Security is a continually evolving challenge for entities in both the commercial and government sectors, and dynamic defense plans have become more important than ever. This is especially true for high-threat properties and facilities like airports, prisons and industrial parks. In a multi-faceted effort to protect people and assets, perimeter security is one of the most critical aspects of mitigating risks for these types of locations. Here, we’re providing some valuable tips on addressing the unique perimeter security challenges of airports, prisons and industrial parks.
Examining the Specific Security Challenges
What makes an airport such a difficult property to safeguard? What specialized care must be taken to ensure tight security at a prison or correctional facility? Why are industrial parks such high-risk targets for security threats? These are the questions that must be answered before designing a perimeter security approach that meets the needs of any of these entities.
Generally speaking, the size of an airport property is rather expansive. Across such a large scope of land, security must take into consideration a few different types of traffic: aviatic, vehicular and pedestrian. From passengers, flight crews and airport staff to traveling aircrafts and motor vehicles, there’s no shortage of moving parts to manage in terms of on-site security. It’s necessary to establish a strong airfield perimeter, mitigate the risks of accidents and thwart security breaches, particularly at the various access points.
Prisons and correctional facilities are rife with dangers posed within and outside the perimeter. Security must focus on preventing escapes and deterring the exchange of contraband. Again, these are generally large-scale properties to protect and secure, and in many cases, they require double rows of fencing to establish a strong perimeter. There’s also the aspect of regulatory compliance to consider in these efforts.
This is another area where both vehicular and pedestrian traffic is a concern. Industrial parks can span large swaths of property and usually encompass a number of different buildings and lots, each with their own people and assets to protect. From theft and vandalism to more serious sabotage or industrial espionage, an industrial park’s security threats are no less evident than those of an airport or prison. Perimeter security is an essential factor in this type of property’s overall planning and implementation.
Taking a “Layered Protection” Approach
To shed greater light on how to approach perimeter security for these types of high-threat properties, let’s take a look at how the Guidance for Airport Perimeter Security published by the National Safe Skies Alliance (otherwise known as Safe Skies) sets the stage for this kind of complex endeavor. While the guidance set forth by this publication is designed specifically for airports, a great deal of the information can also be applied to prisons and industrial parks.
“The primary vulnerabilities of most airport perimeters include the large geographic extent of the perimeter and, in some cases, periodically isolated areas along the perimeter with limited human traffic. To combat these vulnerabilities, a layered protection strategy is recommended. This strategy incorporates people, processes, and technology to decrease security risk through deterrence, detection, denial, delay, defense, and defeat tactics,” explains the Safe Skies report.
“Layered protection, also referred to as ‘rings of protection,’ is the concept that multiple independent layers of protection are better than a single protection mechanism. Though not unique to aviation, the concept can be tailored to an airport environment. The layers may be technological, procedural, and/or policy-based, and can be considered as concentric rings of protective measures surrounding an asset. The idea is that if one protective measure is avoided or defeated, additional measures will still be in effect.”
This layered protection approach is the key to a comprehensive security plan for any airport, prison or industrial park, as their threats are complex and varied, requiring so much more than a singular security effort. Perimeter security fencing, including access gates, surveillance capabilities and other associated controls, is integral to ensuring robust rings of protection. In fact, it’s often the first line of defense against ongoing security risks.
Meeting High Standards for Perimeter Fencing
Given the critical role fencing plays in supporting effective perimeter security, it’s important to opt for fence products, designs and installations that meet high standards. Chain link, mesh panel, steel palisade and even concrete fencing solutions are some of the most popular and widely leveraged options for airports, prisons and industrial parks. Here are some additional fencing design considerations to keep in mind:
- Height specifications based on industry regulations or standard guidance, as well as individual property needs
- Addition of barbed or razor wire with sufficient angling and spacing to meet requirements
- Double rows of fencing where applicable and necessary
- Aesthetic factors that impact choice of security fencing materials or options when possible
- Proper spacing of fence posts
- Twisted and/or barbed finishes at top and bottom selvages
- Minimal gapping between bottom of fencing and ground level
- Possible need for ground shock-resistant embankment structures
- Site grading concerns that necessitate efforts to deal with unevenness or sloping, as well stability of soil conditions
- Grounding efforts and avoidance of metallic fencing where it may interfere with the operation of navigation aids
- Entry and egress points, including gates and controls systems to authorize and deny access
- Necessary distance from interior structures
- Opportunities for anti-cut and anti-climb materials or assurances
- Local site conditions, including aspects like wind and geotechnical influences
- Traffic patterns and visibility concerns
- Lighting and surveillance requirements
- Local permitting details
These comprise just a selection of issues and considerations that make the design and installation of perimeter security fencing a complex undertaking. It is also of utmost importance to ensure an installation process that is smooth and safe, taking into account all of the needs of the airport, prison or industrial park in question. Therefore, one of the biggest takeaways here is to partner with a professional company experienced in a variety of installation procedures and construction methods for high-security properties.
Securing the perimeter of an airport, prison or industrial park is a serious matter, just as your choice of partnership should be. With the right one, you garner the advantage of expert recommendations on specific system applications, site grading concerns, creative solutions and the best methods to employ based on an evaluation of site-specific details. There’s also the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job will be handled in accordance with proper standards for job site hazard analysis, safety training, equipment certifications, preventative maintenance and OSHA compliance.
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