Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration Offer Free Anti-Terrorism Training for Municipal and County Parking Professionals

Cities from Coast to Coast Are Taking Advantage of First Observer Training

Media Contact:
Helen Sullivan
703.847.9702 office
703.606.7622 mobile
sullivan@parking.org

FREDERICKSBURG, VA - January 20, 2011 - Terrorists often use parked cars or trucks to carry, conceal or serve as bombs -- and for that reason, local government officials are turning to the new, no-cost, First Observer™ parking-specific training program that utilizes parking professionals as foot soldiers in the war on terrorism.
 
Funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration, the parking module of First Observer was developed with the help of the International Parking Institute (IPI), the largest trade association of the parking industry. The program supports the National Preparedness Guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and administered by the HMS Company.
 
An increasing number of local government officials are requiring their transportation and parking employees to participate in the training, which is offered at no cost and is available three ways: as an online training module; as an onsite classroom-style training session; or as a train-the-trainer workshop.
 
The First Observer training program, which is entirely funded by the federal government, trains parking professionals to address five critical security areas: on-street, surface parking lots, garages/decks, special events, and shuttle operations. First Observers recognize and report potential threats using a concise, accurate and simple communications process. 
 
"IPI is pleased to be a catalyst for enhancing the anti-terrorism skills of municipal and county parking professionals," explains IPI's Executive Director Shawn Conrad, CAE.  "Since the program was launched, more than 2,000 parking professionals have earned First Observer certificates, and we expect this number to increase significantly."
 
Conrad notes that with several recent terrorism incidents occurring in urban areas and involving parking areas, front line parking professionals have an important role to play in keeping our nation safe.
 
More information on the training is available on IPI's Web site at www.parking.org/firstobserver. Organizations that want to schedule a free training session may contact IPI Deputy Director Henry Wallmeyer at wallmeyer@parking.org or 540.371.7535, ext. 21.

Founded in 1962, the International Parking Institute is the largest and leading trade association representing the parking industry. Members include professionals from cities, transit and transportation agencies, academic institutions, hospitals, airports, theme parks, corporate complexes, race tracks, convention and sports centers, port authorities, civic centers, architects, engineers, financial consultants, urban planners and suppliers of equipment, products and services to the parking and transportation industry. www.parking.org.

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