Properly Protect Your Plant's Perimeter

Advances in security technology ease the task and make good business sense.

By Ryan Loughin, ADT Advanced Integration

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Alarm triggering can prompt automated incident-response workflows, ensuring a site's policies and procedures guide operator actions. This results in a more reliable and consistent security response and resolution that can be tracked and documented.

A PSIM system is useful in integrating technologies within a particular facility and across multiple facilities within a company to make certain each location complies with federal regulations and corporate standards.

Today more than ever before, cost-effective security technologies are available for industrial use. Ultimately, a site must choose the technologies that best suit its specific needs, comply with applicable federal and corporate regulations, and promote business goals.

The first step in creating a robust and integrated security solution is to evaluate your site's particular needs and risks. It's important to work with an integrator with full SAFETY Act certification from DHS (, as this level of know-how can help chemical facilities implement anti-terrorism technologies to protect people and property, while also providing important liability protections in the event of a qualified act of terrorism at the facility.

 The assessment should involve:

1. Determining if any security regulations such as MTSA and CFATS affect your facility. In addition, a site covered by CFATS must understand the effect of its tier level: CFATS categorizes a high-risk site into one of four tiers — Tier 1 applies to facilities with the highest risk and requires the most stringent measures.

2. Understanding corporate security mandates and incorporating them into your overall strategy. Even if your company hasn't issued directives, it's a good idea to ask if standards or specific plans are in the works.

3. Including all critical assets in your plan. For example, control systems and COI can be considered assets but so can a section of a plant or even the entire plant itself.

4. Knowing your audience. The officials ultimately responsible for approving (or denying) a facility's security plan have not seen (and likely never will see) the site. In other words, the "boots on the ground" inspectors observe, report, assess and validate but don't make the actual approval/denial decision. Therefore, it's essential that a facility provides detailed descriptions, diagrams and photos to "paint a picture" of its security posture and environment.

More tips and information about complying with specific regulations are available at in downloadable chemical security whitepapers.

RYAN LOUGHIN is director of petrochemical & energy solutions for ADT Advanced Integration, Warwick, Pa. E-mail him at

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