14 September 2001 00:15 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--US chemical companies "heightened and tightened" security at hundreds of production sites worldwide Thursday, reduced air travel and donated funds to rescue efforts in the wake of Tuesday's terror attacks.
Dow Chemical initially imposed a global ban on air travel for its personnel but lifted the ban Wednesday, in part because no one could fly in the US anyway. Dow spokeswoman Leslie Hatfield noted too that the company has instituted "a higher level of security at all of our 171 manufacturing sites in 35 countries."
Hatfield declined, as a matter of security, to provide many details about the company's stepped-up security precautions, but she said employees worldwide have been directed to display clearly their identification badges and to operate at "a high level of security awareness." Public tours of Dow facilities at the company's Midland, Michigan headquarters and elsewhere have been cancelled.
As have other firms, Dow Chemical announced today that it is donating substantial sums to rescue and relief efforts, with Dow committing $500 000 (Euro550 000) to the Red Cross and an additional $500 000 to a special "September 11 Relief Fund" organised by the nationwide US charitable group, United Way.
BASF Corporation of Mount Olive, New Jersey also reported heightened security at its facilities but said all its North American plants are running normally. BASF Corporation, the US affiliate of Germany's BASF, established a "911 Fund" to aid the families of police, fire and emergency medical personnel who perished in Tuesday's attacks in New York City. The fund name, 911, represents the date of the attacks, September 11th, and also reflects the standard emergency telephone number US citizens nationwide use to summon help from police, fire departments or medical teams.
Eastman Chemical of Kingsport, Tennessee reported "heightened and tightened" security measures at its facilities, including tighter restrictions on access to plants and more frequent security patrols on plant perimeter roads.
St Louis, Missouri-based Solutia said it too has increased security awareness in the wake of Tuesday's horrific attacks. Spokeswoman Beth Rusert said the company "is more rigorously following the procedures we already had in place."
At Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based Kerr-McGee, spokeswoman Deborah Schramm said the company has curtailed domestic and international travel and tightened security at all facilities. Access to company sites is "restricted to employees and authorised contractors," she said, noting that all plants are operating normally.
At Albemarle in Richmond, Virginia, spokesman Ray Kozakewicz said the company "remains on a high level of alertness" and employees have been encouraged not to travel domestically by air for the near term.
Perhaps as a forecast of what may yet come, Dow's president and chief executive Mike Parker alerted company executives that "In the US, some employees may be called to duty with the National Guard…".
US National Guard forces are reserve military units that can be called to active duty in times of national emergency or to fill out regular army ranks in time of war.
(Additional reporting in Houston by Mike Sheridan.)
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