SOURCE: BOMA International

September 07, 2011 10:17 ET

BOMA International Commemorates the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Commercial Real Estate Remembers Victims, Reflects on Emergency Preparedness Advancements

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Sep 7, 2011) - This week, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and the commercial real estate industry commemorate the tenth anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. We come together to remember the victims and their families, as well as members of the heroic emergency response teams that selflessly answered the call of duty that day.

"While ten years have passed, we have never stopped remembering those who were affected first-hand by the attacks," remarked BOMA International Chair Boyd R. Zoccola, executive vice president, Hokanson Companies Inc. "As an industry, we continue to assess and strengthen our preparedness to ensure we have the systems, plans and people in place to keep building occupants safe."

Over the last ten years, the commercial real estate industry has made great strides in enhancing the security of their buildings and increasing their preparedness measures. Here are just a few of the ways preparedness has changed over the last decade:

  • BOMA International and its industry partners have teamed up to form the Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (REISAC), which provides bulletins on terrorist threats and activities.
  • In many U.S. cities (New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston) office buildings now rely more on electronic barriers/optical turnstiles, individual identification, bomb dog services and outside monitoring more than ever for security. Security firms have sought and received DHS Safety Act Certification/Designation for security programs throughout portfolios to provide the greatest amount of protection to clients and accounts.
  • For some properties, X-ray machines, metal detectors and other security devices can be deployed/scaled up should the threat indicate that a change in operations is required. Outside private security services are able to push out information in short order to support operational considerations.
  • Large urban areas have re-written fire evacuation laws to mitigate potential loss of life and injuries from a similar event to 9/11 requiring, at a minimum, annual evacuations.
  • Smart video software is being used to track specific activities, such as packages left in one place for a specific period of time or for suspicious behavior around the building or in parking garages.
  • Public sector groups have been created and have forged working relationships with the private sector to ask for feedback on information and training needs.
  • Many buildings now include elevator lockouts, which only allow riders to exit at a specified floor.
  • BOMA Local Associations across the country and the BOMA Preparedness Committee have worked diligently to represent the industry to assure that commercial real estate's interests are being considered during preparedness exercises and when events dictate with local, regional and national groups.
  • Building management and first responders in many major cities, such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and New York, have developed or enhanced communication channels.
  • Building managers and owners have strengthened communication with their neighbors, tenants and the authorities regarding their emergency preparedness plans. Real estate managers are using table top sessions more and more to identify potential risks and coordination of responses.

About BOMA International
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 100 local associations and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1907, its 16,500-plus members own or manage more than nine billion square feet of commercial properties. BOMA International's mission is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. On the Web at