Helping your company ‘Walk the Walk’ in response readiness

As a management consulting firm, Meridian assists our clients’ compliance with safety, environmental and quality management system standards. For example, we recently conducted an external review to verify that an organization’s internal quality system is based on ISO 9001:2015. Similarly, in enhancing our clients’ contingency preparedness, our Response Services Division provides Incident Command System (ICS) training and facilitates drills and exercises.  

In “Walking the Walk,” Meridian uses ISO 9001 and ICS processes and tools in managing our tactical operations.  Potential tactical operations, which Meridian may be asked to provide, include:

  • Armed Vessel Security
  • Direct Asset Response Team
  • Event Management
  • Executive Protection
  • Fixed Site Security
  • Oil / Hazardous Material Spill Response
  • Route/Convoy Security

The ISO-ICS integrated process starts with Meridian’s standard operating procedures and policies, which creates our framework. From there, Meridian has ensured its personnel have the required training and experience for the position they are assigned to. This includes becoming familiar with the Meridian Incident Management Handbook (MIMH), as well as completing our position-specific qualification requirements.

There are numerous moving parts when it comes to managing tactical operations. There is a constant flow of information. To ensure our readiness to respond, Meridian proactively developed Incident Action Plan (IAP) templates for various types of tactical operations. These templates incorporate lessons learned and best practices.  They serve as a 70% solution, which enables Meridian to respond to the needs of a client quickly and effectively.

From the moment a client requests our services, Meridian begins updating the appropriate template with the client’s specific information.  We assess and track the current situation.  We document the client’s objectives and priorities.  We identify resources and develop assignments.

By using ICS processes and tools, Meridian can make a seamless transition from managing routine activities to supporting crisis management while  easily assimilating into the client’s response management organization.

By having things well-organized and documented, it ensures continuity of operation.  Meridian upper management can quickly step in and effectively and efficiently complete the operation if an emergency arises and the project manager is unavailable.

Once an operation is complete, Meridian electronically archives the IAPs, so they can be referenced at a later point in time if needed. We update our IAP template.  This procedure is not only ISO compliant, but it also allows us to reference the documents as needed.  

Meridian Operational Planning Cycle for Managing Tactical Operations

 

The Importance of ISO accreditation and Quality Management Systems

As an ISO-accredited and ICS-based organization, Meridian takes great pride in providing scalable, cost-effective solutions for our clients.

Using these rigorous systems, Meridian is able to set the standard for accountability in five ways:

Quality Assurance

Because Meridian has taken the time and effort to undergo the process of complying with ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 28007:2015 standards, our clients are confident that we will meet their high expectations even before our first day on the job.    

Quick and Accurate Decision Making

When minutes matter, our clients don’t have hours to respond. Having high quality management systems in place means Meridian will be able to make high quality decisions quickly and accurately.

High Efficiency

Because Meridian has these processes in place, every member of our leadership team knows how to step in and take action. A certified ISO 9001 quality management system ensures there are clear processes and communication structures in place throughout our entire organization.

Culture of Continual Improvement

One of the central tenets of ISO is fostering a culture of continual improvement. Simply put, we are not satisfied with the status quo and are constantly seeking ways to further expand our capabilities and hone our existing skill sets.

Ability to Partner with Other Organizations

Because ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 28007:2015 standards are universally accepted and respected, they provide a high measure of continuity and compatibility with other organizations and companies. Additionally, our strategic use of the Incident Command System (ICS) tools and processes enables us to provide integrated services that optimally support our clients’ contingency preparedness and response management.

As we roll out additional products and services, we look forward to assisting your organization’s effort to promote safety, security, and environmental stewardship.

How to Protect Yourself in a Crowd in an Active Shooter Situation

Gunfire raining down on fellow concertgoers may be one of my worst nightmares. Knowledge of how deadly attacks on contained crowds can be is part of the reason I have trouble attending concerts, sporting events or other places where large groups of people are confined to a relatively small area.

What do you do in those situations when shots start ringing? Find Cover. If no cover is available, find Concealment. Cover is anything that physically protects you from enemy fire. The best cover is sand or dirt. Something that gives a little to slow a bullet.  Active shooter horrorists often use AR-15 rifles, which can’t shoot through 18″ of sand, but can shoot through most 1/2″ of plates of steel.

Therefore, an AR15 can go through telephone poles, mailboxes, cars (generally minus the engine block), speaker boxes at a concert, and most other fixtures at a concert venue. Ideally, you would look for microterrain, such as berms, retaining walls, or hills. If the concert is outside, see if there is a small depression or crevice in the ground that would allow you to better cover your body or vital organs.

Given that there isn’t much cover in a concert environment, especially from a shooter at a high angle, the next thing you should seek is concealment. According to initial reports and footage, the shooter at the Jason Aldean concert was using an automatic weapon. With such firearms there is relatively no ability to engage a point target, especially over distance. Therefore, he was aiming at masses of people. Being able to conceal your location behind a sign, a banner, or anything that obstructs the shooters view is better than being out in the open.

Quick, careful listening to determine the type of weapon and the direction of fire can help you make a lifesaving decision of what sort of cover or concealment you should take.

In closing, I echo the sentiments of the nation. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this horrific attack. Just as the Boston Strong united a wonderful city, let’s pray this nation takes initiative in routing out hate of all kinds.

Hurricane Irma Preparation

Hurricane Irma is now a Category 5, which has sustained wind speeds greater than 136 knots (157 mph; 252 km/h).  The latest storm track reveals that it is forecast to reach the Straits of Florida by 1am CDT on Sunday (September 10).  The National Hurricane Center has told Americans along hurricane-prone parts of the coast to get an evacuation plan in place.

In developing an evacuation plan, the following should be considered:

  • How are you getting to the evacuation hotel?
  • Do they accept pets?
  • Who else can reach you in case your cell phone dies?
  • How are you going to pay for expenses?
  • What are you going to take with you?
  • How will you secure your home?
  •  Without power, you are going to be consuming more water, therefore, it is recommended to have 100 ounces of clean water per person per day with regards to planning.
  •  Non-perishable food is the best to purchase
  • Once the power goes out, a freezer can last 72-96 hours if it is not opened before the food spoils.  Once it is opened, eat or dispose of everything in it in a timely manner.

For port users, please check with your local Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) for status of Port Condition (PORTCON).  For example, COTP Key West has ordered PORTCON WHISKEY to be set at 8:00 PM, September 5 for the COTP Zone Key West, FL.  Some actions, which waterfront facilities, should take include:

  • Remove all debris and secure potential flying hazards.
  • Take due diligence to prepare for potential storm impacts.

Meridian can also provide Incident Management Support and Direct Asset Response Teams:

 

  • Incident Commanders
  • Incident Command System Specialists
  • Staging Area Management

 

Meridian.us can rapidly deploy highly-trained, disciplined, self-sustaining, multi-faceted, and dedicated unit of private security specialists for security, medical and or recovery services.

Meridian.us can assist with hurricane preparation, response and recovery.  For more information, please contact Jason Wilbur at (337) 515-5833 or jwilbur@meridian.us.

Is Your Company Doing Enough to Deter Pirates in High Risk Waters?

Earlier this month a court in Mumbai, India, sentenced a group of 15 pirates to 6 months in prison, plus time served.

In January 2011 25 Somali nationals attempted to board a merchant ship 1,400 nautical miles off the coast of their nation. The crew of the ship sent an emergency distress signal to the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, which responded quickly. The ensuing firefight killed 10 of the 25 pirates. The remaining 15 have been incarcerated in India for the last six-and-a-half years.

“The offenders have been given a lesson that in India there is rule of law and that the offenders are brought to justice,” said special public prosecutor Ranjeet Sangle. “From 2011, since the pirates were arrested, the entire piracy operation in the western waters of India has come down . . .  now, I believe that it will go down to zero.”

Unfortunately for merchant ships, the prospect of seven years in prison isn’t much of a deterrent, especially given the large potential payoff pirates receive when they are successful. 

But the firefight, resulting capture, and eventual conviction of these pirates should send a very important message to those who sail through high risk waters (HRWs):

A trained and armed presence on or near your ship can protect you and your crew from dangerous pirates.

Over the last several years pirates in HRWs have kidnapped crew to hold them for ransom, stolen highly valuable cargo, and even ended the lives of those on board the ships they attack.

But since 2009 Meridian.us has guarded hundreds of voyages, and has successfully defended ships from pirate attacks and suspicious approaches—all without needing to fire a shot.

If your shipping company is ready to take the security of its crew and cargo to the next level, we’re here to help.

Meridian is uniquely qualified to provide security, safety, and environmental services to the maritime community. For additional information, please contact us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

Providing the world’s most trusted and reliable risk mitigation service to the maritime community

In 2009, Meridian began working as a maritime security company for merchant ships off the coast of Somalia. Since then, Meridian has grown into a full-scale security, safety, and environmental service company. Our vision is “To create the world’s most trusted and reliable risk mitigation service to the maritime community.”

In striving for our vision, we have implemented an integrated management approach to service development and delivery. This involves implementing ISO 9001:2015 standards for quality management and Incident Command System (ICS) tools and processes for mission planning and execution.

An example is how we provide our Direct Asset Response Team (DART) services. The mission of our DART is to provide the requesting client with a highly-trained, disciplined, self-sustaining, multi-faceted, and dedicated unit of private security specialists available on short notice for security, medical and or recovery services.

In meeting ISO 9001:2015 (Section 8.2), we closely collaborated with our clients to determine the requirements for DART services. For example, we staffed our DART(s) with highly qualified personnel, including:

  • Former Military and Law Enforcement Personnel;
  • Medics;
  • HAZMAT Specialists; and
  • Incident Command System Experts.

We recognized that, in most situations, DART(s) will operate within an incident management organization that uses ICS tools and processes. To facilitate DART’s response and seamless integration with the ICS organization, we maintain an initial Incident Action Plan that can be quickly updated for an emerging situation.
Before Tropical Storm Cindy hit the Gulf Coast last week, several companies inquired us about our DART services. We quickly provided them with a copy of our standard operating procedure and our DART(s) were ready to respond as needed.

Meridian is uniquely qualified to provide security, safety, and environmental services to the maritime community. For additional information, please contact us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

Client Satisfaction Update

Meridian.us has protected freedom, industry, and most importantly life for close to 8 years now. Since our establishment in 2009, Meridian has strived to set ourselves apart from the field through professionalism, versatility, and resolve. In order to not just maintain our standard, but also raise it, Meridian puts great importance on client satisfaction. Meridian views our client satisfaction scores as a free evaluation for improvement.

Every suggestion is progress and opportunity.

Meridian has been sending questionnaires to our clients upon completion of operations for years as part of our Business Management System. Meridian’s Client Satisfaction Survey is graded on a 10 point system which deducts points for anything below a “Very Good.” This grade is based on remarks for improvement as well the survey questions.

Meridian has set a goal of 8/10 to be the minimum standard set forth for our Client Satisfaction survey. Over the years, with many different clients, Meridian has an average assessment score of 9.5/10. Meridian not only celebrates our success, but also resets the bar. The company is enthusiastically making progress toward new goals above 9.5.

“As a company we want to be successful,” said Joshua Simonson, VP of Maritime Security. “Success is not just tied to completion of operations, but just as importantly, satisfaction of our clients.”

It is this kind of culture and military professionalism that have propelled Meridian to where it is today, and will be what brings us even more success in the future.

How Meridian.us Can Help You Prepare for Hurricane Season

North America’s hurricane season begins June 1st, bringing with it the threat of torrential winds and rain, loss of life, power outages, and an increased risk of security breaches.

The mission of Meridian.us’s Direct Asset Response Team (DART) is to provide our clients with a highly trained, disciplined, and dedicated unit of private security operators available on short notice for safety and security services. Upon request this unit can be rapidly deployed to address a variety of situations including but not limited to: Site Security, Heightened Security Risks, Personal Security Details, Natural Disasters, and Asset Recovery Operations.

Meridian.us’s DART will assist your company in three phases after a hurricane or other crisis event.

Response Phase

Establish an immediate and controlled security presence at the incident site.
Conduct shelter-in-place procedures if necessary.
Conduct a preliminary assessment of incident impact, known injuries, extent of damage, and disruption to the facility’s services and business operations.
Provide facility management with the facts necessary to make informed decisions regarding subsequent resumption and recovery activity.

Resumption Phase

Establish and organize a facility control center and headquarters for recovery operations.
Provide security for facility support teams necessary to facilitate and support the resumption process.

Recovery Phase

Prepare and implement procedures necessary to facilitate and support the recovery of time-sensitive business operations.
Coordinate with higher headquarters to discern responsibilities that will fall upon the facility’s Business Operations Recovery Teams and Technology Recovery Teams
Assist facility management coordinate with employees, vendors, and other internal and external individuals and organizations.

Meridian Global’s DART operations, utilize teams of highly trained private security operators. Our clients are not simply provided a one dimensional security team. Meridian.us supplies its clients with teams that are multifaceted, with personnel trained in the following areas:

  • Emergency Medical
  • Emergency Management Coordination
  • Incident Command System
  • Hazmat
  • Search and Rescue
  • K9
  • Special Response

Equipment

  • Firearms (Handgun, Carbine, Long Rifle)
  • Body Armor
  • Ammunition
  • Communication Equipment
  • Generators
  • Food Rations
  • Hazmat Equipment
  • Mobile Command Center
  • Tactical Operations Center
  • Watercraft/Maritime Patrol
  • ATVs
  • And more

For assistance with DART operations and preparing your business for hurricane season contact Meridian.us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

WILCO – What’s New from Meridian Global Consulting

WHAT’S NEW
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Meridian Global Consulting’s quarterly Newsletter.

Since our establishment in 2009, Meridian has been known as a high-quality organization that goes the extra mile to meet client expectations. The name “Wilco” reflects our values and commitment to those we serve.

In every edition of our quarterly newsletter, we will strive to provide information that facility and vessel operators can use to ensure operational readiness and regulatory compliance. We welcome any feedback or suggestions for improvement.

Jonathan McConnell
President
Meridian Global Consulting

 

Read the whole newsletter HERE.