A Q&A interview with Situation Management Pioneer Jacob Fox
A recent article in Security Director News “spilled the beef” on a January 4th incident at the Port of Houston. According to the article, “a 300,000-gallon tank filled with animal fat broke open, leaking an estimated 15,000 gallons of beef fat into the Houston Ship Channel.” Fortunately, the spill didn’t have any lasting impact, but it did highlight the need for ports to be prepared to handle just about any type of situation. In this Q&A interview, Jacob Fox, Vice President of Security Solutions Management for NICE Systems, and one of the early pioneers in the PSIM/Situation Management space, shares his perspective on the challenges ports face, and how they can employ Situation Management solutions likeNICE Situator to steer clear of potential safety and security calamities.
First of all, how exactly does NICE Situator help when it comes to incident response?
Jacob Fox: NICE Situator takes the operator and other stakeholders through a response plan that’s specific to the incident, ensuring that operators follow the required procedures and also automatically documenting/time stamping each step they take. For example, if a severe storm was forecast to arrive at a port a few days from now, NICE Situator could automatically alert port managers, and simultaneously launch a series of procedures that port personnel would follow to make preparations. This might involve evacuation plans, or instructions to store and protect equipment, or direct vessels to a safe location.
What are some of the other threats that ports face? And how does technology like NICE Situator come into play?
Jacob Fox: On any given day, ports can face a variety of security, safety and operational challenges. For example, let’s say there was a fire in a storage area at the port. That could trigger an on-screen alert on a security operator’s Situator console. A GIS referenced map would then pop up displaying the location of the fire with nearby video cameras and on-screen instructions telling the operator what to do next. Because they can view the exact location of the incident on the map, managers could also quickly implement contingency plans like road closures or other activities to ensure continuity of operations while the incident was being handled.
Situator can also help ports manage exceptions to what would be considered normal daily operations. For example, say a vessel needs to make an unscheduled stop at the port. Specific procedures for how port personnel would handle this type of situation could be defined and automated through NICE Situator. An embedded workflow could instruct a port manager to direct the vessel to a specific secure area, while appropriate personnel were automatically sent instructions and information as to the vessel’s location and what procedures to follow.
Another scenario would be a potential crisis situation. Not your everyday ordinary incident that ports would encounter but as I said in the beginning, they need to be prepared never-the-less. In this scenario, an unidentified small vessel enters the port and is detected by radar. This, in turn, triggers an immediate alert in the control room through Situator, and sets a number of pre-defined procedures into action, while simultaneously transmitting information concerning the location, speed and direction of the intruder vessel to a nearby port police vessel.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the types of situations that ports could encounter and how Situator can help.
Jacob is Vice President of Security Solutions Management for NICE Systems and one of the early pioneers in the PSIM/Situation Management market.