What Airports Can Learn From a Security Breach at Cleveland’s Airport

What Airports Can Learn From a Security Breach at Cleveland's Airport | Delta Scientific.jpg

Airports are not fortresses. That’s what the chief of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport said after a perimeter breach in the early-morning hours of Feb. 3, 2019, when a yellow SUV approached the airport from the west side, crashing through an unattended chain-link gate. The vehicle apparently came to rest in a snowbank, where it was ultimately found, after driving across the airfield for nearly three minutes, crashing through another section of fence in the process.

The airport chief explained how such a troubling security breach could be allowed to occur by saying that security levels vary based on factors such as the level of traffic at the airport and the time of day, pointing out that the incident happened during off hours.

The Problem of Unauthorized Entry

It appears that the driver of the SUV was intoxicated at the time of the breach. Though he faces charges of criminal trespassing and drunk driving, it is unclear what, if any, intention he had when breaching the gate and driving onto the airfield.

However, the fact that a vehicle was able to penetrate the perimeter at all is extremely troubling. According to FEMA, terrorists can use vehicles to carry explosives close to a building and launch an attack. Part of the purpose of perimeter security is to protect high-risk buildings such as airports from unauthorized vehicles by keeping them at an appropriate stand-off distance.

The Solution of K-Rated Barricades

To prevent security breaches such as the one that occurred at Cleveland Hopkins, many airports and other sensitive facilities have erected barriers with K ratings, which is a standard devised by the federal government to prevent the cargo bed of a vehicle from penetrating further than 36 inches onto a property. The K rating is based on the barrier’s capability to withstand the impact of a 15,000-pound vehicle, or medium-duty commercial truck. The speed at which the vehicle travels at the time of impact determines the K rating:

  • K4 rating: 30 miles per hour
  • K8 rating: 40 miles per hour
  • K12 rating: 40 miles per hour

The Importance of Choosing the Right Solution

The matter of the Cleveland airport is complicated by the fact that the gate where the vehicle gained access, though unsupervised at the time of the breach, appears to see traffic during the day. Therefore, static barricades, such as fixed bollards, would not be feasible because they would prevent entry by even authorized vehicles. The solution is a K-rated traffic control device that can be lowered to allow authorized vehicles to enter and raised to prevent penetration by trespassers, even at high speeds.

At Delta Scientific, we have traffic control products to meet all your security needs. Use our convenient online form to contact us today or call us at (661) 575-1100 or email at info@DeltaScientific.com.