Fire as a weapon: high-rise structures
Sheppard, Adrian Bernard
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This thesis identifies an emerging problem space, high-rise pyro-terrorism. Although modern urban environments are vulnerable to sophisticated arson, and terrorists and lone-wolf attackers have exploited that vulnerability, neither practitioners nor the academic community have addressed the unique threat posed by arson. This thesis fills that gap by showing, first, that a good reason exists to believe that terrorists will use arson against high-profile urban targets in the future; second, that existing regulatory strategies may be sufficient to guard against accidental fires and opportunistic arson, but have weaknesses that sophisticated attackers can identify and exploit; and third, that the approach to urban firefighting must be modified to protect first responders, improve life safety in cases of pyro-terrorism, and facilitate effective collaboration with counter-terrorism forces. This thesis is valuable for an academic audience because it identifies the most pressing gaps in the literature on pyro-terrorism and explains their significance. It is also valuable to practitioners because it highlights vulnerabilities that can be addressed immediately, in a proactive rather than a reactive way.
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