Do You Have a BZPP?

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been authorized to fund security studies of selected infrastructure and plant operations in areas it has deemed high-risk. DHS has allocated approximately $48 million--$6.9 million in Texas alone--for the creation of Buffer Zone Protection Plans (BZPPs) that address the security of pre-designated Tier 1 and Tier 2 critical infrastructure and assets, including chemical facilities, financial institutions, nuclear and electric power plants, dams, stadiums, and other high-risk, high-consequence facilities and the communities around them.

BZPPs identify security vulnerabilities, recommend ways to fill those gaps, and develop an overall emergency/threat response plan, according to Sgt. Michael Macha (Ret.), of the City of Houston Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. BZPP grants are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency though the State Administrative Agencies. The SAAs work with the state homeland security advisor and state and local agencies to disperse funds.

Speaking at the recent 2010 Industrial Fire, Safety & Security Expo in Houston, Macha said participation is voluntary, although he recommended it. "Eighty-five percent of U.S. critical is owned by the private sector," he said. Coordination between public safety and private security can be much more efficient if information and plans are in place. The Houston-Galveston area, with its port and high concentration of refineries and chemical plants, is among the DHS pre-identified areas deemed eligible for BZPP grants.

From a strategic perspective, BZPP can aid security executives a method of measuring security costs against the potential risk factors they would mitigate. Basically, BZPPs provide

* Knowledge as to the specific critical assets at a facility;
* Knowledge of the critical paths to failure;
* Knowledge about the presence and nature of hazardous materials and the consequences of their release into the environment;
* Access to pre-incident action plans;
* A total risk profile.

"It tells us, 'this is what we have, this is what we need, and this is how we fill in the gaps,'" said Macha. Once a plan is formulated, it offers options that CSOs can present to management, as well as potential cost benefits. For example, BZPPs can be used in certification processes, which in turn could lead to a reduction in insurance costs, he said.

On a technical level, BZPPs show where security equipment, suchttp://www.securitysquared.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=1h as video cameras, should be deployed for greatest effectiveness. BZPPs, for example, will identify the perimeter points where a potential target can be best observed. "Where are the best places for people to watch you? Then you know where to put cameras to watch those people," Macha said.

Once formulated, BZPP plans are classified, accessible only to officials with clearance for Chemical Vulnerability Information (CVI), Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII), Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) For Official Use Only (FOUO) documents, Macha said.

More information on BZPPs can be found here. Information about SAAs can be found here.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been authorized to fund security studies of selected infrastructure and plant operations in areas it has deemed high-risk. DHS has allocated approximately $48 million--$6.9 million in Texas alone--for the creation of Buffer Zone Protection Plans (BZPPs) that address the security of pre-designated Tier 1 and Tier 2 critical infrastructure and assets, including chemical facilities, financial institutions, nuclear and electric power plants, dams, stadiums, and other high-risk, high-consequence facilities and the communities around them.

BZPPs identify security vulnerabilities, recommend ways to fill those gaps, and develop an overall emergency/threat response plan, according to Sgt. Michael Macha (Ret.), of the City of Houston Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. BZPP grants are administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency though the State Administrative Agencies. The SAAs work with the state homeland security advisor and state and local agencies to disperse funds.

Speaking at the recent 2010 Industrial Fire, Safety & Security Expo in Houston, Macha said participation is voluntary, although he recommended it. "Eighty-five percent of U.S. critical is owned by the private sector," he said. Coordination between public safety and private security can be much more efficient if information and plans are in place. The Houston-Galveston area, with its port and high concentration of refineries and chemical plants, is among the DHS pre-identified areas deemed eligible for BZPP grants.

From a strategic perspective, BZPP can aid security executives a method of measuring security costs against the potential risk factors they would mitigate. Basically, BZPPs provide

* Knowledge as to the specific critical assets at a facility;
* Knowledge of the critical paths to failure;
* Knowledge about the presence and nature of hazardous materials and the consequences of their release into the environment;
* Access to pre-incident action plans;
* A total risk profile.

"It tells us, 'this is what we have, this is what we need, and this is how we fill in the gaps,'" said Macha. Once a plan is formulated, it offers options that CSOs can present to management, as well as potential cost benefits. For example, BZPPs can be used in certification processes, which in turn could lead to a reduction in insurance costs, he said.

On a technical level, BZPPs show where security equipment, suchttp://www.securitysquared.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=1h as video cameras, should be deployed for greatest effectiveness. BZPPs, for example, will identify the perimeter points where a potential target can be best observed. "Where are the best places for people to watch you? Then you know where to put cameras to watch those people," Macha said.

Once formulated, BZPP plans are classified, accessible only to officials with clearance for Chemical Vulnerability Information (CVI), Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII), Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) For Official Use Only (FOUO) documents, Macha said.

More information on BZPPs can be found here. Information about SAAs can be found here.

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