3 Ways to Prioritize Personal Safety and Preparedness
Security providers should instill end users’ culture of readiness vs. reactionary nature.
The goal of any security system deployment is to protect assets, building access and, most importantly, the safety of the individuals who occupy that environment.
On a higher education campus, that means students, faculty and guests. In retail locations, companies must be concerned with the constant flow of customers in and out of their stores, as well as the cashiers, associates and managers.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities focus on the well-being of patients and the doctors, nurses and surgeons who perform the day-to-day caregiving activities.
All too often end users are lulled into a more reactionary approach to their security systems, considering personal safety applications only after a tragic incident or unexpected disaster has occurred.
It is the responsibility of trusted security partners and integrators to put personal safety at the forefront of a secure environment. Following are some preventative measures and recommended technologies to consider.
Leverage Video for Protection, Prevention and Evidence
The deployment of comprehensive video surveillance systems before an event happens is the best way to bolster personal safety in the workplace. The presence of video cameras can help to deter unauthorized individuals from entering the premises, or capture visual proof of those who do.
Video also ensures a record is established in cases of violence against employees or visitors, and helps to provide details critical in identifying perpetrators.
Encourage a regular review of surveillance footage to discern any high-risk or dangerous areas, including locations where infrastructure may be faltering and could potentially harm an employee, or access points that appear vulnerable.
Consistent reviews are vital in determining if there are any unsafe or irregular workplace behaviors or activities occurring between employees or outside individuals.
Management can be alerted when work-place policies or security protocols are not diligently followed and may put the organization at greater risk.
Consider Personal-Safety Applications and Alarms
While personal panic and duress alarms are not new to the security marketplace, the rate at which they’ve advanced, in part to the emergence of Cloud-based technology and the Internet of Things (IoT), has made them more integral to a fully inclusive, well-integrated security system.
With these, the ability to have similar protection outside the premises is now possible via mobile devices — for the solo construction worker on an overnight jobsite; the at-home nurse in need of assistance with a patient; the lone retail worker tasked with opening and closing the store and walking across the parking lot to the car; or the new university freshman traversing from the library to the dorm afterhours.
The primary draw to products like discreet wearables and pendant-like panic buttons is centered on a few significant functionalities.
First, the ease with which an alarm can be set off — like the push of a button or a shake of the mobile device — helps to ensure that appropriate personnel are alerted and dispatched.
Some personal-safety applications may not even require a conscious action from the user. With certain “man-down” triggers, when a free-fall motion happens with a device or crashes upon heavy impact, the system’s internal command center and a preselected list of emergency contacts will be alerted with a GPS location to route to the scene if the user fails to type in the chosen passcode within a given time period.
Furthermore, many personal safety and security response applications are now equipped with the ability to capture real-time audio and video.
These clips not only verify a threat, but also provide first responders — whether local police or internal security officers — with actionable intelligence needed to assess the situation and protect both the distressed individual and themselves.
Finally, with Cloud-based data management, these segments of evidentiary data can be stored for effortless recall later in administering an effective response, carrying out a subsequent investigation or in configuring a timeline of events.
Establish Mass Notification System Integration as Key Area
Perhaps the most essential component to a security system with regard to personal safety is the ability to disseminate information on a mitigated or ongoing threat to individuals within the environment.
For this, ensure that all mass notification systems are working properly and efficiently, and conduct regular reviews so all affected individuals receive timely emails, texts and push notifications.
Work closely with the end user’s security team to confirm next steps in emergency protocol or evacuation procedures. Prevention begins with awareness.
How readily that awareness is provided before, during and in the wake of an incident will determine an organization’s capacity to respond to and safeguard from future threats.
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