Concrete barriers as anti-terror protection mostly useless and dangerous!

Insufficient effectiveness and missing test certificates

Learn in this article why the use of concrete barriers and barriers hardly show effectiveness and in the worst case can even become dangerous weapons.

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Concrete barriers can turn into dangerous weapons

Since the sad series of attacks involving trucks in Nice, Berlin and Barcelona, security precautions have been drastically increased in many European countries. Cities and municipalities are equipping themselves with anti-terror barriers, security bollards and concrete barriers (Jersey blocks). The concrete blocks are used primarily at events with large gatherings of people. However, this is often pure actionism. This is because many of these vehicle restraint barriers are insufficiently dimensioned and, in most cases, are also installed incorrectly. There is a lack of test certificates and evidence of the effectiveness of these anti-terrorist barriers. If the concrete blocks are installed incorrectly, they can become dangerous projectiles, posing a further risk to people.

The example in the video makes it clear: If an ordinary 40-ton truck speeds toward a festival site at 80 km/h and rams into a concrete block weighing one ton, the blockade is simply pushed out of the way. The truck still continues to drive at about 77 km/h afterwards! The concrete blockade, however, is thrown more than 10 meters to the side like a billiard ball. In many cases, concrete blocks convey a deceptive feeling of safety. Yes, they are even dangerous.

Bollards and urban space elements for long-term protection of city centers

In the long term, the use of discreet barriers with impact loads such as safety bollards makes sense. The integration of so-called urban space elements (protective street furniture) also makes sense. These are, for example, reinforced flower pots, bicycle racks, trash cans, benches or sculptures. All these protective elements are well anchored in the ground with strip footings. High curbs or decorative concrete walls are also good protective measures, as they prevent pedestrians from driving fast.

Mobile anti-terrorist barriers

When temporarily blocking access roads, as in the case of events, properly sized and, if possible, tested protective devices should be used. When using vehicles as mobile “barriers” – only those vehicles should be used which weigh at least 2.5 tons and can be easily removed depending on the situation (case of panic, passage of emergency vehicles, etc.). In the case of anti-terrorist barriers with concrete blocks, those with a weight of two tons or more should be used. The barriers should be firmly connected to each other, the use of heavy chains between the barriers is possible, but not always recommended; here it is necessary to pay attention to the correct dimensioning of the chains and good connection with the concrete block.

A very good variant is the use of special IBC (water container) barriers filled with water. These have meanwhile been tested for protective applications and have the advantage that even heavy vehicles can be stopped. Furthermore, in the event of a collision, no dangerous parts detach from the barrier – only water escapes. When using temporary barriers, it should always be ensured that no persons can be injured by the protective devices – either by the barrier itself (tripping, cuts, etc.) or, in the event of a collision, by parts flying away.

However, streets and squares do not have to be completely rebuilt or blocked. It would already help if vehicles could not accelerate to more than approx. 30 – 40 kilometers per hour in front of the “protection zones”, for example because benches, sculptures or other elements prevent this. The typical reflexive reaction of passers-by to attacks with vehicles is always the same. First you hear something, then you see something, and only then do you react to the danger with a delay. This reaction time, respectively life-saving seconds, must be provided for them.

We advise cities, communities and security managers as well as planners without obligation and free of charge on the selection of the necessary security elements that fit the defined security concept.

Manuel Benaiges - Consel

Manuel Benaiges

Sales Manager /
Sales Switzerland / Export

+41 43 277 60 70 manuel.benaiges@consel.ch

Do you have any questions?

Our sales team is at your disposal for a personal, free consultation.

Francis Seijas- Consel

Francis Seijas

CEO | Access protection expert /
Sales CH / Export

+41 43 277 60 77 francis.seijas@consel.ch