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Building Security

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Building bombings, nerve gas releases, and anthrax attacks have been reported in the news. These are just a few of the methods used by terrorists in their attempt to disrupt the lives of people. The attacks are crafted to scare people into changing their daily routines. As a result, designers of office complexes must implement safety features that limit the likelihood of these cruel attempts at terrorizing people. Your challenge is to design and put into action various safety features that reduce the probability that a terrorist attack will take place on an office complex and reduce possible injuries that may occur if an attack does happen. It's up to you to protect the building, so get busy designing.

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Building Security Brochure

Building Security Brochure

How do you secure access to a building?

When deciding on how to secure a building, check for older windows and doors that might not latch securely. Security glass is used so that windows cannot be broken with a blunt object. Doors that automatically lock and set off alarms when not properly closed discourage would-be intruders. Windows and doors that are not easily seen from the front of the building are often points of entry for intruders, so setting up security cameras or guards to monitor these points of access is helpful in keeping them secure. Using secure entrances that keep doors locked unless accessed by security codes or keys is another way to keep the building secure. In addition to doors and windows, make sure that all other types of access, including those for electrical or maintenance, are always securely locked.

How is lighting used to secure a building?

Another way to ensure building security is outside lighting. Well lit areas around the building give a feeling of security for people coming and going, as well as discouraging people from hiding close to the building. Motion sensor lights in less traveled areas deter possible threats to the building. They help defray the costs of having to constantly run outside lighting, and they can also light the way for any security cameras around the perimeter of the building.

How are electronics used to secure a building?

Security cameras and alarm systems are also very important to a building's security. Cameras placed high with wide angles and a clear view of all areas of possible access to the building and the parking area are great for helping keep crime down. Alarm systems that trigger when an unauthorized door is opened, or a secure area is entered help to keep the building secure.

How is landscaping used to secure a building?

The last thing to look for when securing a building is landscaping. You can make the outside of a building beautiful while keeping it safe from intruders. Do not put too many large bushes or shrubs near the building, or near less traveled areas. Make sure the security guards and cameras have a clear line of sight to the building entrances and to all points of the property. Adding locked fences and gates around your storage areas and less traveled areas help to discourage someone from trying to enter the building.

What is an X-ray machine?

An X-ray machine is a type of scanner that uses X-rays instead of light to take pictures of people or objects. An X-ray is an electromagnetic wave that can penetrate items more deeply than normal light, allowing for deeper views of an item. X-ray machines are commonly used to look for broken bones, tumors, and other health problems that cannot be seen with the normal eye. They are also used at airports, government buildings, and other high security areas to look for people carrying illegal items or firearms. There are arguments that too much exposure to X-rays can cause long term health issues, but occasional scans and short term exposures are generally considered to be safe. People who work with X-ray machines are required to take safety measures to safeguard their health from long term exposure to the electromagnetic waves.

How do full body scanners work?

A full body scanner is able to find items that might be missed on an X-ray. These machines are quite expensive, and raise privacy issues for those being scanned. To help protect people's privacy, the scans are usually monitored by technicians in private areas, and they have strict rules about how they may be used. They are slower than other scanners, so technology is still being developed to help make them cheaper, faster, and less intrusive on a person's privacy. The two types of scanners are "millimeter wave" and "backscatter" machines. These machines cannot find items in artificial limbs, or some clothing items, since these items do not give off the same amounts of radiation that the human body does.

What is a backscatter machine?

A backscatter machine is a full body scanner that makes use of x-ray technology, but instead of directly scanning a person, it detects the radiation given off by an object and uses those rays to form a two-dimensional image. This is considered less dangerous than x-ray machines. The backscatter machine consists of two imaging screens in between which the person or item to be scanned is placed. The scan is conducted and the image sent to a separate screen for the technician to examine. These types of scanners are not only used in public areas, but can also be used to scan containers and vehicles to look for hidden items and weapons. This machine can take up to 20 seconds for each scan.

What is a millimeter wave machine?

A millimeter wave machine uses radio waves to do a scan. The person stands in a circular chamber, and radio waves are bounced off them, creating a three dimensional image of the person. It has the most detail of the two scanners, showing all the body contours, so if something is hidden against the body, it will be shown. There is a zoom option on the machine, allowing the technician to get a closer look at an area if needed. This detailed image has caused many arguments over the right to privacy, even though the software is made to blur the person's face, and technician running the scanner is not supposed to see the people they are scanning. This scanner type is slower than the backscatter machine, as it takes about 40 seconds to do a scan. The zoom function will slow it down even further.

What is a metal detector?

A metal detector is a device that can detect metal and some other conductive materials. Depending on the strength of a metal detector, they can be used to detect metal deep in the ground, and some can even tell the kind of metal they are detecting and its exact location. Metal detectors emit magnetic fields that interact with metals and items that can conduct electricity, and cause the items to emit a magnetic field. Because each type of metal has a special signature magnetic field, more advanced detectors are tuned to read that information. This technology is used widely in airports and government facilities to find metal objects such as guns or knives hidden on a person or within an object.
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