Simple lesson, well learned. Well done, Walmart!
Well Done Walmart! Bollards Done Right Protected the Employees, Customers, and Storefront at the location in Princeton, Texas
Simple. Clean. Effective. In an area with almost no setbacks and a tight space shared by cars, pedestrians, and customers with shopping carts, Walmart prevented tragedy in Princeton Texas cheaply and effectively.
Simple lesson, well learned. Well done, Walmart!
After a tragedy, the City of Midfield Alabama took immediate action -- Midfield passed a storefront safety ordinance in just over one week!
In a little more than a week, this town saw the tragedy, saw the problem, and resolved to find a solution. The result: an ordinance requiring safety bollards in front of retail stores and other vulnerable locations
Contact me if you want a copy of the ordinance. Here is the media report:
Midfield passes ordinance for barriers in front of businesses after fatal crash
By WIAT Staff Published: March 1, 2017, 1:20 pm Updated: March 1, 2017, 5:36 pm
MIDFIELD, Ala. (WIAT) — The City of Midfield passed an ordinance on Monday at their council meeting after an SUV crashed into a dentist’s office, killing 6-year-old Camlyn Lee.
Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson says the ordinance is for businesses to place a barrier in front of their building if parking is within 10 feet of the entrance to the facility.
Current businesses are grandfathered in and will not have to make those changes unless they make changes to their building or the parking lot at that point the new rule will apply.
The dentist’s office Vital Smiles where the fatal crash occurred will be putting up the barrier in front of their structure.
In the America’s heartland, many of us live out our everyday lives without the worry of terrorist striking close to our towns and cities, simply believing that the threat of terrorism will not visit their own home town or city. Since 911 our government has successfully thwarted similar attacks on a grand scale, but they have been unsuccessful at stopping them entirely, as terrorists today have changed their strategy and are now striking softer targets which could occur right here in the state of Kentucky.
A very alarming threat and growing new trend is the increase in vehicle ramming attacks on innocent people going about their day. Terrorists overseas have suggested conducting vehicle ramming attacks— using modified or unmodified vehicles — against crowds, buildings, and other vehicles.
This seemingly new and destructive form of terrorist attack is fast becoming one that security experts fear the most, because it can cause untold carnage and seemingly can come out of nowhere.
While Homeland security has sophisticated systems in place to alert them to those acquiring weapons or explosives, getting your hands on a vehicle is very easy. These low-tech vehicle attacks can be carried out by lone wolf terrorists who are inspired by an ideology but are not actually working within a specific political movement or group making them harder to detect. Vehicle ramming attacks offer terrorists who have limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct an attack with minimal prior training or experience with little to no warning.
Such attacks could be used to target locations where large numbers of people congregate, including sporting events, entertainment venues, festivals, parades, fireworks displays, public school functions, universities or shopping centers. In essence, any such event that attracts a high number of people in a confining space could be a target.
One of the very first deadly vehicle ramming terrorist attacks in our history was the attack in Beirut barracks bombing on October 23, 1983 when two trucks bombs struck separate buildings killing 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers, six civilians.
Such events have remained rare until Israel started to experience such attacks in growing numbers over the past decade. Then here recently such attacks have started to increase worldwide in the last year, where the body counts have been rather significant.
On December 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany, a truck was deliberately driven into the Christmas market. The attack left 12 people dead and 56 others injured. One of the victims was the truck’s original driver, who was found shot dead in the passenger seat. The perpetrator was a Tunisian asylum and was killed four days after the attack in a shootout with police near Milan, Italy.
On November 28, 2016 at Ohio State University, a car ramming attack and mass stabbing occurred at 9:52 a.m. EST in Columbus, OH. The attacker, a Somali refugee, was shot and killed by the first responding OSU police officer, and 13 people were hospitalized for injuries. The next day law enforcement officials stated that the attacker was inspired by terrorist propaganda from the ISIS.
On the evening of July 14, 2016 in Nice France, a 19-ton cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day resulting in the deaths of 86 people and injuring another 434.
Attacks like those in Berlin or Nice are easy to replicate and difficult to prevent, that is the simple fact. Sensitive facilities, such as airports and transportation hubs, government and military buildings already have the proper security crash and attack-resistant bollards in place to prevent such attacks. Many of these anti ramming barriers are disguised as flower boxes, benches, street lights, garbage bins, etc.
What is concerning to me as a risk management and safety profession aren’t the large venues in larger cities, but instead the smaller venues in small towns and cities.
Sizeable crowds show up to weekly summer music concerts, marathons, festivals, parades …etc., producing crowds where several hundred to several thousands in attendance. Many of these events will have street vendors, alcohol and food concessions; with entire families, strollers, pets standing in the middle of a street distracted by the events of venue, like bowling pins in a bowling alley.
These events usually occur on closed-off streets in the heart of that community, obstructed only with safety cones — without any anti-ramming security barriers in place to protect the public from a vehicle ramming attack.
With enough planning and time major larger cities have caught on and are now employing temporary concrete barriers to block streets off. Some cities will also strategically place dump trucks filled with sand to help thwart ramming attacks. Just recently in New York City used more than 80 sanitation trucks along the 2 ½ mile route for the Macy Day Parade this past Thanksgiving as protection.
Unfortunately every defense has its flaws and consequently security experts has been tossing around the deployment of a technology already developed called “directed EMP devices” as a countermeasure to stop car ramming attacks once they have begun.
If deployed these electromagnetic pulse devises could be used by local police to disable a vehicle by simply pointing the device at the moving vehicle, boat, or construction equipment involved in the attack, by emitting radio frequency pulses that overload the sensors in a vehicle’s electronic controls. For as long as it emits the pulses, the engine cannot be restarted. If vehicle-based ramming attacks trends continue to increase, I would expect that local law enforcement agencies will start deploying these as a countermeasure.
The reality is that you can’t protect every event from an attack like this and it is impossible to reduce the risk to zero. Crowds of people are abundant in just about every American town or city and law enforcement must be prepared to protect them from an evolving playbook of terrorist tactics.
Law enforcement agencies as well as the general public should be zealously aware of suspicious activity that could be indicative that a vehicle ramming attack is being plotted.
Here are some countermeasures to consider.
In the interim regardless of size of the community, event planners, mayors, county government officials and/or police chiefs must begin to consider the use of temporary barriers, sanitation trucks or dump trucks to adequately barracked. Consideration should be given to physically obstructing roadways leading into special events that involve dense pedestrian traffic in every community within our great state.
Remember — if you are alert today, you will be alive tomorrow!
Be Safe My Friend.
Keven Moore works in risk management services. He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Keven can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goleta California in October. Kettering Ohio and Encinitas California this week. Three storefront crashes at Trader Joe's stores in three months. For a chain that values and promotes its image of a happy team working to serve happy communities, these three crashes (after more than a half dozen over the last three years) show a large gap between what gets said and what gets done at Trader Joe's.
Since announcing their comprehensive storefront protection program called “Universal Parameters for Site Safety Low Speed Barriers" in 2015, Trader Joe's has suffered a number of additional crashes and suffered millions of dollars in judgements and settlements stemming from storefront crashes. Apparently, progress has been very slow on their protection program, because none of the photos of Goleta, Kettering, or Encinitas show any sort of protection for pedestrians, customers, and employees.
The Grocery Industry has been ON NOTICE for years that this problem exists -- insurers, risk managers, and safety folks like the Storefront Safety Council have all documented the problem. Programs that have been announced and/or already underway by companies in the grocery industry are being praised and recognized by many, including our own Storefront Safety Initiative. On that topic, please see www.storefrontsafetyinitiative.org
With something more than 60 vehicle-into-building crashes per day, storefront crashes are a national problem. They will not stop by themselves. If a company announces a safety program and does a poor job of follow-through, what is the message they are sending to employees and customers? Ask Cumberland Farms, who lost a Massachusetts case last year that will cost them several tens of millions of dollars in damages for a single wrongful death of a customer.
Three accidents in three months. It doesn't have to be this way.
Another Storefront Crash at a Trader Joe's Store. Grocery Chain Falters In Program To Protect Customers and Employees.
A Trader Joe's grocery store suffered a serious injury crash on 8 October. A vehicle operated by an elderly driver crashed into the storefront -- the cause of the accident is as yet unknown. However, the lack of protection from such accidents is VERY WELL KNOWN. A rash of similar crashes caused Trader Joe's to initiate "Universal Parameters For Site Safety" which includes the installation of barriers to protect storefront from oncoming vehicles.
Clearly -- no effective barriers were installed at the Trader Joe's in Goleta:
Trader Joe's has paid large damage awards in previous accidents, and has initiated a program to prevent such incidents from happening again. But good intentions are not the same as good progress -- we will be continuing to monitor their progress. Sadly, we just have to keep watching the news to see how they are doing.
September is Preparedness Month -- Prepare Now to Prevent Storefront Crashes Later Using Design "Best Practices"
September is National Preparedness Month And has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a time for civilians, government, businesses, and institutions to join together to start planning to prevent tragedy and catastrophe BEFORE disasters occur. For more about this program, see this link at READY.GOV
We here at the Storefront Safety Council want to point out that when a car crashes into a convenience store or a restaurant or a dentist's office, it is indeed a disaster for a customer that is killed or an employee severely injured. It is surely a disaster for a small business owner suddenly faced with structural repairs, lost business time, and lost inventory or equipment.
The point is an obvious one; the best way to prepare for the disaster of a vehicle crashing into a building is to prevent the crash in the first place. Planning and best practices and simple efforts can pay off in the form or decades of safe operation and zero vehicle disasters at your business or property.
It really is all about being prepared.
With New Legislation, California Takes The Lead In Promoting Safety Where We Work, Play, Eat and Shop.
AB-2161, written and championed by California State Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-20), passed the California Assembly and Senate with no dissenting votes, and was signed into law July 22 by Governor Jerry Brown. The new law makes California the first state in the U.S. to encourage through statute the use of protective safety barriers at vulnerable locations including parking lots, retail centers, office buildings and restaurants.
The law "provides that the use of certain vehicle barriers at a commercial property may be considered by insurers as safety devices that qualify for a discount on the owner's insurance premiums," explained Storefront Safety Council Co-Founder Rob Reiter. "Prior to adoption of the appropriate standards by the California Building Standards Commission, the new law defines an appropriate barrier as a device 'that is installed to protect persons located within, in, or on the property of, buildings, or to protect pedestrians, from collisions into those buildings by motor vehicles'."
Assemblyman Quirk worked on the bill for two years, with support from The Storefront Safety Council and many stakeholders, and with staff support from Legislative Assistant Miranda Flores in the 2016 term and from Dr. Scott Sellars, 2014-2015 Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the California State Legislature, during the 2015 term. The full text of the bill and the legislative counsel's digest is available online, and is reprinted below:
The Storefront Safety Council applauds the hard work of Assemblyman Quirk and his staff. This important legislation sets the pace for the rest of the nation, costs taxpayers nothing, and will help guide standards and building codes in California and nationally in the coming months and years. The use of discounts as an incentive to property owners and businesses will encourage adoption of these safety measures even for older properties that want to reduce liability risks today and amortize savings over longer timelines.
Assembly Bill No. 2161
An act to add Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11895) to Part 3 of Division 2 of the Insurance Code, relating to parking lots.
[Approved by Governor July 22, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State July 22, 2016.]
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 2161, Quirk. Parking lots: design: insurance discount.
Existing law provides that building standards shall be filed by the California Building Standards Commission with the Secretary of State and codified only after they have been approved by the commission. Existing law regulates the issuance and renewal of liability insurance policies in this state.
This bill would authorize an insurer to consider the installation of vehicle barriers as a safety measure and would authorize an insurer to provide or offer a discount on the property owner’s insurance covering damage or loss to the covered commercial property or liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of the commercial property relative to the reduced risk of installation of the barriers. The bill would require that any discounts be determined to be actuarially sound and approved by the Insurance Commissioner prior to their use.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Why Does a Family of Four Have To Pay The Price For Wal-Mart's Failure To Place Barriers Close Enough To Keep A Truck From Driving Between Them?
Last night in Kingsport Tennessee, a driver drove BACKWARDS into a Wal-Mart store, drove BETWEEN bollards installed too far apart to do any good, and slammed into a family of four who was exiting the store. All four -- mother, father and two young children, were rushed to the hospital.
There is a great piece of reporting including an on-scene stand-up that explains the layout and the situation quite well (no video of the accident itself, so no horror scenes.) Video from local station WJHL HERE
Goal post bollards -- we have written about them before. Costco, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, and many others have had accidents where bollards or safety barriers are installed NOT to prevent head-on crashes into storefronts but instead intended to keep vehicles from pulling up parallel to the sidewalk to load and unload. Millions and millions of shoppers and pedestrians are able to pass between bollards and other safety barriers just fine -- with their carts -- so this phenomenon of "unsafety barriers" has no rationale that makes sense.
Final irony; this accident occurred on the same day that a jury in Massachusetts found convenience store chain Cumberland Farms liable in the death of Kimmy Dubuque when she was killed in a storefront crash in 2010. The jury awarded her family $32 million in damages -- due in part to evidence presented that Cumberland Farms had recorded hundreds of storefront crashes in years previous and dragged its feet on an announced program to protect patrons and employees at all of their stores.
I am sure we will hear a great deal about this Wal-Mart case and about this family in the days and weeks to come. This sort of accident is foreseeable, predictable, and preventable. A family of four has been injured in an accident that is WAY too much like so many others. It didn't have to be this way.
Another car crashes into another grocery store......and once again, another grocery store with no protective barriers sacrifices pedestrians and customer and employees who might be grabbing a shopping cart or entering or exiting through one of the doors. In this accident in Brick Township in New Jersey, two pedestrians were injured when a vehicle driven by an 88 year-old lost control while coming down the drive aisle car aimed directly at the store. The photo above shows the result -- except for the two injured pedestrians, who were transported to hospitals, one by medevac flight. Photo and great coverage from Shorebeat.com HERE
Now you may say that this was a fluke accident, except that the Storefront Safety Council has documented hundreds of such crashes and has raised awareness of the risks to the public that the grocery industry (and the property owners who build and own these buildings and centers) have for the most part simply tolerated.
In addition, this accident was not a fluke at all -- a quick review of the photo below (thanks Google Earth!) clearly shows that any vehicle driving in the parking lot to park in any of the spaces in this particular drive aisle is aimed directly at the ShopRite store. ShopRite should know better -- after all, they have been defendants in a number of cases like this one over the years. You would think taking action to improve safety would be much cheaper than paying out injury claims over and over again....
So three weeks after the last blog post about the grocery industry being ON NOTICE, here is another one -- because these accidents just keep happening and the inaction shows that the industry as a whole has elected to ignore this known hazardous condition to persist. For a link to our previous Grocery Industry blog post (and the post before that one!) you will find it HERE.
There are better designs for parking lots, for traffic flows, for storefront alignments and construction, and for simple and effective barriers. Twenty accidents PER DAY in the convenience store / small market portion of the grocery industry alone. Hundreds more per year throughout the rest of the industry.
Oh -- I had said there were TWO crashes. Same day, same result. Different circumstances. But this accident was in a location where security camera video was available. The video will show you what the previous story did not -- it sucks to be inside a store when a driver crashes through the front door. Story and video HERE
As we always note -- it doesn't have to be this way.
Welcome to the Storefront Safety Blog page. Here we will post articles relating to recent crashes, updates on new codes and standards along with various other pieces of information relating to storefront crashes and our mission.