How to Conduct Safer Security Patrols
By: Phillip Livingston
Date Published: October 20, 2020
Security officers are trusted to protect condo buildings, and the people who live in them. But in order to do this well, they must take some calculated risks.
Condo corporations are expecting more of guards these days, and these professionals may have to deal with everything from rambunctious parties to car thefts while conducting patrols. They must think and act quickly in order to defuse the situation without endangering others, or themselves.
While security guards may always face some degree of danger, there are things that they and their company can do to make security patrols safer.
Safety starts before the patrol begins
Good security patrols are organized, usually scheduled ahead of time, and routes are familiar to both the guard and the supervisor or manager. Every guard should be fully aware of the duties or tasks that they are expected to perform during the patrol. Remove any element of surprise or uncertainty whenever possible.
Equip your team for success
No matter how skilled or experienced your team is, you can never predict when something will take a turn for the worst. That being said, guards should always have all of the tools they need for each and every shift.
Even if they are completing a routine patrol, they should always wear any protective clothing the company has prescribed, a flashlight, their phone, and pepper spray and a baton if the company requires them to do so. It’s important to have quick access to these defense items, and guards should take a few minutes before they begin their shift to ensure their tools are in good working order.
If your company doesn’t already use a guard tour system, it may be time to invest in a cloud-based security solution like Patrol Points.
Guard tour software makes things easier and safer for security guards. A guard tour system is a simple but smart tool used to help security companies organize, execute, and log guard tours and patrols. Guards can view scheduled patrols on their Patrol Points account, and can access the platform on their computer or their phone. When conducting a patrol, guards only need their phone to scan discreet checkpoints. No need for paper notes or clunky devices. They can also attach notes or photos, or create an incident report at any checkpoint. Furthermore, if guards require immediate assistance while on duty, Security professionals can send incident reports to their supervisors from wherever they are. Management can act on these reports to ensure officers aren’t left to handle dangerous situations on their own.
Guard tour systems provide a means to check and record the time that guards execute their tours, but they also provide an additional layer of security. Any information gathered on the patrol is automatically saved in the cloud, and all authorized parties can view Patrol Points at any time to make sure their staff have completed patrols safely and on time.
Use checkpoints strategically
It is essential to have checkpoints placed throughout the building that your company has been hired to protect. Guards need to patrol stairwells, alleys, garages, and any other areas that are generally out of sight, or susceptible to vandalism.
These checkpoints shouldn’t be impossible to find, but they shouldn’t be obvious to the general public, either. Some checkpoint hardware, such as durable NFC tags, can tolerate harsh conditions, which means they can safely be installed outside as well as in basements or mechanical rooms.
It’s highly recommended that guards take different patrol routes as often as possible; schedule managers should regularly change up the order of the checkpoints. Being predictable is one of the worst things security guards can do. No one but their supervisors should be able to predict their next move.
Have a plan for the unexpected
Do your guards know what to do if a fire is reported outside of the building? What about if a fight broke out on one of the residential floors? Do they know how to manage a potentially fatal injury if such an event were ever to occur?
Knowing the procedures involved when dealing with serious situations can help improve response time – and a few minutes may save a life. Conversely, guards also need to be able to identify situations where they should remove themselves from the scene and seek help from someone else. If, for example, a guard witnesses a threat or crime outside the area they are assigned to protect, it’s essential that they call the local police immediately. While they may feel an obligation to do whatever they can to stop a crime or violent act, they should not put themselves in a situation where their lives are at risk.
Be sure your team understands the proper protocol when dealing with special cases, and make sure they know when to call the police or contact their supervisor.
Ensure someone is always available in case of emergency
There should always be someone available to help a guard should they require immediate assistance. Your company needs to be ready to help your employee at all times should the unexpected occur.
Dress for the job
Safety and clothing may not seem like they have much in common, but the proper attire will make a big difference for guards. Poor footwear, for example, impacts their ability to move freely, and can have a negative impact on their health over a longer period of time. Security guards are always moving. Ensuring they have comfortable footwear that offers a comfortable range of motion, and is not slip prone, can prevent injury. Similarly, uniforms should not be too restrictive. This would put guards at a disadvantage during an altercation.
Security guards face more risks in their workplace than most. However, in order to effectively protect others, they need to make sure that they feel safe, too. While every condo building will present its own challenges, there are a few steps that guards can follow to minimize risks, no matter how small or large the condo building is. Plan ahead. Take note of where the exits are, and how quickly they can be accessed from different spots.
Walk your patrol routes and familiarize yourself with any obstructions and potential safety hazards. All of these things could alter how you react during an emergency situation.
If you work with more than one person during your shift, be sure you all work on a plan together for viable risks so that you can perform as a cohesive unit, even if something doesn’t go according to plan.
Finally, know your limits. While people depend on security guards for safety and security, you should never put yourself in danger unless absolutely unavoidable. Observe and assess situations thoroughly before you put yourself in a risky situation, and if you believe people may be in danger, including yourself, call the police or other emergency services as required.