How Security Guards Can Help
If your business experiences a crisis incident, security officers can reduce the impact and improve outcomes. In a Stanford study that compared response times in 40 police agencies, the mean response time for a high-priority event was 24 minutes. With security officers on site, those 24 minutes could be better utilized. While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, security officers can try to deescalate the situation using nonviolent crisis intervention tactics and engage in crisis management to help keep your staff and visitors safe. Security officers are trained to help in many ways during a crisis.
An experienced officer sees and hears much more than is apparent. An officer has been trained to tell when an employee or visitor is acting in a suspicious manner. They can hone in on suspicious sounds or silences that signal a change in the usual activity.
The mere presence of a security officer and cameras can deter some behaviors that could lead to a crisis. In a 2017 study published in PLOS One, the analysis showed that security officers at train stations led to a 16% reduction in victim-generated crimes.
Security officers can coordinate with virtual guards, who have a 360° view of the premises via surveillance cameras placed strategically around the property. Video analytics can pick up the sounds of angry or scared voices, broken glass or other indications of potentially volatile situations. Virtual guards can direct security officers to the right location immediately, saving time and ensuring a quick response.
Security officers can help carry out emergency response plans, and can even help to ensure that building occupants are trained on and practice these response plans. Things like fire drills may seem like an interruption in a busy day, but they are essential for managing a crisis. The National Fire Protection Association recommends regular fire drills, as well as overall fire preparedness training for staff and occupants of commercial properties.
In the event of a crisis, security officers can direct people to exits as needed and check to see if the building has been fully evacuated. They can help create an orderly flow, so people aren’t injured during the evacuation.
Nonviolent Crisis Intervention
Security officers are trained in nonviolent intervention techniques so they can resolve situations before they escalate. Proven techniques help guide interactions through a series of steps to control the situation. Officers will begin with a psychological assessment and move through a series of responses based on the evaluation. Recognizing such behaviors early will help steer the officer toward the appropriate response.
Through a calm, focused response, officers can reduce threats and lead people to safety. In the aftermath of a crisis, security officers are also critical. In the short term, officers can interface with emergency personnel and medical services and work crowd control to manage the situation.
Long-term, security officers can secure the scene for investigation and work with the criminal justice system to support prosecutions. They are trained to testify in court if necessary. A crucial part of crisis management is an after-action analysis, and security officers can contribute to this process.