By Cooper Temple
In the modern age, simple building security is, unfortunately, no longer enough. Gone are the days when a security guard could mitigate all threats simply through force. Instead, large businesses and government institutions must now additionally be concerned with the threat of a bioterror attack, which can be executed swiftly and subtly through the release of dangerous airborne pathogens.
In the past, we’ve written about how pathogenic threats can arrive through the mail. The high-profile attacks of late-2018 showed how suspicious white powder and pipe bombs can be delivered using the US Postal Service.
Buildings themselves are similarly at risk. Because biological agents can be transmitted by spraying them into the air or by person-to-person contact, disease can spread quickly and easily. It is important to be knowledgeable about the risks and prepared for potential threats.
The issue, however, is the time it takes to detect the airborne pathogens. According to ready.gov, it may take time to discover a biological threat because health workers rely on patterns of illness to recognize a potential outbreak. Even after the problem is discovered, it can take additional time to identify the pathogen and determine who is in danger of infection.
Instead, we at PathSensors recommend utilizing building monitoring to detect pathogens at the source before a serious outbreak occurs, which allows buildings to evacuate safely before the danger spreads. Our BioFlash device can sample ambient air and run a 2-minute test to inform you if your air contains one or more of the six major biological agents – anthrax, ricin, tularemia, smallpox, and the Black Plague. By monitoring a building’s air with short tests, security professionals can eliminate the waiting period and choose to evacuate a building before mass infection occurs.
Our monitoring can be implemented in a number of ways including point testing, networked testing, and triggered testing. The following diagrams explain the relevant applications of each.
Sampling of air in highly sensitive locations
Sampling of air through the building’s HVAC system, providing active environment-sensing protection.
Particle detectors continuously monitor the space. When particle levels rise, an identification test for that air space is initiated.
Regardless of which application or company you choose, it is imperative that your organization develop emergency preparedness procedures in the event of a bioterror attack. While we believe our system is the fastest, easiest, and most sensitive for building protection, our number one priority is to see that no biological outbreaks harm innocent people. Take a look at the resources from the CDC to understand how better to prepare yourself. Or, contact us for more information and to learn how to take your building security to the next level.