Guest Editorial by Greg Hamm, Delta Scientific, VP of Marketing & Sales
On December 19, 2016, the news exploded with information about a vehicle attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed at least 12 and injured more than 50.
Less than a month before, the U.S. State Department had warned about such attacks in public places throughout Europe, saying that extremist groups including the Islamic State and Al Qaeda were planning to focus on such locales during the Holiday Season.
(At least 9 people were killed when a truck deliberately plowed into the crowd at a popular Christmas market in Berlin, Germany. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube)
Indeed, both terrorist groups have called on followers to use trucks in particular to attack crowds. On July 14 (2016), a truck plowed into Bastille Day vacationers in Nice, France, killing 86 people.
Four months later, on November 28, 2016, a car ramming attack and mass stabbing occurred in the United States at 9:52 a.m. EST at Ohio State University’s Watts Hall.
The attacker, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, was shot and killed by the first responding OSU police officer and 13 people were hospitalized for injuries, nine of them struck by the vehicle. Luckily, nobody was killed.
With vehicles used at weapons becoming a popular terrorist strategy, how can security management control traffic at a temporary event with certified crash equipment that can be simply towed away when the occasion is over – from protecting farmers’ market shoppers from an errant vehicle – or a political event from car and truck bombers?
Today, that question can be answered simply – with portable barriers.
‘Begin Traffic Security Installation at 11:45 am… and Have Protection by Lunch’
Moveable self-contained barricades can be towed into position to control vehicle access within 15 minutes to answer the need of organizations that quickly require a temporary barricade system to address a specific threat or secure a facility during special events.
They were created for military checkpoints in Afghanistan and Iraq to provide another level of force protection. Three lengths -12, 16 and 20 feet – have been built over the years.
These mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers carry a M40 rating, stopping 7.5 ton vehicles traveling 40 mph. No excavation or sub-surface preparation is required.
Once towed into position, the portable barricade uses DC-powered hydraulic pumps to unpack and raise and lower itself off its wheels.
There is no hand cranking. Wheels are stored along the sides and the vehicle ramps fold out, completing the implementation. To move the barrier from that spot to another, the procedures are just reversed.
Who in Law Enforcement Uses Mobile, Temporary Barriers?
Today, over 1,000 of the mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers are being utilized throughout the world. Many of the MP5000s are being used in the Middle East to protect US troops from truck bomb attack.
However, it didn’t take long for municipal law enforcement to discover them. Within months of introduction, the Los Angeles Police Department obtained the barriers for a host of duties.
During heighted security threats, the MP5000s can easily be installed to create a safe zone at the outer areas surrounding the Parker Center headquarters.
They are also used for special events, such as Hollywood awards ceremonies including the Academy Awards, major sporting contests, high-profile trials, or in the potential event of riots or natural disasters such as earthquakes to provide extra security where it is needed.
Ordered by the Secret Service and provided through Global Access Control Systems (Pittsburgh), certified crash barriers also protected attendees at both the Republican and Democratic Conventions this past summer in Cleveland and Philadelphia.
The fact that these barriers were ordered well in advance of the tragedy in Nice is indicative of the great foresight and planning that is undertaken by the United States Secret Service.
Portable barriers were also at both political conventions in 2012 in Tampa and Charlotte as well as at the Presidential Inauguration events January 21, 2013, to aid police and military officers in protecting the president, congressional leaders, judges, journalists, other attendees and onlookers.
During the Presidential Inauguration events, not one vehicle got into position to cause harm.
In September of 2015, 18 Delta Scientific 12- and 16-foot mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers helped police and security personnel protect Pope Francis as he traveled to various venues in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
During the Papal visit engagements, which were witnessed by millions, again, not one vehicle got into position to cause harm.
The 12- and 16-foot mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers have also helped police and military officers protect 60 heads of state and other global leaders, over 2,000 journalists, other attendees and onlookers at the Chicago NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Summit.
Ten 12- and 16-foot MP5000 mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers additionally helped the 4,000 police and military officers that protected participants at the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit.
Requests from Law Enforcement for a Smaller Model
Although the original portable barriers were doing what they promised, a more commercial barrier that could also be towed into place by something smaller than a truck was requested.
Light enough to be towed by a golf cart and set up in only 10 minutes, the new DSC1000 portable barrier provided an ASTM crash rating of P40, which means it will stop a 5,000-pound vehicle going 40 mph.
With no foundation or electrical hook-up needed, two people can set up and take down the new DSC1000 barrier in minutes.
The self-contained power system provides all the power necessary to raise and lower the unit onto its trailer and open and close the barrier. This battery-powered system re-charges with a solar panel or external means. Controls can be locked, operated at the barricade, or operated remotely.
Differing from the “hard stop,” wanted with anti-terrorist barricades, the Soft Stop technology of the DSC1000 decelerates and stops the vehicle over a short distance.
This is important because, in many cases, the tragedies that the DSC1000 will negate are accidents. Authorities want the vehicle stopped but they also want to minimize injury to the driver.
Penn State University uses seven of these barriers for home football games and special events. Like similar applications at the University of Michigan, Ohio State and others, PSU is able to quickly deploy these barriers at strategic sites around the facility.
After the event, they are quickly knocked down and towed to another location.
The United Kingdom’s embassy in Budapest, Hungary, not only uses the DSC1000 barrier to protect its compound from charging vehicles but they are placed to create a sally-port to tightly control traffic into the embassy.
The first barricade is lowered to let in a car, while the barrier in front of the car stays up. The one in back then raises and the car is sandwiched between them. Once searched and OK’d, the second barricade lowers and the car is allowed to enter.
Procurement Often Simplified
From a purchasing standpoint, it can be easier to buy portable barriers than permanent barriers. The latter are oftentimes placed into an organization’s real assets budget because they are permanently installed into the ground, becoming part of the property.
Such budgets can often create complex purchasing scenarios for an agency. However, purchasing portable barriers is no different than buying protective vests for personnel or new sets of wrenches for the maintenance department.
For one time uses, a lease plan has been created where organizations can simply lease the portable barriers, use them, pack them up and return them. Delta always keeps an inventory for purchase and quick delivery at their manufacturing facility in Palmdale, Calif.
That’s because, in many cases, they are needed for events that come up quickly, such as politician or celebrity visits and other unexpected incidents.
(See the MP5000 Portable Barricade System in Action, courtesy of Delta Scientific Corporation and YouTube)
There’s a Portable Barrier to Match Any Need
Although the MP5000 and DSC1000 are the primary models of portable barriers, there are other models for special needs.
The bottom line is that there is a crash rated portable barrier for any temporary entrance that needs to both allow authorized vehicles through but stop unauthorized vehicles from getting in.
With quick and easy installation, they provide increased security and safety. If you start installation in the morning, you can have protection by lunch.
About the Author:
Mr. Greg Hamm has been Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Delta Scientific Corporation since October 5, 2010.