Washington, D.C. – We are living in truly extraordinary times in which the threat of terrorist attacks has become all too real. With war in Iraq now under way and the federal terrorism threat alert elevated to Code Orange, steps to safeguard tenants and buildings must be carefully planned and constantly reviewed.
For these reasons, BOMA International is excited to be a founding member of a new Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). The lead group on the effort has been the Real Estate Roundtable, with the American Resort Development Association, Institute of Real Estate Management, International Council of Shopping Centers, National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, National Association of Realtors, and the Real Estate Board of New York also participating as founding members.
The Real Estate ISAC is a public-private partnership between the federal government and the real estate industry for the purpose of exchanging information on terrorist threats and response planning. ISACs have been created in several key industries to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. Other ISACs exist for the chemical, energy, financial services, food, information technology, telecommunications, transportation, water, and other critical industries.
Through the Real Estate ISAC, BOMA International is able to receive timely and complete advance warnings from the federal government to help members prepare for possible attacks. In turn, BOMA International facilitates information sharing from its members of incident information that may have local or national terrorism implications. This two-way flow of information between real estate professionals and the federal government is critical to ensure that individual threats are accurately evaluated and steps can be taken to safeguard people and property.
BOMA International already has received and forwarded alerts from the federal government as a result of its participation in the Real Estate ISAC, as have other associations. Here’s how it works: When the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) at the Department of Homeland Security receives information, it is shared with the Real Estate ISAC representative. Once deemed credible in a “scrubbed down” version to protect confidential information, an ISAC alert is created and distributed immediately to all participating organization representatives. Once BOMA International receives an alert, it is sent immediately by BOMA International staff to local BOMA association staff and leaders for distribution, then directly on to members. These alerts are not sent to the general public.
To further advance this effort, a new website, dedicated exclusively to the Real Estate ISAC, is being built (www.reisac.org). The site will:
Encourage and coordinate information sharing and analysis that will enable the real estate industry to identify, assess, and reduce vulnerabilities.
Facilitate the industry’s reporting to government authorities of credible threats to real estate assets, and to assist the government in disseminating threat and warning information within and among the different sub-sectors of the real estate industry.
Identify security-related resources that real estate professionals can use.
BOMA International is excited about its ability to provide members with detailed advance security warnings from the federal government. This partnership is essential in the fight against terrorism. If you have not yet begun to receive ISAC alerts, please contact your local BOMA association, or any of the participating groups where you hold membership.
In addition to the Real Estate ISAC, BOMA International has been working to provide a wide array of resources to meet building owners’ and managers’ needs for information on emergency preparedness. On Sept. 11, 2001, BOMA International launched its online Emergency Resource Center in response to the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. Since that time, BOMA has continually added new documents and links, creating a comprehensive library of information.
Included in the Emergency Resource Center are updates on the terror alert status; suggested anti-terrorism security measures; results of a national survey of security concerns within the real estate industry that BOMA conducted in partnership with the Urban Land Institute; links to government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security; and an active emergency bulletin board.
BOMA International has also developed an emergency preparedness guidebook, the Property Professional’s Guide to Emergency Preparedness, a security e-seminar, and other tools people can use in their planning.
For more information on BOMA International’s emergency preparedness resources, please visit BOMA’s website at (www.boma.org).