First Observer, a national terrorism awareness program that makes use of the skills, experiences and "savvy" of Americans who spend a good part of their working day in America's surface transportation industry, is now offering terrorism awareness training online. The 38- minute course can be viewed all at once or in sections as an individual's time permits.
Individuals who are transportation professionals are eligible for certification, including truckers, school and transit bus drivers, law enforcement officials and others with a commercial driver's license. Emergency first responders, infrastructure personnel and security personnel are also eligible for certification.
The terrorism awareness training is designed to teach people to recognize potential safety and security threats to themselves and/or to their vehicle. If they see suspicious activities, First Observer participants are taught how to file a report through a special hotline, where a trained operator can assess the nature and urgency of the call and route the information provided to the appropriate authorities. Calls involving potential security threats are immediately forwarded to the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC) where reported situations are analyzed by security experts and shared with government intelligence officials and other law enforcement agencies.
"We're very pleased to add another tool to the First Observer program's training arsenal," noted ISAC director, Don L. Rondeau. "The First Observer program and the subsequent creation of a national Information Sharing and Analysis Center to analyze the reports being made by First Observer participants is a key component of America's new anti-terrorism efforts. The more transportation professionals we have making reports to the national call center, the more likely it is that we'll be able to detect potential terrorist activities. We strongly encourage all transportation professionals to join us today."First Observer is fully funded through FY 2011 by U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) monies allocated in the FY 2008 Trucking Security Program. It is managed by Team HMS, which is comprised of the HMS Co., Total Security Services International, Inc., the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assoc. and Patton Boggs LLC and supported by other transportation organizations and associations.