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Culture

Manhole security barriers flying off the shelves

Cities urged to lock up manholes to prevent terrorism and avoid liability for people falling in them.

Very few pitches instill a sense of urgency, even duty in me. But when I received an e-mail pitch on Monday about a gaping hole in the country's security infrastructure, I felt compelled to share.

You don't know, it but every time you walk or drive down the street potential threats to your safety are literally under your feet. Those round portals to the sewers are veritable open doors for anyone with a nasty plan and the means of moving 100 pounds of solid metal.

The September 11 attacks illustrated how vulnerable the country was to terrorism, prompted a marketing campaign by merchants encouraging people to just keep shopping, and also launched a wave of companies seeking to address both of those concerns.

One of them was Manhole Barrier Security Systems, commonly referred to as MBSS. The company's flagship product is the Manhole Barrier Device (MBD), for which it has a utility patent. The MBD, a self-contained locking cover, has attracted customers from the telecom and cable industries, prisons, ports and energy plants, among others with holes in the ground they need to secure.

Here's what it looks like:

Manhole Barrier Security Systems

MBSS is urging cities to lock up their manholes to prevent terrorism as well as to avoid liability if sued by someone who falls in one.

You might ask, what's the tech angle to this story? There is none, really. It's a blog and I'm taking my liberties.