At the request of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Self Storage Association (SSA) has notified its 6,000 members, its state association affiliates and their members, and thousands of individual self-storage facility managers and operators, of the potential for self-storage units to be used by terrorists. Investigators believe that people planning acts of domestic terrorism, or terrorism within U.S. borders, could use self-storage facilities as a place to store illegal materials or to assemble them. The SSA advised its members to notify their local Joint Terrorism Task Force immediately if they observe anything that makes them suspect that terrorist, suspicious, or illegal behavior may be in progress.
The DHS has recruited quite a few leaders from various businesses to be part of an anti-terrorism task force called the DHS Commercial Facilities Subsector Coordinating Council of the Infrastructure Protection Task Force. For this task force, DHS focuses on sectors of the real estate and other commercial industries that may be potential terrorism targets or that have the potential to be used by or come into contact with potential terrorists. The SSA participates with this task force as well, and the SSA and its members have done everything that they can to aid authorities since September 11, 2001.
“I am quite proud of the self storage industry’s level of sincere interest and proactive participation in preventing the use of any SSA member-owned and operated self storage unit for illegal or terrorist activity,” commented Michael T. Scanlon, Jr., the SSA’s president and CEO. “We have put in place a series of security-oriented programs and publications to directly inform our membership and to educate and train our front-counter facility managers to recognize suspicious behavior and the necessary steps to immediately report such activity to the proper authorities.” He added, “Our members are actively cooperating and working with everyone from the Department of Homeland Security, the Joint Terrorism Task Force participants across the nation, to the FBI and local police forces — even going so far as offering the use of our self storage facilities for the ongoing training of bomb-sniffing and drug-sniffing police dogs to preemptively detect those who might try to use rented storage space for nefarious illegal or terrorist activity.”
Over the last five years, the SSA has also started a “Spotlight on Security” education and information program. Last year the SSA published a new book called Security for the Self Storage Industry. These publications and other materials emphasize learning how to prevent the illegal use of self storage units for terrorist-related activity.
The SSA was founded in 1975. It is the national not-for-profit trade and lobbying organization for the self-storage industry, representing about 6,000 self-storage companies that operate around 22,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S., Canada, and 29 other countries. SSA also has affiliates in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America.