The Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin regarding the current heightened threat environment across the United States. The United States continues to face a diverse and challenging threat environment leading up to and following the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks as well religious holidays we assess could serve as a catalyst for acts of targeted violence. These threats include those posed by domestic terrorists, individuals and groups engaged in grievance-based violence, and those inspired or motivated by foreign terrorists and other malign foreign influences. Such threats are also exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions. The DHS Bulletin will expire on Nov. 11.
Col. Mike Licata, chair of the ABA's Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) Security Committee, has shared helpful security measures to consider to keep your employees and your passengers safe.
Pre-trip Security Check
- Inspect luggage bays pre-trip and then lock if possible.
- Walk interior of bus back to front (including lavatory) and ensure nothing is on the bus.
- Check all overhead compartments or racks.
- Inspect your bus completely if you leave the bus at any time recheck.
- Be familiar with your emergency equipment especially the GPS panic button.
- Review your company duress words if available.
- If a terrorist attacks around your bus. Go to a safe place, secure the bus and then contact dispatcher via normal phone or by email. Consider bringing in a portable radio to listen for emergency updates.
- Announce to all passengers to take all packages and if they see anyone depart the bus and leave something to notify you immediately.
- If a bag is left behind and it is in an unusual location or has unusual smells, leaking fluid, unusual shapes or wires or you just feel it is suspicious for any reason call 911 immediately. NOTE: when calling 911 on your cell phone walk at least 3 bus lengths away from the suspicious package.
- If you don’t know someone and they have no uniform or badge, observe them from a distance, get a good description. Call 911 if they are doing something to a bus or the facility.
- If you see any broken locks or cut fences notify management immediately.
Above all, be vigilant. Observe what is going on around you; keep checking your bus and call 911 if you encounter an emergency. Call your dispatcher and local authorities if you observe anything suspicious and want to report it.
Learn more from Col. Mike Licata during his BISC presentation on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. Sign up at buses.org/events.