Emergency Management

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Storage and Warehouse Facilities

Terrorist operations and criminal activity can begin with extensive planning and the gathering of materials. Storage units and warehouse facilities can be prime locations for terrorists and criminals to gather information and materials before launching a mission.

You can help prevent and detect terrorism and other types of crime by watching out for suspicious activities in your storage and warehouse facilities and reporting them to the proper authorities.

Many cities offer crime prevention seminars and programs for business owners and managers. Contact your local police department for more information.

Be Alert

Be alert for activities that might indicate someone is using your storage or warehouse facility in criminal or terrorist activities. Suspicious behavior could include:

  • Insisting on paying cash, sometimes weeks or months in advance
  • Seeming overly concerned about privacy
  • Frequently visiting the storage facility late at night or at unusual times
  • Behaving strangely when approached by facility staff or security personnel
  • Unusual fumes, liquids, residues, or odors emanating from the storage unit
  • Displaying burns or chemical exposure symptoms, and providing vague or irrational explanation for the injuries
  • Discarding chemicals in storage facility dumpsters

Storage of the following items may also be cause for concern:

  • Pesticides
  • Weapons or ammunition
  • Flight manuals or similar materials
  • Large delivery vehicles, vans, cargo containers, trailers or related equipment
  • Laboratory equipment such as flasks or sealed containers
  • Protective clothing such as surgical masks, gas masks, rubber gloves, or self-contained breathing apparatus
  • Other specialty equipment such as incinerators, incubators, cell cultures, agriculture sprayers, improvised showers or eye baths
  • Textbooks and journals discussing biology, chemistry, explosives or poisons
  • Large quantities of fuel
  • Agricultural or industrial chemicals and/or equipment
  • Explosives, blasting caps, fuses and/or similar items

Many of these activities, in and of themselves, may not indicate criminal activity. Taken together, however, they may be a cause for concern. If you observe people acting suspiciously, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement.

Protective Measures

  • Secure entrances (within fire department guidelines) to limit access
  • Have staff use employee identification cards or badges
  • Create and maintain an emergency response plan
  • Test emergency lighting, and make repairs when necessary
  • Test alarm systems to be sure they work properly. Consider enhancing alarm systems to include doors to critical areas like utility closets, HVAC, rooftops, and street-level fire exits
  • Create a 24-hour contact information list for all key personnel
  • Be aware of suspicious activity, especially in parking lots and garages
  • Have personnel conduct periodic interior and exterior patrols at irregular intervals
  • Be suspicious of people with large amounts of cash, or people who use questionable ID to rent a unit
  • Make copies of identification and attach to rental applications

Contact Us

Polk County Emergency Management
1907 Carpenter Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 286-2107

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