CFATS Compliance: The Role of Intelligent Video

Analytics can be the key to meeting standards

With the innovation of intelligent cameras with substantially more on-board image processing, video systems are now available to accurately detect the presence of unauthorized persons over site perimeters and outdoor areas. These smart cameras are designed to filter the effects of environmental elements and provide detection over large areas, regardless of wind, weather or the movement of small animals, trees or blowing trash. When security operations receive accurate information they can mount an appropriate response to the nature of the alert. Such a system yields the necessary “security awareness” around the perimeter to meet CFATS performance standards.

Intelligent video cameras are an economical solution as well. The same image processing that gives smart cameras their outdoor detection accuracy also gives them extended range. Some cameras can automatically detect human-sized objects at distances that exceed 600 meters. As a result, infrastructure requirements (poles, communications and power) can be greatly reduced, lowering overall project costs substantially.

In addition to perimeter security, intelligent video surveillance of outdoor areas is a valuable tool related to other CFATS Risk-Based Performance Standards. These include securing and monitoring restricted areas where chemicals of interest are manufactured, stored or used; deterring insider sabotage; and dealing with specific threats, vulnerabilities or risks. For example, intelligent video can play an important role in protecting internal assets, which often do not have the same types of physical or man-made boundaries found around the perimeter.

In most cases, adding infrastructure around chemical storage tanks would be costly and likely impede the flow of business operations. In this case, intelligent video can be used to create a surveillance “buffer zone” around areas of special concern to control access to volatile areas based on time of day or other criteria to mitigate possible sabotage or theft from insiders.

The key to effective implementation of CFATS is to identify real-world solutions that enable chemical facilities to achieve the 18 risk-based standards. This is a challenge for end-users tasked with meeting the standards, for integrators who will likely specify and install the technology to achieve the standards, and for supplier companies who develop the various systems and components. Obviously, technology is only one aspect of CFATS compliance, but it is an important component that can also help to drive down the costs.

Now that outdoor video analytics can be used as a reliable detection source, chemical facilities can not only achieve accurate detection and trusted alerts, but also can specifically identify detected objects to know the cause of the alert immediately and direct a swift and effective response.

 John Romanowich is CEO of SightLogix Inc.