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.

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.

REGULATORY ADVISORY: Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) Facility Access Control Discrepancy on the Rise

On May 4 the Coast Guard Office of Port & Facility Compliance released its 2016 Year in Review.

In 2016, the Coast Guard completed 6,002 MTSA annual and spot check examination activities. About a third of the enforcement actions are related to access control—a category that has doubled in two years.

Per Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 105.255, the facility owner or operator must ensure the implementation of security measures to:

(1) Deter the unauthorized introduction of dangerous substances and devices, including any device intended to damage or destroy persons, vessels, facilities, or ports;

(2) Secure dangerous substances and devices that are authorized by the owner or operator to be on the facility;

(3) Control access to the facility; and

(4) Prevent an unescorted individual from entering an area of the facility that is designated as a secure area unless the individual holds a duly issued TWIC and is authorized to be in the area.

For assistance with MTSA compliance, please contact Meridian.us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

Terrorists May Be Evolving in Their Tactics, But So Are We

The bustling Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, handles more than 500 flights a day, bringing more than 27,000 passengers into the facility with approximately the same number departing. Mornings are particularly busy at the airport, and amid the flurry of activity, it is little wonder that on March 22, 2016, three men emerging from a taxi outside of the departures hall passed through unnoticed.

The trio loaded their heavy suitcases onto baggage carts and entered the flow of people heading through the doors toward the ticket desks. Shortly after they entered the departures hall, the three split up to take their places in separate ticket lines.

Three minutes later, one of the men detonated his suitcase bomb, which had been packed with nails, as he stood in one of the check-in lanes. Approximately nine seconds after that, the second man detonated his suitcase bomb in another lane. The third suitcase bomb did not detonate immediately; surveillance camera footage showed that after being thrown to the ground by the second blast, the third man, Mohamed Abrini, simply got up and walked away from the airport toward the city center.

READ MORE at asisonline.org….

Cruise Ship Safety & Security

The cruise industry continues to experience significant growth, with the Cruise Lines International Association projecting that its members will serve 25.3 million passengers in 2017, compared to 17.8 million in 2009.

To meet the increasing demand, the industry is planning to build 97 new ships over the next ten years.

The cruise industry is a heavily regulated industry. All cruise ships are designed and operated in compliance with the strict requirements of the International Maritime Organization, for example, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). They are subject to periodic inspections and surveys by their Flag State and Port State authorities, and classification society.

Over the last three years, the Coast Guard National Response Center annually received approximately 65 incident reports from cruise ship operators. Additionally, the Coast Guard reported that 2015 saw a substantial increase in the number of vessel detention over 2014.  The most common areas of detainable deficiencies include: (1) fire protection systems, (2) firefighting detection, (3) maintenance of ship and equipment, (4) rescue boats, and (5) oily water separating equipment.

Some of these incidents have resulted in significant enforcement action. Notably, on December 1, 2016, a major cruise line pleaded guilty to seven felony charges stemming from its deliberate pollution of the seas and intentional acts to cover it up. The company has agreed to pay a $40 million penalty and be will be under a court supervised Environmental Compliance Program for five years.

In promoting safety, security and environmental protection, Meridian.us offers the following scalable, cost-effective services for the cruise industry:

  • Safety and Environmental Management Systems Assessment and Improvement
  • Pre-Port State Control Examination Assessment
  • SOLAS Compliance Verification
    • International Safety Management Code Compliance
      • Management review
      • Internal audits
      • Incident investigation
    • International Ship and Port Facility Security Code
      • Ship Security Assessment
      • Ship Security Plan Development and Maintenance
      • Cruise Terminal Security Assessment
      • Cruise Terminal Security Plan Development and Maintenance
      • Training, Drills, and Exercises
  • MARPOL Compliance Verification
    • Oil Record Book
    • Ballast Water Management
    • Waste Stream Management
  • Port Captain Assistance
  • Emergency/Spill management Team Services
  • Environmental Compliance Plan Audits

For additional information on our services, please contact Meridian.us at (251) 345-6776 or info@meridian.us.

Somali Pirates Hijack Commercial Ship for First Time Since 2012

Somali pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia for the first time since 2012, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The Aris 13, which was manned by eight Sri Lankan sailors, was overtaken on Monday by the band of more than two dozen Somalis in two skiffs.

The company connected to the ship is being close-lipped about how they are dealing with the situation.

From the AP:

An address listed for Flair Shipping in Dubai’s high-rise neighborhood of Jumeirah Lake Towers was for a company called Flair Oil Trading DMCC. A woman who answered the door Tuesday told an AP reporter the firm wasn’t connected to the ship and directed him to another office.

When no one answered the door at that office, the AP reporter returned to find Karagiannis entering the office of Flair Oil Trading DMCC.

“We will not be releasing any information,” Karagiannis said before shutting the door.

Since being hijacked, the ship has been anchored off the coast of Alula, Somalia, where the contents and crew of the tanker will likely be ransomed.

Because of the five year hiatus in piracy off the Somali coast one of the issues law enforcement may run into is how well the response infrastructure has held up.

Negotiators, shoreside security, and money drops have been on a half-decade long vacation and we will see which tactics, techniques, and procedures are used to mitigate the crisis.

Through our nearly 8-year history, Meridian.us has successfully guarded hundreds of voyages, using our risk mitigation and deescalation techniques to prevent 100% of our serviced ships from being boarded.

Through our vessel security service, Meridian.us will provides an armed security team aboard your vessel while transiting High Risk Waters (HRW). In full compliance with ITAR, equipment will be loaded onto your vessel in a port that is outside of HRW. The Meridian personnel will meet the vessel at a time and place of the vessel’s choosing in order to transit HRW.

While onboard the Meridian Personnel will ensure that the ship is secure and in compliance with Best Management Practices 4 (BMP4). Our personnel have been trained in implementing BMP4 and will work towards ensuring that BMP4 is properly implemented, allowing the crew to continue with their jobs. Meridian personnel advise the master of areas of High Risk and recent pirate activity. In addition, our personnel are available for anti-piracy crew training and will conduct crew drills prior to transiting HRW. Once onboard, our team provides 24-hour security, keeping crew costs low and unburdened with additional watch.

To learn more about our Vessel Security program, click here.

With the reemergence of piracy off the coast of Somalia and the continued threat in several other High Risk Waters, it is more important than ever to make sure your crew and cargo are kept secure.

Contact Meridian.us today to discuss how we can help you navigate through a variety of risks.