Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear

‘CBRN’ is the abbreviation commonly used to describe the malicious use of Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear materials, or weapons with the intention to cause significant harm or disruption (Source: CPNI)

The threats associated with CBRN materials vary but centre around such materials being used to threaten life. This could be due to health effects caused as a result of exposure to harmful substances. The threat of a mixture of CBRN materials being utilised to create explosive materials, causing threat-to-life should also be considered.

There are two main stages to consider when dealing with this type of threat – mitigation and response.

Physical security products can assist with the mitigation of CBRN threats through building hardening and internal asset protection. Securing zones, substances or working areas prevents the possibility of contamination, theft, and targeted terrorist activity.

Unlike many other physical security deployments, measures used to mitigate CBRN threats are normally discreet, to avoid visual signposting or, the creation of a fortress within normal everyday environments.

Reducing the threat from CBRN incidents includes mitigating major accidents, and threats from a natural or intentional origin, including terrorist activities.

Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Threat Mitigation

How can you successfully mitigate against CBRN threats which occur either as a result of accidental, natural or intentional origins? 

As is customary when assessing any form of threat, firstly the likelihood of such an incident needs to be ascertained. If such a threat is likely to your organisation, the cause needs to be assessed. Is the threat mainly from an accidental origin or, is there also an element of threat from intentional attackers? What might the attackers motivations be? Are the potential perpetrators frustrated, lone wolf criminals or, sophisticated, funded organisations?

The answer to these questions can help shape your planned mitigation and defence.  The following areas of your site or asset need to be considered, whatever the origin of the threat:

Does your site facilitate access to systems which service wide areas of a population?

If you take the water industry as an example, the water source and processing plant needs to be protected against the possibility of contamination. The process of supplying the service needs to be evaluated and any vulnerabilities addressed to implement appropriate measures, preventing any contaminates reaching this environment. This is just one example of a range of services which are provided to entire areas.

Does your site store or handle hazardous substances?

If your site utilises any toxic, hazardous or radioactive substances, care must be taken in storage, distribution and use. Substances may be a target for criminal or terrorist organisations. Equally, they are a target for major accidental impacts.

Secure storage facilities must be considered where appropriate. Utilising zones may also help to mitigate impacts of hazardous substances to a surrounding area.

Tiger trap systems can be implemented for the secure storage and handling of substances where required.

Internal systems which can be compromised such as HVAC systems must have access secured and the ability to shut systems down should an alert be raised.

Finally, the prevention of substances being stolen to be used as explosive or hazardous material within criminal or terrorist activity must also be considered.

What is Meant by Third Party Accreditation? 

When procuring solutions to mitigate CBRN threats, these solutions must be ‘third-party’ accredited.

When investing in security equipment to protect against such a serious threat with far reaching consequences, it is vital that the equipment has been placed through a thorough, testing regime to certify solutions ‘fit-for-purpose’.

Once site/asset vulnerabilities have been identified and the types of proportionate threat have been outlined, you should have a better understanding of the mitigation measures required.

If you are protecting chemical stores from low-grade criminality, measures procured need to be proportionate to the type of attack which your storage facility may be subjected to. The same applies if you have identified that the type of attack you may face is from sophisticated, organised criminality or terrorism organisations. Measures need to be put into place that will mitigate and deter the types of attack, tools and mentality the perpetrator/s may have.

The Loss Prevention and Certification Board’s force test standard – LPS 1175 mimics a wide range of testing and attacking procedures using varying tool sets, time allowances and types of attacker (single or multiple). This provides the peace of mind required when investing in security equipment that product chosen can withstand attacks simulated to mimic a certain threat profile.

To read more about the LPS 1175 standard – Click here. 

 

 

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