Frequently Asked Questions
A: CEAS participation by businesses is paid based on an annual subscription fee. This fee is determined by company size and credential allotment availability.
Q: Does the government profit from the CEAS program?
A: No. Government does not receive any revenue from the CEAS program. Businesses are crucial to a community’s economic well-being. Municipalities benefit from the CEAS program by facilitating the flow of private resources into effected communities thus reducing reliance on government by restoring free market services and lifelines.
Q: What happens if CEAS cards get into the wrong hands?
A: The CEAS card credential does not provide the cardholder any form of access to any location(s) until after an effected municipality or region declares an emergency event and activates the CEAS system. Company Coordinators have the ability to revoke access privileges for any cardholder whose credential has been lost or possibly stolen. Lost or stolen cards should be immediately reported to the Company Coordinator and BNET. The validity of any given credential can be authenticated by law enforcement officials through a smartphone app available anywhere, at any time. Anyone presenting a revoked CEAS credential will be denied access, and the card may be confiscated.
Q: Will the police recognize my CEAS card when I present it?
A: Yes, law enforcement agencies have developed written procedures to train officers to recognize the credentials.
Q: What if I present my card but the police officer denies me access?
A: CEAS cardholders must always comply with a police officer's decision to deny access, regardless of the reason given. Keep in mind that access may be limited or denied at any time during activation due to changing conditions. If during an official CEAS activation there appears to be uncertainty regarding enforcement of the system, cardholder(s) should always comply with the police directive and then may call BNET at 888-353-(2638) for clarification.
Q: How will we know when CEAS gets activated?
A: In some communities the CEAS program is always “active”, in others the Chief Elected Official or his/her designee will authorize activating CEAS. BNET will notify Company Coordinators directly of an activation in their community through Send Word Now, an emergency notification service, through email, voice and text messages.
Q: Does my CEAS card guarantees access to my facility?
A: CEAS offers no guarantee of access to a given facility. The CEAS credential only provides access past the police barrier. Furthermore, the affected location may have a building management company which may also deny access inside the facility due to safety concerns. Even if CEAS is activated, access may be limited or denied at any time by the police due to changing conditions. Although access is not guaranteed, CEAS offers all participating businesses the best opportunity for access during an emergency. BNET recommends that companies discuss access protocol with their building managers in advance,and integrate the information in their disaster recovery plans.
Q: I have outside service providers that are critical to my business recovery. How do I get them into an affected facility?
A: There are specific rules defined for Essential Service Providers. (click here)
Q: Who is BNet, and why are Cities partnering with them?
A: BNet was created as a result of the New York State Joint Loss Reduction Partnership (JLRP) conducted throughout the State and funded by FEMA. The study was conducted to determine the primary roadblocks to business recovery following a disaster. Re-entry to the workplace when faced with lack of coordination with local emergency managers and law enforcement was determined to be the biggest obstacle to rapid recovery. BNet Board of Directors and public-sector Advisory Board are comprised of volunteers from businesses and government agencies across the Northeast. These volunteers worked together to design a system that met the needs of businesses while maintaining appropriate controls for public safety. Our municipal partners have adopted CEAS because the system offers a cost-effective method to resolve the historic problem of controlling access into a restricted area.
Q: Why don’t municipalities provide this service instead of BNet?
A: System development, maintenance, administration, card production and oversight would be financially very costly to municipal governments -and would require significant human resource commitment. Further, interoperability of standardized credentials would be difficult to achieve between municipalities within a region. BNET is better equipped to create the necessary common systems, standardized rules and access devices to leverage all associated costs across implementations throughout participating regions.
Q: What types of companies currently participate in the CEAS program?
A: A diverse array of businesses currently participates in the CEAS program. Organizations from the financial services sector, insurance, commercial property management, pharmaceutical and bio-research industries make up the majority of users; however, small and mid-sized companies from all industries in the private sector also participate in the program.
Q: What is required of businesses participating in CEAS?
A: Businesses must designate Company Coordinators responsible to administer the program at the corporate level. Coordinators must screen and identify appropriate critical employees who will apply for the CEAS card. They must also manage the distribution, collection, and replacement of CEAS cards, maintaining an accurate accounting of their employees. All cardholders must be trained using the BNet web-training tool. Businesses must also comply with specific requirements related to suitable levels of commercial liability insurance coverage as well as indemnification agreements as prescribed by the City and BNet.
Q: What type of employees would you recommend as CEAS credential holders?
A: A company needs to consider immediate risks to maintaining critical business functions, processes and activities such as damage assessment, technology shutdowns/switch over, critical data and document removal, and physical protection and building restoration. Therefore, the CEAS cardholders selected by the Company are generally those employees and/or third-party providers determined to be critical to protect assets and provide for continuity of essential functions following an emergency. There is no guarantee how long cardholders will be allowed to remain within any restricted area. The workplace may be affected for a significant stretch of time where conditions become prohibitive or the situation deteriorates.
Q: Many of my employees live outside of the CEAS jurisdiction. Will the CEAS card be valid in other states or counties?
A: Use of the CEAS program is established by written agreement between BNet and an authorizing municipality. Non-participating, adjoining municipalities may recognize the credential when allowing traffic through their jurisdictions, but, without an agreement in place, travel restrictions may still apply. CEAS Plans include provisions for requesting that adjoining jurisdictions honor CEAS cardholders where travel restrictions are in affect.
Q: What is involved in the CEAS Program Orientation and how long will it take?
A: CEAS training is a high level overview of the program that includes the basic concept of the program operation, how it functions, and integration with public safety. It is provided in a PowerPoint format and requires about 20 minutes to review the presentation and take a short quiz.