Transportation Security Administration Honors International Parking Institute for Counter-Terrorism Training Program

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has honored the International Parking Institute with their TSA Partnership Award.
In choosing IPI, the largest trade association of parking professionals and the parking industry, TSA recognized the foresight of the organization's leadership in understanding the importance of training parking professionals as foot soldiers in the war against terrorism.

The award recognizes IPI's role in developing the First Observer training program for parking professionals. Unveiled by the International Parking Institute (IPI) in early 2010, First Observer is a parking-specific, anti-terrorism training program that arms parking professionals with the skills they need to address five critical security areas: on-street, surface lots, garages/decks, special events and shuttle operations. The training enables parking professionals to identify a potential threat, provides background on different terrorist groups and their patterns of operation, gives an overview of weapons, and details case studies of terror situations. First Observers build the skills to report potential situations using a concise, accurate and simple communications process. First Observer is a national anti-terrorism and security awareness program that supports the National Preparedness Guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

 "When the TSA approached IPI about creating a parking-specific version of our First Observer program, their leadership immediately grasped the magnitude of the impact this program could have in reducing risk to our nation's infrastructure," said William Arrington, general manager, Highway and Motor Carrier Division at TSA. "Training thousands of parking professionals to serve as 'eyes and ears' within parking facilities is helping to keep our communities safe."

The First Observer program has become an important initiative for IPI. "Parking professionals are truly on the front lines of counter-terrorism," explained Shawn Conrad, CAE, IPI's executive director. "Parked vehicles were involved in the bombing of the World Trade Center terrorist attack, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the more recent attempted bombing in Times Square. IPI is very proud to partner with the TSA in developing the First Observer program for parking professionals. IPI is honored to receive this award and to continuing our partnership with TSA in the years to come."

The free online training course for parking professionals can be accessed through the IPI website at parking.org. There are several training modules available in the First Observer program. Free end-user, train-the-trainer, web-based training and on-site customized training is also available.

About The International Parking Institute

Founded in 1962, the International Parking Institute is the largest trade association representing the parking industry. Members include professionals from cities, port authorities, civic centers, academic institutions, hospitals, airports, theme parks, corporate complexes, race tracks, transit and transportation agencies, convention and sports centers, architects, engineers, financial consultants, urban planners, commercial parking operators and suppliers of equipment, products and services to the parking and transportation industry.
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