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NEW YORK CITY-Previous emergency preparedness efforts were key in helping building owners and managers deal with situations where terrorist activity in other cities–such as the bombings in London–causes heightened awareness here. “The telephone chain goes into effect,” explains Wayne Taub, managing director of operations for the tri-state region for CB Richard Ellis. “You have to be on standby. You can’t shut down. You need to create a calm atmosphere conducive to doing business.” He says an important factor is to keep the lines of communication open with both owners and tenants. “The more communicative you are, the more comfortable it is.”

As GlobeSt.com reported yesterday, Chicago’s public and private sectors also responded to the news from London with a protection strategy of their own.

Marolyn Davenport, senior vice president for the Real Estate Board of New York, tells GlobeSt.com that plans already in place at buildings and with the New York City Police Department are key in maintaining business. “The NYPD has its procedures in effect. A lot of iconic buildings, those sensitive tenants such as embassies do take security issues up a notch.” She says continual training programs were important in making the increased security more “seamless.” The local Building Office and Management Association rallied behind the establishment of the Emergency Action Plan as an addendum to the Fire Safety Plan with the EAP relating specifically to emergency/non-fire events. Among its other purposes, this plan intends to inform and prepare building owners and managers in their need to identify areas of vulnerability within their properties, and from that insight, become capable of structuring a plan. Further, the scope of the plan’s purpose has been broadened to include an examination of a number of scenarios, and the effect that the new dynamics of this program has on those individuals who may require assistance during an emergency.

The US Department of Homeland Security raised the terrorism level for mass-transit systems from code “yellow” to code “orange” in response to President George W. Bush’s call for increased vigilance after the attacks. Code orange is the second-highest terror alert level. Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff stresses that there is no credible intelligence indicating imminent terrorist attacks on American subways, trains, buses, or other types of mass transit. “We have asked state and local leaders and transportation officials to increase their protective measures,” including the deployment of additional police, bomb-detection canine teams, and increased use of video surveillance, perimeter barriers, and inspections, he says.

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