Emergency Assistance in the Age of COVID-19, part 2

Chuck HurstNews

officerIn the first post, we addressed what constitutes an emergency, when to call 911, call prioritization, finite resources, and differing priorities. For good measure, we discussed that the police may alter their level and type of responses to both emergency and non-emergency situations due to COVID-19. In this post, we will attempt to convey and emphasize the importance of not being solely reliant on law enforcement to help protect and secure your business. Can your business stand alone?

The recent social unrest and strain on law enforcement resources should serve as an awakening to any business owner about both the role and limitations of the police. We offer no political commentary or opinion here, only the factual reality of the vast amount of law enforcement resources deployed to address crowd control, peaceful or otherwise.

However, it does not end there. There are other events which can quickly deplete or greatly fatigue resources.

  • A major weather event or natural disaster – hurricane, snow storm, tornado, flooding, earthquake…
  • A mass casualty event – fire, explosion, terrorist attack, bombing, active shooter…
  • Large scale absenteeism within police ranks due to coronavirus or another contagion. This can involve actually contracting the virus or even just exposure that necessitates a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • A string of disparate events seemingly unrelated that may necessitate police response to multiple locations at or near the same time – serious or fatal crashes on major roadways, homicides, hostage situations, missing child…

Although random, these events can require significant resources, which begins with the initial response by field units. These field units comprise the core of law enforcement first responders as part of the 911 process. It should be plainly evident by now that it is possible to call 911 for emergency police assistance and there are no available field units (officers). While that may seem like a harsh reality or even unacceptable to a civic minded taxpayer, it is an eventuality that the police, and all public safety for that matter, must be prepared to deal with daily.

If you own or manage a business, are you prepared to stand alone during those times? More importantly, do you know how to stand alone?

Any successful business person understands the importance of leveraging, managing and mitigating risks. It is done every day from the boardroom to the boiler room. Risks, perils and hazards permeate the financial landscape.

Many fail to recognize that risks, perils and hazards also permeate the security landscape. However, the same proactive mindset can and should apply to the safety and security of a business. Instead, security is often an afterthought – until something happens. By then, it is usually too late and businesses often fall victim to a period of overcorrection. This results in an overzealous and overwrought approach that benefits almost no one (except perhaps an unscrupulous security consultant).

Businesses can benefit from a steady and even keel approach to security that is characterized by balance and control. On the face, it is a simple process.

  • Develop a plan.
  • Test the plan.
  • Review the plan.
  • Implement the plan.
  • Refine and modify the plan.
  • Conduct regular and frequent training/ drills of the plan.

In actual application it (plan) can become dynamic and challenging with many moving parts and pieces that must work in concert. It is simple on its face and challenging in its application, but not necessarily complex. Training can make the difference. Complacency can breed self-induced complexity, uncertainty and indecision.

While there are certain methodologies and processes that are a constant, there is no “cookie cutter” or “one size fits all” plan. Each business or situation is unique.

How can a business begin the process for creating a security plan?
  • Develop the professional relationships that are so important in determining who to call, and, more importantly, who not to call.
  • Using the professional relationships developed, craft and draft the processes and procedures that will become the core of the plan. Professional help and guidance is a must.
  • An on-site security provider or guard service may be the best option depending upon the circumstances. They can be used to supplement or augment any internal security component. This is an expensive proposition and the level of service can vary greatly. Professional help and guidance is a must.
  • Use technology to your advantage and not disadvantage. Understand the role and limitations of technology. Over-reliance on technology or unrealistic expectations in the use of technology can cripple a security plan.
  • Understand the importance of system backups and system redundancies.
  • Never underestimate the importance of the human factor every step of the way. This includes employees, staff, clients, visitors and outside resources.
  • Instill a culture of security consciousness and awareness from the top down. Employee buy-in is critical to the outcome.
  • Preach and practice accountability.

If you own or manage a business, are you prepared to stand alone if or when the police are unavailable? Protus3 stands ready to help and leaves you with these words….if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.