Balancing Safety and Security at Fukushima

A small red emergency light started blinking.

“Then some kind of white smoke or steam appeared and everyone started choking,” Nishi said. “We all covered our mouths and ran for the door.”

But the door leading outside was locked, shut down automatically during the temblor to contain any leakage. The workers were stuck.

“People were shouting ‘Get out, get out!’” Nishi said. “Everyone was screaming.”

Pandemonium reigned for about 10 minutes with the workers shouting and pleading to be allowed out, but supervisory TEPCO employees appealed for calm, saying that each worker must be tested for radiation exposure.”

While not a main focus right now, since most attention is rightly being directed to bringing the dangerous radiation situation under control, as security professionals we mustn’t forget this particular incident. When balancing security and safety, one should lean strongly towards safety. As a first step, you should check your own office buildings to determine whether the access systems fail open or closed … you may well be unpleasantly surprised.

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