WMD Exercise Provides Framework for City-Wide Programs
by Jim Kouri
Universal Protection Service, the largest provider of security services to the commercial real estate market in California and one of the nation's largest uniform protection companies, participated with the San Francisco Fire Department and the United States Army 95th Civil Support Team to conduct a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) training exercise simulating the release of a biological substance and placement of a radiological device.
Several hundred first-responders, military personnel, private security and civilians actively participated in the successful exercise which has been documented and disseminated throughout the property management community in San Francisco.
The WMD exercise was conducted at the 555 California Street Building and required approximately a year of planning and coordination between property management, federal, state and local agencies and officials. The "real scenario" was developed to test multi-agency response, coordination, communication and effectiveness. San Francisco Battalion Chief Franklin and his team recruited involvement from local corporations, security and other private organizations, as well as coordinated with federal, state and city agencies and others involved to conduct the exercise.
"We were extremely pleased by the participation of the local companies, private security and others," said Battalion Chief Franklin, "While we hope to never have to face such a situation, scenario-based training involving first-responders and others impacted by a potential attack, helps strengthen response and relationships that can only improve performance under real circumstances."
Universal Protection Service President Brian Cescolini, Chief Operations Officer Steve Jones and Northern California Regional Vice President Eric McGarty continually emphasize the importance of expanding "Life Safety" training programs for all security officers to ensure they are properly prepared to assume "first-responder" responsibilities in the event of a man-made or natural disaster.
Universal Protection Service provides interactive online training programs for its officers in life-safety, evacuation and other emergency response capabilities, as well as regularly participates in "real scenario" training exercises involving federal, state and city agencies.
"This training exercise provided valuable information regarding readily available specialized equipment and coordination with emergency responders," said Universal Protection Service Quality Control Manager Lou Ligouri who conducted a similar training program last year at the Pyramid Building in San Francisco.
"After the training, Universal Protection Service approached the San Francisco Fire Department regarding additional and expanded WMD training. We started working closely with SFFD back in July 2007 to coordinate and roll out the multi-agency training. It was extremely exciting to see all of it come together and take place," he said.
"Universal Protection Service plans to disseminate the training results and lessons learned to all of its other buildings in the area and conduct table top training sessions with their security teams," says Regional Vice President Eric McGarty.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.