Growing Numbers of Parking Professionals are Part of America's Anti-Terrorism Effort

More than 7,000 parking professionals have been trained in the First Observer
parking-specific program developed by the International Parking Institute with the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration

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

Fredericksburg, VA -- The parking attendant who waves you into the parking garage or hands you a parking stub is increasingly likely to be a foot soldier in the war on terrorism thanks to a program launched just over one year ago by the International Parking Institute (IPI), the world's largest association of parking professionals and the parking industry.

"Terrorists can use parked cars or trucks to carry, conceal or serve as bombs. Parked vehicles were involved in the bombing of the World Trade Center terrorist attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the more recent attempted bombing in Times Square,"explains Shawn Conrad, IPI's executive director. "Parking professionals are truly on the front lines of counter-terrorism and we take that role very seriously."

To date, more than 7,000 parking First Observers have been certified as part of a parking-specific program developed by the International Parking Institute with the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration.

According to Conrad, that  number is growing rapidly as more local government officials, universities, sports venues, commercial parking companies and other property owners mandate that their parking personnel be certified in counter-terrorism awareness.

The parking-specific module of the First Observer arms parking professionals with the skills they need to address five critical security areas: on-street, surface lots, garages/decks, special events, and shuttle operations. It enables them to identify a potential threat, provides background on different terrorist groups and their patterns of operation, gives an overview of weapons, and details case studies of terror situations. First Observers build the skills to report potential situations using a concise, accurate and simple communications process.

A national security and safety awareness program, First Observer is operated under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Transportation Security Administration. Its mission is to enhance and promote through awareness our ability to protect our  infrastructure from risks associated with terrorism.

William Arrington, general manager, Highway and Motor Carrier Division at TSA agrees: "Training thousands of parking professionals to serve as 'eyes and ears' within parking facilities is helping to keep our communities safe."

More information about the First Observer program for parking professionals is available at the website of the International Parking Institute in the professional development section at www.parking.org.

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