What is the SAFETY Act?
Following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the courts upheld a decision against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the landlord for the World Trade Center, which placed a majority of the blame for the terrorist attack on the Port Authority. The case found the Port Authority 65% liable for the damages that occurred as a result of the bombing, while the terrorists that committed the crimes were only assessed 35% of the liability. The case against the Port Authority took twelve years to resolve and cost millions of dollars in legal fees and punitive payments. It was just recently reintroduced to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 and may not be over. This jaw-dropping legal situation placed an extraordinarily large amount of liability and pressure on an organization that was otherwise a victim. Similar lawsuits popped up by the dozens following the September 11th, 2001 attacks.
Fearing that companies would remove themselves from the security and homeland security market, Congress created the SAFETY Act, a little known, but an exceptionally valuable element of the 2002 Homeland Security Act (Public Law 107-296). The “Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies (SAFETY)” Act offers liability protection to entities that could possibly be terrorist targets. While an act of terrorism may take much from an organization and leave lasting scars, the claims and litigation that may follow could be the things that truly destroy the organization. The SAFETY Act’s purpose is to ensure that the threat of potential liability suits does not limit or deter the development and implementation of products, services, systems, procedures, and advice that could prevent or mitigate a terrorist attack. The use of “technologies” in the Act's name merely refers to the deployment of any innovative solution meant to mitigate a terrorist attack and is not limited to equipment. The Act provides unprecedented immunities, liability protections, caps and other incentives for approved entities that develop and employ innovative and tested “technologies” (equipment, systems, protocols, plans, advice and services) to prevent, deter, mitigate, respond to or recover from a terrorism event. The Act's protection can apply to a physical attack on persons or property or to acts of cyber-terrorism that cause physical and/or financial harm.
What are the benefits of SAFETY Designation or Certification?
Life and property protection (reduced vulnerability or improved ability to respond to a terrorist attack after implementing appropriate solutions) Significant insurance premium savings as a result of reduced risk and liability protections
Protection from crippling lawsuits (in the millions to hundreds of millions of dollars), years of courtroom expenses, and years of negative publicity by receiving a cap on liability (designation) or complete immunity from liability (certification) for those areas in which designation or certification was obtained in the event of a terrorist attack
Trickle down protection for all users of the SAFETY Act awarded solution (e.g., customers, subsidiaries, individual facilities or operating locations)
Improved marketing, market share, and/or sales through a demonstrated commitment to the safety of patrons and clients
What are the levels of Liability Protection?
SAFETY Act Designation - If approved, an organization will receive liability protections in the form of a numerical cap, set by DHS, which limits the potential exposure the organization could face should its anti-terrorism solution be defeated in the face of an act of terrorism.
SAFETY Act Certification - If approved, an organization will receive complete immunity from the same kind of liability.
What organizations might benefit the most from SAFETY Act Designation or Certification?
Organizations that have the most to gain from receiving SAFETY Act “designation” or “certification” are those that may lure the interests of possible terrorist groups or individuals (domestic, international, insider threat), including:
Large public venues (stadiums, arenas, theaters, theme parks)
Critical infrastructure (electricity, water/wastewater, transportation, telecommunications)
Building management companies (shopping malls, high rise buildings, convention centers)
Transportation hubs (mass transit centers [bus, rail, subway, air])
Ports of Entry (airports, sea ports)
Landmarks/Facilities of iconic value (corporate headquarters, national icons/monuments)
Organizations dependent on cyber systems to provide public services (financial institutions)
The CPARS Solution!
A program with such tremendous benefits is not easy to obtain. Organizations with only the most progressive, tested, and proven policies, procedures, equipment, and programs achieve SAFETY Act designation or certification. CPARS has a rare understanding of the SAFETY Act, a unique mix of experienced consultants (including individuals that have helped their organizations receive SAFETY Act "designation" or "certification"), and an expertise in the multitude of mitigation measures for which a client may want to pursue "designation" or "certification."
CPARS helps position its clients to achieve SAFETY Act "designation" or "certification" by teaming with them as they build and institutionalize advanced anti-terrorism mitigation measures. Our practicing professionals offer cutting edge, end-to-end solutions that are in line with the most advanced terrorism mitigation trends, principles, tools, and standards. We understand the challenges and opportunities that our clients face in mitigating these threats and pride ourselves on being the practical and efficient solution. We partner with our clients to develop a customized scope of work that achieves objectives while remaining cost effective.
Some of the areas related to SAFETY Act designation/certification in which CPARS specializes, include:
Security plans/policies (screening, detection/monitoring, zoning, access control)
Equipment recommendations and proper implementation (communications, screening, tactical response)
Facility hardening recommendations and proper implementation (access control, barricades, data intrusion)
Response plans/policies (multi-agency coordination, public safety integration, evacuation, shelter-in-place, tactical response)
Training, Exercise, and Evaluation/Improvement (SAFETY Act requires that policies and programs must prove their claims through robust training, evaluated exercises, and a track record of implementing corrective actions)
Application and DHS Review/Bargaining Support
While CPARS Consulting can help our clients strengthen their programs to be positioned for SAFETY Act designation or certification, we are pleased to partner with Washington, DC based Aluma to provide our clients with support during every step of the SAFETY Act application process. Once again, the incredible benefits offered by the SAFETY Act do not come easily; and the application and DHS review process is no exception. Although it is a fair process, it is very comprehensive and requires the utmost attention to detail for specific items that DHS expects. A simple error, omission, or miscommunication can easily mean the difference between millions of dollars of liability protections. The experts at Aluma offer the technical background, legal expertise, and federal and industry know-how to help clients get their application approved while the client focuses on their business. Aluma's SAFETY Act practice is led by the former Deputy Director of DHS’ SAFETY Act Office, who helped expand the program over several years.
Communication and coordination between CPARS and Aluma is seamless. The CPARS team provides input to Aluma for the development of the client’s application and Aluma provides feedback to CPARS on actions to improve the client’s chances of receiving designation or certification. Our experience and expertise in our relevant areas provides the perfect complement and an unmatched, one stop, end-to-end solution for any client’s SAFETY Act ambitions.
For more information on our teammate, Aluma, please visit: https://www.alumarisk.com/