Basic  Life  Safety and  Security  Tips
 

SAFETY IN THE HOME

Safety in the home starts with the right attitude. The it's not going to happen to us misconception is probably the biggest single stumbling block to properly securing your home and protecting your family. While a home Invasion is high up on the list of the most scary things that can happen, statistically speaking your chances of experiencing this kind of event are extremely remote, even in communities where the supposed target groups reside.

Common sense says that you should keep hedges trimmed to a height that makes it easy to view your yard (and any suspicious activity that might be occurring there). Familiarize yourself and introduce yourself to your neighbours.  Start a Block Watch™ program.  Make your own street difficult for someone to case by displaying the appropriate signage. You'd be surprised how a group of concerned citizens living in close proximity to each other can reduce the risk of a break-in or auto theft.

CARBON MONOXIDE

The far more pernicious and dangerous foe lurks in almost every average single family home. The villain to which we refer is called carbon monoxide (or CO), and make no mistake, this one is a killer. Silent and deadly, carbon monoxide in small quantities can cause nausea, headaches, and other flu like symptoms. In larger quantities it can cause drowsiness, and even death. There are two things every home with gas fired appliances should be equipped with. A monitored fire detection system, and carbon monoxide sensors. You will note that we are NOT talking about household smoke alarms or the wall-mounted CO detectors you can buy from your local home improvement store.  While these offer a degree of protection over the alternative of not having any, we are recommending system smoke and CO detectors connected to a security or home fire alarm system

What a number of homes DON'T have during a power failure is a functional fire detection system, because most smoke alarms run on household current (older model sensors may not employ a battery backup feature).  Most common inexpensive smoke alarms installed today are also of the wrong type for a residential application. This is explained on our FIRE ALARMS page under the heading SMOKE DETECTORS.

Here are some reasons we have for you to consider in installing system detectors rather than stand-alone plug-in devices:

  • In most instances system detectors are supervised for faults by the main control panel;
  • The onboard digital communicator can notify the authorities of a problem even if you're NOT at home or are sleeping;
  • The system can be upgraded to allow for wireless key-fob or a wearable panic or medical alert transmitter;
  • The system's battery back-up can monitor the home even in the complete absence of electrical power;
  • The failure rate for system type detectors is extremely low.

 

WORKPLACE SAFETY

One of the most important issues with respect to personal security has it's roots in what happens at work.  In a lot of cases, the employees don't have a great deal of input with respect to physical security in the workplace, but this attitude is changing with the increased awareness resulting from theft of company and personal property, and even more frightening, the violent attacks on office workers featured so prominently in the news within the last several years.  Let's address these issues separately.

PROTECTION OF PERSONAL PROPERTY

The theft of personal belongings from an office environment is not something most people are prepared to deal with. When it happens it's devastating, not only to the individual that was the target of the theft, but to co-workers as well. So what are a thieve's targets? They're usually items that are easy to carry. Wallets, purses, note-book computers, carry-alls, and shopping bags are all potential targets. Office equipment such as the aforementioned note-book computer can be secured quite inexpensively. A "chain and lock" combination which involves a high-tensile steel cable that secures the note-book to the desk surface is probably the cheapest method. Tamper alarms that emit a loud buzzing sound when the unit is lifted is another way to ensure this type of computer doesn't "walk away". Employee's personal effects should be stored in a secure area (a locker room with limited access during office hours is probably the best method). Locked drawers and file cabinets tend to draw attention to the fact that something of value is inside. Placing these types of furnishings in highly traveled areas minimizes the possibility that an unauthorized individual will tamper with them. ID tags worn by all workers on your site is also a way to ensure a "visitor" or stranger to the workplace stands out. You've probably been to offices where visitors are checked in and tagged before they're allowed to proceed past reception. In a small office this may not always be a convenient or even possible method of "access control", but making sure everyone knows their co-workers "on sight" using a badging system is a good idea. Workers should be encouraged NOT to bring valuables to work, and to ensure personal items like credit cards and ID are always carried on their person, not left at or near their workstations. Losing your wallet and purse at work means the thief has access to your car and house keys as well as your address and other personal information. Keep in mind that convenience for you applies to anyone that happens to be carrying your wallet or purse and that that anyone may be paying you a more personal visit.

WORKING AFTER HOURS

A lot of workplaces provide parking convenient to the business location.  In a fair number of such arrangements, this is located in underground or covered parking lots. Please make sure these areas are well lit and ventilated.  Keep recycling containers INSIDE the office premise so that vagrants and homeless individuals are not tempted to wander through or loiter in sensitive areas.  Most businesses these days have fairly strict policies with respect to working over-time.  A dark parking lot with only a few cars in it and a lone individual walking to their vehicle after a hard day's work is a very open invitation to an attack or robbery.  Use common sense in these situations and never assume that your particular lot or area of the city is safe.

RISK AVOIDANCE STRATEGIES

Most major businesses that employ a staff of over fifteen individuals have an HR (Human Resources) Department or manager.  It's important to keep employees properly motivated and encouraged. In smaller work places this is not difficult to do as the owner of the business is usually working hand-in-hand with the employees.  Regular evaluation sessions that foster company spirit, individual growth, recognition, positive feed-back, and harmony should be the goal of every large HR Department.  Where individual workers perceive themselves as nothing more than a mere number in the rank and file is a definite signal that your employee moral is low.

Physical confrontation is sometimes difficult to avoid in situations that have deteriorated to the extent that a reductions become necessary.  Nothing is more traumatic to the worker than being laid off or fired.  Good HR Policies have fairly strict guidelines when it comes to implementing this drastic step.  Often a restructuring of the company has the affect of rendering individuals or whole departments redundant.  In this case, the HR Department should make every attempt to ensure the impact is minimized and valued employees are migrated to other positions where their contribution can continue.  Where this is not possible, then adequate notice coupled with a generous termination bonus should be considered.  Firing an individual for cause is confrontational regardless of the circumstance or wording of the notice.  Employing a licensed security guard service and experienced workplace counselors is well worth considering.  Maintaining their services for a time period of up to one month after the individual's dismissal may be a prudent action as well.  Unfortunately, none of us have crystal balls or are able to read the minds of our co-workers.  A common-sense approach to HR Management, frequent worker encouragement, employee incentives, job placement assistance and more open communication will harmonize the office and ensure a healthy workplace environment.
 

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