Metrasens Editorial: Casting a Wider Net: More Effective Mass Screenings at Events

September 24, 2018

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep 24, 2018--The following is an opinion editorial provided by Jim Viscardi, vice president of global security for Metrasens.

Live events at large venues like arenas, stadiums or convention halls – whether they involve wrestlers breaking chairs over each other’s heads, Axl and Slash letting bygones be bygones and reuniting Guns ‘n’ Roses, your favorite NFL team annihilating the opposition 62-3, or a convention involving anything from politics to food to Star Trek – are exciting affairs that channel the camaraderie of the crowd into a powerful collective energy.

But they also are vulnerable to threats. And, as we have seen a rise in tragic mass shootings and bombings at events during the past several years, we have also learned that current security methods are simply not enough.

Conventional walk-through metal detectors are a compromise between effective screening and high throughput, as they successfully detect metal objects, but only can screen about five or six people each minute. They are generally placed 10 to 20 yards from a venue’s front façade, either just outside or just inside, to screen people as they enter the facility. Hand wands are used for anyone that sets off the walk-through detector as a secondary screening method for confirmation.

Many facilities also use observational methods to screen, such as drones, CCTV, security officers or police walking the crowd and looking for suspicious behavior, or explosives-sniffing K9 units patrolling the area.

Each of these methods has intrinsic limitations. Observational security methods are just that – observation-based, not detection-based. They rely much more heavily on human factors that introduce greater degrees of error and chance. Walk-through detectors and wands will catch someone trying to enter a facility with a weapon, but by the time they do, it may be too late. Bad guys don’t need to actually enter the venue; they just need to get close enough to injure or kill a large number of people.

The far perimeter of a venue is an ideal place to screen for weapons of mass casualty, and this advance screening is possible using ferromagnetic detection systems (FMDS).

In the most basic terms, FMDS uses passive sensors that evaluate disturbances in the earth’s magnetic field made by something magnetic moving through its detection zone. Everything else is invisible to it; it doesn’t see people, clothing, backpacks, purses, etc. Nothing can be used to shield the threat, because FMDS doesn’t detect metallic mass; it detects a magnetic signature, down to a millionth of the earth’s magnetic field.

It is also highly accurate – there is no false alarm rate, because it is programmed to find only what security personnel need to find (e.g., a weapon). Although it is a passive technology, it is more effective and reliable than using observational security methods to screen a perimeter, because the technology will never miss something the way a human would.

An important point is that the system only works on moving objects. This makes it immune to environmental conflicts such as rebar that would trip up conventional metal detectors, and allowing people to be screened quickly and unobtrusively without stopping to divest their possessions as they walk toward a venue – up to 50 or 60 people a minute.

It runs on batteries – there is no need for an electricity source, as with a walk-through detector – and can be placed on just about any form factor (a pole, a stand, etc.). This gives security personnel flexibility when deploying FMDS, allowing them to create a wide perimeter around a venue without worrying about portability or a power source. Screening can be as obvious or as concealed as personnel prefer for a particular situation, based on the form factor they select.

All of these combine into a solution that creates a way to close a gap in mass screenings at large events, by expanding the secure perimeter and creating a highly accurate way to detect weapons of mass casualty farther away from a critical asset and large crowds. It does not replace screening for smaller items necessarily, and all large venues should use a layered security solution that also deploys tactics like roving security guards, walk-through metal detectors and hand wands.

But FMDS is a foolproof method of detecting weapons of mass casualty before terrorists get too close to an event venue – and should be a part of any screening protocol. It gives event security personnel a way to better protect large events, making them less dangerous and keeping people safe.

Jim Viscardi is vice president of global security for . Viscardi can be reached at .

View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180924006053/en/

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Matt Pera





SOURCE: Metrasens

Copyright Business Wire 2018.

PUB: 09/24/2018 06:26 PM/DISC: 09/24/2018 06:26 PM


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