The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently released the two-page Action Guide, Fire as a Weapon: Security Awareness for Soft Targets and Crowded Places PDF 870 KB. It is part of the Securing Soft Targets and Crowded Spaces information collection.
The document details a few incidents of foreign and domestic use of weaponized fire in the past two years. Examples range from simple acts of arson with terrorist or extremist motives to more complex attacks such as launched improvised incendiary devices.
Some potential indicators include theft of large or heavy-duty vehicles, purchase of hazardous materials, suspicious questioning about things like egress methods or water supply, and social media messaging that promotes fire as a weapon. None of these things should be taken individually as indicators.
DHS suggests access controls for security planning purposes to include:
- Employing monitoring, surveillance and inspection requirements.
- Defining a perimeter and identifying locations needing special access controls.
- Maintaining an inventory of all flammable or combustible materials.
- Inspecting packages, bags or briefcases for everyone entering the premises.
This document is unclassified and can be shared with private sector partners who may encounter some of the potential indicators listed. Examples of private sector partners include industrial sites with chemical precursors, venues or other facilities hosting large numbers of people, transportation hubs, vehicle or truck rental companies, and schools or universities.