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Security Concerns for Pesticides or Fertilizers

Recent terrorist events have created the need for people handling pesticides and fertilizers to re- evaluate the security of those materials. There are a number of concerns about materials that can be poisonous or explosive ending up in the wrong hands. Fortunately, fall and winter months afford us some time to think about current security measures and make any improvements in physical facilities or policies that appear vulnerable.

The Nebraska Pesticide Program would like you to consider the following:

  • How easy do you make it for an unauthorized person to gain access to pesticides and fertilizer? Can your buildings be entered during times when employees are not present? Are locks and doors secure enough to deter a casual theft?
  • How much unnecessary carryover inventory do you have during the fall and winter months? Why would you want to hold large quantities of pesticides and fertilizers during the off season if there is no financial incentive to do so?
  • How easy is it for an unfamiliar person to buy pesticides or fertilizer from your counter sales staff? Do all of your employees that sell pesticides or fertilizers know all of your customers and/or the people designated to pick up these products? Does your staff ask for identification of unfamiliar customers? Does your staff ask what or where these products will be used?
  • Do you or your staff know what a "sentinel event" is? A sentinel event is a situation or specific occurrence that may indicate someone is testing their plans or your security. Sentinel events could be obvious or unnoticeable. Sentinel events could be things such as unsuccessful forced entry marks on locks or doors, unusual or curious tire marks near pesticide or fertilizer storage facilities, dead animals found in unexpected areas (not road kill), unexplained spills or stains in or near pesticide or fertilizer storage areas, unexpected discovery of tools stolen or leftin storage areas, or unusual telephone calls for the availability of fertilizer or pesticides.

While the NDA wants the public to avoid developing unneeded paranoia about their security, we also feel it is prudent to raise your awareness of the issues impacting all of us in today's world. If you would like further information on security issues or sentinel events, contact Tim Creger or Rich Reiman at (402) 471-2351.

The FBI requests that you expeditiously report any threats or suspicious behavior to your local FBI field office. A listing of FBI field offices can be found on the FBI website.

For additional information and guidelines concerning this topic, consult the following resources:
The Fertilizer Institute Brochures and Posters
National Institute of Justice
Security Management Online
UNL's Safe Transport, Storage, and Disposal publication