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright these are the preliminary facts. So – just – it just happened a couple hours ago, so you have to understand these are preliminary facts. At approximately 7:20 am, at a below ground walkway, which connects the IND line at 4-2 and Eight Avenue with the IRT line at 4-2 and seven, and that’s the shuttle at Time Square and the 1,2,3 train.
Police were called to a reported explosion. Responding units found an injured 27-year-old male. We’ve identified him as Akayed Ullah, A-K-A-Y-E-D-U-L-L-A-H. He had burns and wounds to his body. Preliminary investigation at the scene indicates this male was wearing an improvised, low-tech explosive device attached to his body. He intentionally detonated that device. Looks like that there were three other people in the immediate area also sustain minor injuries, but Dan Nigro is going to talk about that. The subject was placed in custody and transported to Bellevue Hospital.
Immediate police response to the scene included members of the Transit Bureau, Emergency Service Decision, Bomb Squad, Counter-Terrorism, MTA Police, State Troopers, and the FBI’s Joint Terrorist Taskforce. In addition, the NYPD Strategic Response Group and Critical Response Command, were assigned to other key transportation hubs and other locations throughout the city as a precautionary measure.
This incident was captured on transit system video. A further review and interviewing witnesses is under way, a thorough background investigation Akayed Ullah is being conducted by the Joint Terrorist Taskforce. We are asking anyone who may have any information about this individual or incident to call the terror headline, and that’s, 8-8-8-NYC-SAFE.
Just as the Governor said, and as the Mayor said, we are New Yorkers, we don’t live in fear. If you see something doesn’t look right ,you have an obligation to come forward, call 9-1-1, flag down a cop, and give us a chance to investigate it. Dan Nigro is going to talk about the injuries now. Dan?
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro: Thank you Jim. As the Police Commissioner mentioned the perpetrator detonated the device, it caused burns to the hands and the abdomen, also lacerations. Our EMS personnel removed the perpetrator to Bellevue Hospital where they’re being treated now. Three other people that were in proximity of the explosion removed themselves. Two of them took themselves to Mt. Saini West, one to Mt. Saini Queens. All with minor injuries that are consistent with being in the area of the explosion. That is ringing in the ears and headaches. So we have three minor injuries to people that were in that corridor and serious injuries to the perpetrator. That’s it at this time.
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota: Thank you. As the Commissioners have both said, and the Mayor and the Governor have both said, earlier this morning we received an alert of the explosion that happened in the tunnel and immediately the MTA and the transit authority shut down the lines on the Eight Avenue line, the A, the C, the E. Many of them were rerouted. I will tell you right now, they are all back. The only disruption we have right now is that on both the Seventh Avenue line, as well as the Eighth Avenue line, we’re bypassing the Times Square-42nd Street corridor. And also the shuttle between Grand Central and Times Square is currently shut down. We expect it to be back up and normal by – by this evening’s rush hour.
I do want to also state that on November 6th, just a month or so ago, we had a tabletop exercise with the NYPD to coordinate our efforts in the event that something like this ever happened. And the result of that was today in less than two hours we are back totally up to speed and getting our passengers around. I want to especially thank, not only the NYPD, but also our passengers and our customers for their patience. Thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright we’re going to take some questions.
Question: [Inaudible] did the suspect utter anything before he [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: The question is is did the subject utter anything before he detonated the device.
Part of the investigation.
Question: Where was the device located?
Question: [Inaudible] potential target for years [inaudible] typically have police run [inaudible] a lot of these corridors connecting lines where you don’t see [inaudible] at this point how [inaudible] potential security weakness something that might be addressed?
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright the question is that transit seems to be an apparent target, are there any weak – any weaknesses downstairs. Listen we have almost 3,000 transit cops that work in the subway system every day, we have the strategic response group, we have the critical response command. All parts of this system are patrolled.
Question: Can you describe, is it a belt, a backpack or a vest, a little more about the device. And in the video what does he look like he’s doing? Does he look like he’s waiting for a big crowd to gather? What is he doing?
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright the question was what does the device look like, and what was the subject doing before he detonated. John Miller can talk about that.
John Miller, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism: Without getting into too many specifics the device is based on a pipe bomb. It was affixed to his person with a combination of Velcro and zip ties. The bomb squad is in the process now, along with the FBI special agent bomb technicians, of processing that crime scene with others. They’re going to gather up those pieces and we’ll have a better idea of what the device was put together with and what was inside it.
Commissioner O’Neill: Hold up. Hold up.
Question: Any history on the perp?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah we’re not going to go into that right now.
Commissioner O’Neill: Hold on, right here. Juliette? Hold on, one at a time. Hold on. Juliette?
Question: Did he detonate it himself and was this done purposely as –
Commissioner O’Neill: That’s – Juliette – the question is did he detonate it himself. In the video you see him walking down the corridor, that’s part of the investigation. We don’t know that to be a fact just yet. Right behind Juliette?
Question: [Inaudible] nationality [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: We’re working on that right now.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah right here.
Question: Is there a reason why we’re seeing the incident from a few weeks ago, this incident more now and we’ve gone years, and years, and years in New York since 9/11 with nothing. And now all of a sudden it seems like we are seeing more incidents. Is there a reason why?
Commissioner O’Neill: There have been incidents starting with 9/11 but I’ll let John talk about that a little bit more.
Deputy Commissioner John Miller: So as you all know, since the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, and well before that New York City, as the media capital of the world, has been a target of terrorist attacks in the past. There was the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, the 9/11 attacks, and in the course of post-9/11 world, as you’re aware, there’s also been approximately 26 plots that we can talk about that have been prevented through intelligence investigation and interdiction.
As you know there was the Times Square bombing which failed to detonate, there was the Chelsea bombing from September 17th of 16 and then there’s this incident. So clearly do to an immense effort that is put into this by the FBI, the NYPD, our intelligence and counter-terrorism people, and everybody else. It’s an all hands effort. We have prevented a significant number of plots. A significant number of attacks. But this is a fact of life, whether you’re in New York or London or Paris. The question is can it happen here, and the answer is it can happen anywhere.
Question: Did he claim any connection to ISIS?
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright hold on, hold on. Right here in the front row.
Question: Did he claim any connection to ISIS [inaudible]
Commissioner O’Neill: He did make statements but – the question is did he claim connection to ISIS. He did make statements but we’re not going to talk about that right now.
Question: Is he from Brooklyn?
Commissioner O’Neill: Right behind you – hold on. Right behind you.
Question: Where exactly did the device go off in the passage way?
Commissioner O’Neill: It’s at 4- 2 and eight. He’s walking eastbound to 4-2 and seven. It’s – so it’s from this corner to Times Square underneath. If you’ve taken the subway you know what the passageway I’m talking about.
Question: Commissioner –
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, hold on. In the back?
Question: [Inaudible] subway system of this size runs 24 hours, seven days a week [inaudible] size and scope?
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright the question is the size of the subway system is massive, how can we have that – how can we have that system covered. Listen, it’s going to take – there’s six million people that ride the train every day. It’s going to take everybody to have their eyes open, pay attention to what’s going on, if you don’t see – if you see something that makes you uncomfortable, make that phone call or talk to a cop. Give us a chance to investigate. In the back?
Commissioner O’Neill: We don’t know – the question is was it intentional, this spot where he detonated the explosive device. We don’t know that yet. Right here, Miles?
Question: Commissioner, I understand you executed a search warrant in Brooklyn and have you – how far have you been able to track this suspect –
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah we’re not going to – the question is that are we at different locations with the – what was the?
Commissioner O’Neill: In Brooklyn. I’m not going to go into that right now. We are – this is part of what we do. We’re investigating his background now to see what addresses he has and we’ll fully investigate him and the locations where he lives.
Question: Did he act alone?
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, listen. We’re going to come back to you later on with some more – with some more information. Thank you very much.
Organizational leaders should work to strike a balance: to offer a warm and welcoming facility, while at the same time ensuring that their members, students, staffs, clients and building are safe and secure. Leaders concerned with everybody’s safety and security should prepare to deal with emergencies, because “on the fly” reflexes might not be as effective as a pre-determined and rehearsed plan. While your “to-do” list at the beginning of the academic and program year is long, consider these tips to help you prepare for emergencies and ensure you can protect your constituencies.
1. Control access to your facility
No unauthorized person should be allowed to enter your facility. Every person entering your facility should be screened by security (or other) staff.
- Limit entrances and exits. Limit access to your facility to monitored entrances.
- Don’t slow down regular users. Create a system to identify regulars (e.g., staff, members).
- Screen irregular visitors. g., people with appointments, contractors, etc. See more at Sample Building Access Policies & Procedures.
- Divide your building into sectors. Should people authorized to use one part of the building be able to wander into another? If you have an access control system, take advantage of its capabilities to allow specific access. Alternatively, use color-coded badges, wristbands or ID cards as a low-tech solution.
2. Plan your emergency response
Stuff happens. Emergencies are not events that you can handle on the fly. Consider having plans, procedures and designated teams empowered to make decisions during emergencies, and trained and prepared to respond to events.
- Develop and train an emergency response team. Designate someone to be in charge during an emergency and someone else as backup. Build a support team. Have the team work together on your response plans.
- Build a relationship with your local police.Work with your local police throughout the year and give 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.
- Know what to do if you receive a threat. Get some ideas about preparing for phone, email or social media threats and evacuations and sheltering at: http://www.jcrcny.org/2017/02/to-evacuate-or-not-to-evacuate-that-is-the-question/.
- Have an “active shooter” Do the people in your facility know what to do if a person with a gun or sharp-edged weapon shows up? Find more information at: www.jcrcny.org/activeshooter.
- Be ready to tell people what’s happening. Don’t let your stakeholders learn about an emergency at your facility from the media. Be prepared to communicate. Have some pre-written messages: be first; be right; be credible. Consider options including hardware and web-based emergency notification systems that will simultaneously email, text and phone pre-prepared lists, dedicated social media groups or free apps such as WhatsApp or GroupMe that will send texts (including a link to your website with more info and updates). Now is the time to collect the cell numbers of your stakeholders.
- Involve your board in the security and preparedness process.
3. Develop a routine
Security, done well, must be done daily and involve everybody.
- Create a culture of security. Everyone should feel responsible to report suspicious activity. “If you see something, say something” should be part of your culture of security.
- Be aware of hostile surveillance. If you see something, say something. If it is not an emergency, call the NYPD at (888) NYC-SAFE, outside NYC (866) SAFE-NYS. For more information download Indicators of Terrorist Activity from the NYPD, Guide to Detecting Surveillance of Jewish Institutions from the ADL at adl.org/security and Security Awarenessby Paul DeMatties at Global Security Risk Management, LLC.
- Schedule regular walkarounds. Designate an employee to complete a “walkaround” of your building and your perimeter on a daily basis, if not more often. They should be looking for suspicious objects, items blocking evacuation routes and anything else that “Just Doesn’t Look Right.”
- Make sure you’re getting the right information. Sign up for alerts to learn when the local and/or global security threats conditions change. Sources: JCRC-NY Security Alerts at jcrcny.org/security, https://www.nypdshield.org/public/signup.aspx, emergency alerts from Notify NYC or your local emergency management office and have a weather app on your smartphone to warn you about severe weather.
- Work with your security provider and your staff to write, “post orders”. Your guards should not merely decorate your entrance. They should know what you expect them to do daily and in emergencies.
4. Don’t forget to train
Major leaguers take batting practice before every game. True, they started batting in the Little Leagues, but drills help people to know, instinctively, what to do. Emergencies that turn to chaos become crises. People know what to do during a fire drill, because they have participated in fire drills since grade school.
Use tabletop exercises involving a wide swath of stakeholders to help you to determine policies and procedures. Once you have determined your plans and procedures, schedule evacuation and lockdown drills. And remember … once is not enough.
5. Explore your security hardware options
Your security hardware should support your security procedures. There are federal and New York State grants available for many organizations (see: www.jcrcny.org/securitygrants for more details). Consider obtaining the funding for:
- Your main and secondary doors should lock securely and be able to withstand an attack by a determined intruder.
- Do your windows lock securely? Reduce the risk of break-ins, vandalism and even mitigate the extent of injuries from bomb blasts by properly installing security/blast-mitigation film on your current windows or replacing them with windows with those properties built-in.
- Access control systems. The electronic possibilities are endless: access cards, biometrics, alarms and more. Get professional advice (see JCRC-NY’s guidance on Security vendors), figure out a hardware plan that is expandable and adaptable.
- Video monitoring. Deploy CCTV systems in various ways. First, as part of a video intercom system to identify people seeking to enter your facility. Second, to monitor secondary entrances (you can add alarms that warn you that a door was opened, alerting someone to check the monitor), and finally, to help to detect hostile surveillance.