The security guards can provide a valuable service in the facility's overall emergency preparedness plan. Fire prevention, asset protection, and policy enforcement are among the tasks charged to the security guards. These are many everyday duties like access control, general safety, and the monitoring of properties. Security operations are moving toward a response to medical emergencies too.
Every year more than 4000 Americans die, and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually. The security officer may face various emergencies, including medical emergencies, fire or civil disturbances, riots, and strikes, to name a few that can present a unique security challenge. A company may encounter these emergencies and consider some general guidelines that can help ensure a more effective response.
The American Society for Industrial Security has developed guidelines for a business emergency plan which begins with the following:
•Defining an emergency in terms relevant to the organization doing the planning
•Establishing an organization with specific tasks to function immediately before, during, and after an emergency
•Selecting a method for utilizing resources and for obtaining additional help during the emergency
•Providing a recognizable means of moving from normal operations into and out of the emergency mode of operation
To better prepare for emergencies, the security guard should practice emergency response, a critical part of readiness. In real trouble, valuable time will be wasted if the security guard must track down the plan and read what is written while carrying out their responsibilities. Therefore, to be most effective, emergency response training should occur at least once every three months and include all employees. Significant areas that need to be practiced and tested the most are internal communications, external communications, resources, systems, safety, coordination, record keeping, and legal issues. Once simulated emergency scenarios are practiced, and response plans were written out, the security officer and the company should be better positioned to respond if and when an actual emergency occurs.