Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Got Infrastructure?

A thought regarding the continued dust-up in New York over the Buckeye Pipeline:

"Sections of this pipeline are located in areas not visible to routine police and security patrols," Rasinya said in his testimony to representatives of the state Senate and the Police Department, the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross and local Civilian Emergency Response Teams.

Right now, the pipeline is protected only by a broken Cyclone fence that is easy to break through or hop over.
Putting aside the question of the seriousness of this particular plot, the attention on the pipeline raises a legitimate question for local emergency preparedness and response personnel:

What are the critical infrastructure elements in your community?

The US is criss-crossed with critical infrastructure networks. Besides fuel and natural gas pipelines, are there key nodes in the electric grid? Key chokepoints in the transportation and shipping network (e.g., bridges, tunnels, distribution centers)? Telecommunications hubs? Aqueducts? Financial centers?

These questions apply to all-hazards preparedness, not just terrorism preparation and prevention. Knowing the critical infrastructure nodes translates into better opportunities for prevention, as well as improved response and recovery.

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