How many of you actually prepare or even think about the possibility of a terrorist attack affecting you?
For the most part all the years of me working at the ports and in what is considered a “foreign trade zone” that requires all these classes, background checks and government issued security clearances I always have had the mindset that nothing will ever happen in one of the places I’m at.
Recently some events took place that got me thinking that I should never discredit terrorism out of the realm of possibility. I want to be cautious here to attempt to get you the readers to understand what made me be more aware of the possibility without disclosing too much information about certain security procedures.
Recently upon arriving to work the normal security procedure had changed in which I learned that the Mari-time threat level was elevated to the place I work but I didn’t think much of this new security procedure because I had randomly been through similar procedures at other facilities. I know you’re wondering but I think I have an obligation here not to reveal what is normal procedure and the changes made for this elevated threat. But I will say given the knowledge about the place I work and normal level of security at that point I had no reason to feel alarmed.
Recently security returned to normal, and I figured it was just routine practice for the security personnel.
Then even more “recently” while working the evacuation alarm sounded. Under normal evacuations this could mean there is a fire, chemical release, or a catastrophic explosion is imminent. Most of the time this turns out to be a non event false alarm and the chemical releases and fires generally don’t amount to anything major. This is what the evacuation alarm is for, when it sounds you have no idea how much time you have.
Anyways… So the alarm sounds and we have procedure to evacuate to a location that greatly depends on the current wind direction (you don’t want to be downwind from chemical vapors or fires). As everybody is walking toward what should be the primary evac point we began to receive instructions over the radio to go to a location that would actually put us downwind from any of those threats. So now I’m thinking why are they sending us there? And then over the radios they started saying there is a breach of security at certain location within the facility which helped explained why we was being instruction to go to that location.
Not long after we was able to return to work and I learned that the breach of security was actually somebody from a boat taking pictures of the facility. That is public waters and it could just be an innocent person who thought what they saw was cool, right? That’s what I was thinking but then I learned that on the same day that same boat was seen taking pictures of other facilities many miles away.
I suppose it could be the DHS & Coast Guard testing security procedures and response by local facilities but either way it was enough of a reminder to me that the possibility should not be continued to be ignored.