Chemical facilities face a variety of potential risks such as explosive devices, cyber intrusions, pandemics, accidents, and other hazards. However, more typical day-to-day security risks include instances of theft, vandalism, and workplace violence. Recognizing this, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) developed a tabletop exercise that enacts an active shooter scenario to educate and prepare chemical owners and operators for such circumstances. The effort was conceived of and funded by the Chemical Sector-Specific Agency (Chemical SSA) at DHS.
Nexight Group President Jack Eisenhauer facilitated a “mini tabletop” exercise involving an active shooter at the 2010 Chemical Sector Security Summit. Mr. Eisenhauer teamed up with James McGinty, Vice President of Training and Development at Covenant Security, to present the exercise and encourage chemical security personnel to consider hosting a full-day chemical security workshop and exercise in their state. About 40 participants spent the one-hour session in interactive discussions about how best to prepare and plan, evacuate facilities, communicate with employees, work with local law enforcement, and handle the media. Participants were provided with copies of DHS’s Chemical Facility Security: Best Practices Guide for an Active Shooter Incident.
The active shooter scenario, which involves a lone gunman within a small- to mid-size chemical facility, has been particularly popular among chemical companies. So far, the active shooter exercise has been conducted in partnership with state chemical industry councils in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, California, and Louisiana. Additional exercises are scheduled for Missouri, Ohio, and New York. For more information on the Chemical SSA tabletop exercises, contact ChemicalSector@dhs.gov.