Stadiums around the world are rapidly adding hostile vehicle mitigation systems (HVM) to their security measures. But these need to be movable so they can be redeployed in different positions to cope with the needs of 21st century, says KarabloK director Gareth Neale.
“The problem is that many hostile vehicle mitigation systems are fixed in place and that doesn’t always suit the way more forward-looking stadiums operate today – particularly the bigger ones,” said Gareth Neale.
“Stadiums may have been built for specific events such as Football, American Football and Track and Field. But that’s just their primary function. Many take advantage of their commercial potential to host numerous other events, like concerts, festivals or the occasional mega-sporting event.
“These kinds of events often feature additional corporate hospitality and merchandise sellers outside the grounds. They also draw bigger crowds into the areas beyond the stadium perimeter and outside the zone protected by fixed hostile vehicle mitigation systems.
“But movable HVM systems, such as KarabloK, provide the flexibility needed to overcome this. They can be repositioned to wherever they are needed. Or they can simply be introduced as additional, temporary measures.”
Gareth points outs that, while any event can be a target for terrorists, the less routine events, such as cup finals and sell-out concerts, are more obvious targets as they are usually larger and higher-profile.
“The volume of corporate hospitality at some major sporting events now is unbelievable. And it looks set to continue growing as it is such a big revenue steam and we seem to have an insatiable appetite for it,” he said.
“It has led to large tented villages springing up in car parks and open spaces outside stadiums. There are also longer queues of visitors beyond the protected zone because of increased security searches. These are emerging features of stadium pop concerts too. So it is vital that operators and event organisers protect these areas too.”
Make HVM at stadiums look less scary
He is also concerned that stadium operators – determined not to make venues look like fortresses – could compromise the level of safety they offer by choosing hostile vehicle mitigation systems that not only look less imposing but also offer less protection.
“I totally understand why those choosing HVM systems want them to look ‘nice and friendly’,” he said.
“Nobody in their right minds would want to put visitors off or scare them as they arrive for a big event. That in itself could easily lead to other security issues.
“But we must remember the primary function of any hostile vehicle mitigation system is to protect people from terrorist car and truck attacks. If it’s a piece of street furniture with a small tree planted in it and some seating round the edge, it might help. But it’s not designed to stop a determined terrorist.
“When choosing the right HVM system, you must start by choosing one that is fit for purpose. So first, choose one that will definitely stop vehicles; second, make sure it is quick and easy to install and remove again after the event; then third, work out how to make HVM look less scary. And, with KarabloK, that’s easily achievable.”
KarabloK barriers are formed from a series of precast concrete units. These are 1.2m high, 2.1m long and 1.4m wide (48ins x 83ins x 55ins). They are pinned together with a unique and patented system.
Together, they form a crash-proof and blast-proof barrier that’s been independently tested and shown to stop a 7.2 tonne truck at 50mph.
“Each one of these units weighs 3.5 tonnes (7,720lb). You need something that substantial to do the job properly but they are also designed to be visually softened,” said Gareth Neale.
“Each has a large cavity which is normally backfilled local material, such as sand or gravel, in fitted bags. But the tops of these cavities can be used for planting shrubs or trailing plants. In that sense it is just like street furniture in our town and city centres.
“They also come in a range of very high quality finishes. These can be painted with designs fitting to the event or covered in posters and billboards – think of them as an advertising opportunity.
“And the barrier is also designed to have attachments quickly and securely bolted to the top. This is often another layer of blocks or a security fence but could just as easily be posts for flags and banners, billboards or signs.”
Easy installation and removal
The easy installation and removal of the KarabloK hostile vehicle mitigation system is one of its unique selling points.
“There are no footings required – they just sit on the surface – so there is no disruption to any underground services,” said Gareth Neale.
“This surprises some people who feel there needs to be some sort of ground-fixing for a barrier to work. But KarabloK’s unique pinning system enables it to stop big trucks travelling at speed.
“Of course, it depends on the specific site but – as a rule of thumb – one small team can install around 100m of KarabloK’s in a normal working day. The blocks are hoisted into position, then pinned together and the bags slipped in and filled with ballast. Removal is just the reverse operation and is even quicker.
“This flexibility makes KarabloK well suited to the needs of stadium operators and event organisers. They take security seriously. There is no room for compromise. But KarabloK could make their operations much easier.”
For further information on KarabloK hostile vehicle mitigation systems for stadiums and events, call Gareth Neale on 07545 455 005.