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Travel Safety Tips Security Technicians Should Take Heed

Don’t let your vehicle be burglarized or high-value items get stolen. Here are some safe travel tips with specifics to working in the security trade.

A couple of stories, one recent and one old, got me to thinking about a very important aspect of our daily lives in the security industry. This is one of those daily activities that we take for granted, and rarely discuss.

So this month I’ve dedicated this space to discussing safe travels, with specifics to working in the security trade.

Beware of Your Surroundings

Many years ago, I ran across a unique job offering as a training manager. The job offering itself was not that unusual, it was how this opportunity came to me in the first place.

The former training manager was traveling on an assignment and while staying at a hotel was accosted in the hotel’s parking lot. His laptop was stolen and he was hit over the head so severely as to suffer serious brain damage.

While nothing is 100% guaranteed, how could this incident have been avoided? I can remember a valuable practice I learned while traveling internationally in the Navy. The saying that matches this practice is “beware of your surroundings.”

Try to travel with associates, park in high-traffic, well-lit locations, and do not find yourself alone in dark alleys. Sounds simple, so practice it. When I was manager of techs that traveled frequently I made a practice to pass on travel safety precautionary tips regularly.

When technicians are involved in high-profile security projects it is often tempting to brag to other acquaintances your project participation. It is only natural to be proud of your important technical work.

Again, I fall back on an old Navy phrase, “loose lips sink ships.” Watch what you say as casual drinking acquaintances may seek devious opportunities to sell this information and make you a criminal target. Keep your security work info to yourself.

How much of a public security profile should you or do you have at work? Should you have an unmarked van or advertise your security work? Should you wear uniforms that identify you as a security service person?

Yes, your company likes the idea of extra advertising, but is that public profile good for your own personal safety? I am sure this will raise some interesting debate with company owners.

When I had my company I liked to remain anonymous to the outside world in my daily security service activities. Remember, in our line of work, there are always unscrupulous people looking for opportunities to compromise you and your customers’ security measures. Always, be alert and defensive.

Practice What You Preach

The more recent anecdote was from a security contractor who had to frantically replace the valuable equipment that was stolen from his van parked overnight in hotel parking.

Tool Tip

In emergency duress situations we have learned from experience that split seconds can count. While we all carry some sort of smartphone these days, taking it out of your pocket, turning on the screen, and selecting a 911 option can take several valuable seconds.

Small, durable, pendant-size mPERS devices can often summon emergency help with just a few clicks. Some solutions to consider are those from Lif Trax (pictured), Ripple Network Technologies, Guard Llama and Cliki.

The van was broken into with some laptops, tool kits and project equipment stolen. He was scrambling to recoup equipment and save a valuable scheduled installation.

Could this possibly have been avoided? Of course, you are in the security business and should be trying to deter and avoid these situations. Practice what you preach and take security measures in your traveling security operations.

Here are some obvious, but often overlooked considerations:

  • Take all valuables and not easily replaced equipment to your room at night. It may mean an extra trip to the room, but will be worth it.
  • Do you have an alarm system on your van? Did you back up software and data, or better yet have a secured Cloud location in case laptops fail or are stolen?
  • Do you have agreements with equipment suppliers that can overnight replacements for your stolen or damaged project equipment? Do you know national test equipment suppliers that can get you quick access to necessary gear?

A personal travel tip: Make sure to have a credit card or some cash in your shoe as backup when traveling. It also doesn’t hurt to keep another credit card hidden in your personal belongings in the hotel room or van in case your wallet is stolen.

Modern communications technology has provided traveling techs with some interesting mPERS (mobile personal emergency response systems, see Tool Tip) options.

We provide similar services to our customers, so why not take advantage of these services for our staff? Small pendent-size devices can now use direct cellular or Bluetooth via cellphone and identify person and location with a few clicks on the mPERS device.

About the Author

Contact:

Bob is currently a Security Sales & Integration "Tech Talk" columnist and a contributing technical writer. Bob installed his first DIY home intercom system at the age of 13, and formally started his technology career as a Navy communication electronics technician during the Vietnam War. He then attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering and went on to complete a Security Management program at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Since 1976, Bob has served in a variety of technical, training and project management positions with organizations such ADT, Rollins, National Guardian, Lockheed Martin, American Alarm Supply, Sonitrol and Ingersoll Rand. Early in his career, Bob started and operated his own alarm dealership. He has also served as treasurer of the Wisconsin Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and on Security Industry Association (SIA) standards committees. Bob also provides media and training consulting to the security industry.

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