Recent posts

Protecting buildings from blasts: How to integrate protective objectives and security layers through good design

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In our previous blog, “Anatomy of a blast: How explosions harm buildings and people”, we took a close look at the physical properties of explosions and how they actually cause damage to structures and the people within and around them. As we saw, the various methods of explosive attacks can present a serious threat to the wellbeing of personnel and critical assets.

In this blog, we examine some of the principles of physical protection relative to preventing bomb attacks and to mitigating their harmful effects through design.

Of course, buildings and people can be at risk from many other threats than explosions–not least burglaries and ballistic attacks–but that’s the stuff of future blogs!

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The anatomy of a blast: How explosions harm buildings and people

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As physical protection experts, one of our main concerns is explosive attacks. Bombs and explosive devices have proven to be particularly destructive and dangerous to both people and structures. As we pointed out in our blog about attacks on embassies, explosive devices have become the go-to tool for those who would do harm to a building and its inhabitants. But why is that the case? Why are explosions so impactful, and what threat do they represent?

In this blog, we’ll first take a look at blasts, starting with the chemical reactions and physical processes that determine their strength. We’ll then examine the threats they represent, including methods of attack, and their damage and injury mechanisms for buildings and people.

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Five of the most iconic secure buildings in the world

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Once you start getting interested in secure buildings, you really can’t stop looking at what separates great buildings from the less great.

At one level, of course, physical security is all about creating an acceptable balance between the protective properties of a building’s perimeter, shell and cells. We’re sure you’ll notice these three key parameters in the descriptions below.

But when we started looking at which secure buildings are most iconic, other dimensions soon also proved themselves to be relevant. One example of this is the value and importance of what the building protects. Another is the cultural or symbolic significance of the building itself. A third is what the building protects against.

Our list is by no means exhaustive, but we think it’s a great start at describing some buildings that are iconic as they are secure. Feel free to make comments – and add to our list. 

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7 ways to combat terrorism through better physical security in Scandinavia

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Driven by the ever-changing threat levels over the last 15-20 years, Scandinavians – along with the rest of the world – have become accustomed to a broad range of security measures that previous generations could hardly imagine.

Air travellers now customarily remove their shoes, empty their pockets and water bottles – and even undergo full-body scans prior to boarding their flights. Sports fans are routinely scanned before they are allowed entrance to stadiums. And massive surveillance programs looking for potential or emerging threats scrutinize practically everything you do online, on telephones and on city streets.

The physical protection of buildings – and thus of the people within them – has, however, not reached the same level in Scandinavia as it has it countries such as the US and UK.

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Physical security and the 14 February terrorist attacks in Copenhagen

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Copenhagen was shaken on 14 February 2015 when presumed perpetrator Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein (“presumed” because he was killed in a shootout before he could be questioned or tried) attacked two separate locations: Krudttønden, a cultural center in the Østerbro area where the Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks participated in a public debate, and the Jewish synagogue in the city center where a Bar Mitzvah celebration was taking place. Two persons were shot to death and four others were wounded.

In this blog, we take a look at the attacks from the point of view of physical security experts – a perspective which, in our opinion, has been strangely lacking from the many debates and inquiries since the attacks.

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Physical Security and the 7th of January Terrorist Attacks in Paris

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Between January 7th and January 9th 2015, Paris and the Île-de-France region suffered five terrorist attacks. 17 people were killed (the three perpetrators included) and 22 others were wounded.

The first—and deadliest—of those attacks occurred on the 7th of January, when two gunmen (identified as belonging to Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch) assaulted the headquarters of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The attack was motivated by Charlie Hebdo’s satirical drawings and caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

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6 attacks that redefined embassy security

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Highly symbolic of the nations they represent, embassies are more than diplomatic missions: they are also targets of choice for anyone who has a grudge – peaceful or otherwise – with countries flying their flags abroad. Six attacks in particular have redefined embassy security around the world. Read the post

5 myths about physical security and buildings, and the realities you need to know

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Even though we all agree that the threats on physical security have changed with technology, we don’t all concur on what we can or should do about it. In fact, many misconceptions about physical protection of buildings continue to abound.

As people who work in the business, we run into a number of misunderstandings every day. Let’s take a closer look at the top five myths about physical security and buildings, and the realities that you need to know.

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Welcome to our new blog: It’s all about physical protection

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Take a look around, and you’ll quickly discover that in one sense, we humans are not that different from many other creatures. Birds have their nests. Bears have their dens. Humans have their buildings. Like all animals, our sense of physical security is deeply connected to how we protect ourselves. Not just from the elements, but from predators, thieves and intruders of all kinds.

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