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Security and Life Safety

Buildings must provide for the physical protection of its occupants and assets. This includes protection from crime, vandalism, espionage, fire, accidents, and environmental elements. Typically a security threat assessment of the building is conducted and then measures are identified and deployed. These may include deterring, detecting, delaying, mitigating or notifying of any attempt to injure, damage, modify, or remove an asset or person. These measures are put into place in three ways: the building systems, architectural countermeasures, and security operations. The building systems needed to provide security and life safety include fire alarm, video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection. Architectural countermeasures include landscaping, doors, lighting, vehicular standoffs, and air intake (protecting building occupants from airborne chemical, biological, or radiological attacks). Building security operations include emergency preparedness, training, policies, patrols, and so forth. So the security performance of a building is based on regular threat assessments of the building, optimal operation and testing of the security related systems, prudent use of architectural countermeasures and a fully functional security operation. Security and life safety are affected by many different factors such as location and age of the building, composition of the building occupants, climate, economic conditions, and education levels. Data on the number and type of security incidents in the building, trends in incidents, crime statistics for the area, and occupant surveys can be used to evaluate the security performance of a building.

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