Security Protocols & Emergency Response Procedures

We’ve been talking all about retail security and loss prevention this month, and we’re continuing the conversation this week to discuss emergency protocols. Whether you think that your business has an excellent procedure in place, you’ve never considered it, or you're somewhere in between, it’s good to consider or reconsider your security protocols and emergency response procedures. Even if you have procedures in place, chances are something within your business has shifted and it may be time to adjust accordingly. 

The first thing that we recommend when creating an emergency response plan is to undertake a security audit. This is a surefire way to identify all threats, weaknesses and factors to be considered within the security of your business. But, whether you want to undertake a professional security audit or not, at the very least a risk analysis is required in order to identify all potential threats. You can’t determine the best possible course of action if you don’t have a full understanding of the risks and threats that you may be facing. Here are a few major questions to consider when creating security plans for your business:

Is everyone safe?

The main consideration when developing security protocols and emergency response procedures should be in regards to protecting people. There should always be a plan in place for protecting staff, customers, visitors and any other people that may be on the premises. A safety plan should consider things such as evacuation, lockdown and points of entry and egress. When an emergency or a breach of security occurs, the first priority should be to protect the safety of the individuals that could be impacted. Once the safety of all people on-site has been considered, you should then consider the security of your assets, from the most valuable to the least.

Who is in charge?

Emergency response procedures should make it incredibly clear who is in charge and responsible for taking control if a breach of security or emergency occurs.  There should always be a designated individual in charge of managing and maintaining all security procedures, whether trained security personnel or a staff member. It is important to know who is in charge at any given time, and to ensure that there is always someone on-site, ready to manage any situation that may arise. Stabilizing an incident could include anything from apprehending a shoplifter to calling 9-1-1 to managing an evacuation in case of a major breach. Security planning should account for every step involved in these processes and who is responsible for each, based on your identified risks.

Is your team prepared?

Your tailored security plan will be completely relative to your risk assessment or security audit. It should include things such as access to and location of information, chains of communication, the roles of managers, security guards (if present) and staff members, resources or equipment required for protecting major assets, regulations pertaining to your specific industry or location, and relevant environmental factors. Once your plans are in place, ensure that your entire team undergoes appropriate training. Education, training, practice drills and access to resources are key factors in ensuring that all emergency protocols and procedures are effective when needed. For more on the importance of education and training, check out this February blog post.

Safety and planning go hand-in-hand. When staff and security personnel have procedures and protocols to follow that have been researched, customized, tried and tested, then the response to an emergency or security threat is often significantly smoother and more effective. If you need help developing your emergency plans and security protocols, don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance!

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