Tips from a Security Expert for Keeping Your Building Safe
For facility managers, building security—and the safety of the people inside—has always been a top concern. But in light of recent tragedies that have taken place in public facilities, the security necessary to keep your building safe has changed.
Along with preparing for emergencies like fires, security today also means being prepared for dangerous situations like shootings and working with local law enforcement to develop a plan should the unthinkable happen at your facility.
While we’re not security experts at DPM Care (cleaning commercial carpets, floors and upholstery is our area of expertise), our friend David Blake, Business Development Manager at AlliedBarton Security Services in Nashville, Tennessee, is an expert in this field.
We went to him to learn more about how facility managers can keep their buildings safe in today’s challenging security environment.
6 Ways to Increase the Safety and Security of Your Facility
Based on his experiences working with facility and property managers across industries, here are some top tips from David on how to keep your building secure:
1. Use technology to increase safety and building security
Technology can be a great tool for enhancing the speed of response in an emergency situation. For example, you can use technology to make building plans easily accessible. David notes that it’s also a smart idea to make floor plans accessible at multiple layers, so more than one person has access.
Another example of how technology can increase safety and security is the use of text messaging alerts to let people know about situations or an emergency. Text messaging alerts are a great communication tool that provides maximum benefit with minimal expense.
Of course, there is also advanced security technology available via companies like AlliedBarton. Technology should be flexible, agile, keep pace with customers needs, and shouldn’t cost a fortune. The tech you choose should be user-friendly, and needs to fit the specific facilities and individuals using it.
2. Be prepared for dangerous situations
Unfortunately, the number of dangerous situations, or what the security world often calls “active killer situations”, in public places are increasing. We know the term “active killer situations” sounds terrifying. But the harsh reality is these situations are terrifying—and they’re occurring with increasing frequency throughout the United States. It’s a troubling trend that facility managers simply cannot ignore.
The Department of Homeland Security defines active killer situations (also commonly referred to as “active shooter situations”) as when “an individual actively engages in killing or attempting to kill people in a conﬁned and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.”
After the recent shooting in Orlando, David says that many facilities are making it a top priority to have a plan for active killer scenarios. He also says that managers can’t think of these situations in just a one-dimensional way. You need to think about how to best protect your employees.
While the majority of property managers have emergency preparedness drills for things like fires and tornados, many still do not have active killer drills. David says you should. Plan accordingly for different possible scenarios and let people know, if this does happen, here’s plan A, B, C, and D.
3. Work with local law enforcement
When dangerous and emergency situations happen they happen fast, which doesn’t give police much time to respond. David quotes a Nashville police sergeant who stated at a workshop: “When seconds count, the police department is minutes away.”
That’s why it’s a good idea to work with police ahead of time as you develop your plan for emergency preparedness. Bringing the local police department in to be proactive is an aspect of emergency planning that’s often overlooked by the business community.
But keep in mind that it’s up to you to reach out law enforcement to have a dialogue about how you can work together to improve the security of your facility. It’s important to find out and understand what local police can do for you.
David notes that property managers in metro Nashville have access to community coordinators within the police department (you can use this resource to find your Nashville precinct and community coordinator contact info). Many police departments throughout the nation have similar resources available to work with local businesses and buildings.
4. Inform and educate your team
Having a plan is only part of process. Your plan should be the framework everyone within the organization understands. You have to communicate that plan and make sure everyone in your building knows his or her role. If you do not effectively communicate this information, people will be guessing and any plan you have will go out the window.
Effectively communicating your plan means having drills as well as training sessions for how to handle various worst-case scenarios whether that is a fire, technological failure or an active killer situation. Here’s one example of a training session from a local police department with tips on how to deal with active killer situations.
5. Empower your unarmed security officers
Many buildings have unarmed security guards. The unarmed security officer should serve as an extension of the building or property manager. So if something is out of place, they can pick up on it. They should know when to communicate and how to communicate to mitigate risk, ensure business continuity, and minimize cost.
These guards are sometimes left out of the planning process for emergencies. They shouldn’t be. Unarmed security guards can play an important role in both providing assistance during emergency situations and preventing them.
Your officers should walk the floor to help identify problems. As the eyes and ears of the facility, your security guards should be trained to recognize when something or someone is out of place.
6. Consult with a security provider
All the tips included in this post come directly from a company that provides security planning and protection to businesses and buildings. It’s never a bad idea to bring in security expert professionals to help you understand how you can best mitigate risks and increase the safety of your facility.
A security provider can help you assess the security of your building, identify steps you can take to make your facility and its occupants safer, and plan for different emergency situations. They can also help you bridge the gap with local law enforcement and educate people working in your building.
As with any aspect of facility management—from designing layouts to making upgrades to cleaning carpets—it’s always helpful to get insights from the experts.
About AlliedBarton Security Services
For more than 50 years AlliedBarton Security Services has provided superior security officer services to protect people, homes and businesses. In August, AlliedBarton will merge with Universal Services of America to create the leading security company in North America. For more information about AlliedBarton Services contact David Blake, Business Development Manager, at (615) 316-0004 x 201.