There exists a comparatively small number of NIH Bethesda campus offices and laboratories, etc., where the nature of the facility’s activities and/or stored assets is sufficiently sensitive that heightened security measures must be applied. At these locations, access restrictions are imposed and breaches of security, when and if they occur, are reported directly to senior management staff.
Among the enhanced security measures applicable to these sites is the designation as a “Red Seal Door” facility. When this designation is conferred, the facility is identified by a small red and white decal, affixed to the facility’s main entrance door. The “Red Seal” decal serves to alert Division of Police (hereinafter referred to as the DP) officers that the routine access procedures applicable to most NIH offices and laboratories do not apply to the facility in question. Instead, access is governed by the provisions of this procedure.
During normal business hours (defined as non-holiday weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.), and at the discretion of Red Seal facilities’ lab/office managers, Red Seal doors may be left in an open condition and workers are not required to be present.
During other periods (non-business hours), Red Seal doors may be left in an open or unlocked condition only when the facility is occupied by a worker assigned to that facility. Further, if a Red Seal door is left open or unlocked in this manner, an authorized worker must be present within the facility in such a manner that allows the worker to observe entries and to challenge any unauthorized individual who may enter. If no such worker is in place and a Red Seal door is found in an open or unlocked condition, the DP will consider the condition a security breach, and will take immediate action to ensure the integrity of the room(s) in question.
Requests for new Red Seals must be submitted to the ORS Division of Police Director, (Chief) Alvin D. Hinton, who will consider the request on the basis of the security need and program purpose. Requests should be forwarded by the interested lab/office manager, utilizing a Red Seal Request form. The request must specify why the rooms require the heightened level of security afforded Red Seal Doors. Normally, if a suite of offices must be secured, only the exterior hallway door(s) leading to the interior suite must be designated as a Red Seal Door. The requestor should also enter the names and contact numbers for a primary and alternate emergency contact person. These persons are the employees whom the DP will contact in the event emergency responders must access the Red Seal room. The contact persons should be in a supervisory capacity, and authorized to make decisions regarding an emergency involving the Red Seal room. The requestor themselves may be listed as one of the contacts. The requestor may also choose to submit an Assisted Entry Authorization/Emergency Contact form. The form must include the name and position for at least one, and as many as three workers who the requestor has designated should be allowed DP assisted access to the locked facility. If no Assisted Entry Authorization form is submitted, no one, except for emergency responders, as detailed below, will be given DP assisted entry to a locked Red Seal door.
When a Red Seal door lab/office manager must make changes to those persons granted assisted entry privileges, or if changes must be made to the emergency contact list, he or she must complete a new Assisted Entry Authorization/Emergency Contact form, with the revised date, and email the form directly to the Community Policing Coordinator. Revised forms should be submitted as soon as the personnel changes occur, as the Assisted Entry Authorization and Emergency Contact lists, once the revised form is received by the DP, may not be updated to reflect the changes for two business days.
Whenever a lab/office manager determines that the Red Seal designation is no longer needed, that official can request that the Red Seal be removed. The requestor must submit a Red Seal Removal Request form to the Community Policing Coordinator.
When a worker contacts the DP with a request to be allowed access to a locked Red Seal door, the officer will examine the worker’s NIH ID badge or other government issued photo identification and confirm that:
The officer will unlock the Red Seal door for the requesting worker if all the above criteria are met.
If the officer determines the individual does not meet the criteria, entry shall not be facilitated by the DP, regardless of the worker’s position, status, or claimed need.
Some facilities post copies of their authorization access and emergency contact lists on the inside of their Red Seal doors. These lists are unofficial as far as the DP is concerned. They will neither be used by any DP officer to determine whether a given worker qualifies for lockout assistance, nor for the purposes of emergency notification. Only those workers whose names appear on the DP Authorized Access List will be provided police-assisted entry to a Red Seal door.
DP officers will open Red Seal doors to facilitate entry by police, fire, or EMS personnel during an emergency. Officers also shall open Red Seal doors to facilitate entry by NIH maintenance personnel seeking to perform emergency repairs (e.g., repair burst pipes). Officers will not facilitate entry by maintenance staff seeking to make non-emergency repairs and will not facilitate entry by custodial staff for any reason. When an officer permits an emergency responder access to a Red Seal door, the DP will attempt to notify one of the room’s emergency contact persons. If unsuccessful, a notification to the building’s Facility Manager will be attempted.
The above requirements for a worker’s name to appear on the Authorized Access List applies only to the provision of police lockout assistance, and does not mean that workers whose names are not on the list are prohibited from being in the facility during non-business hours. If a worker enters a facility through a Red Seal door by using a key or NIH ID badge in his or her possession, and does not request police assistance, the worker shall be presumed to have authorization to be inside the facility.
The responsibility to ensure the NIH Police are provided current emergency contact and assisted entry authorization names, is solely that of the office/lab manager charged with operational control of the Red Seal room(s). The NIH Police will not be responsible for the inclusion on either list of an employee or contractor whose name should have been removed from said list, unless an updated Assisted Entry Authorization/Emergency Contact form was submitted to the Community Policing Coordinator.
However, the NIH Police will annually request that Red Seal Door managers review their lists and submit updates.