Let’s Get Back to the Facility Security Basics!

In this era of mass attacks, cyberattacks, workplace violence, hacking, and the challenge of providing necessary security improvements without breaking the budget, it can help to prioritize your must-haves. This requires thinking beyond the usual (and expensive) security approach of “more guards, gates, fences, cameras, and lights.”

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Sometimes, it can help to get back to some facility security basics:

  • In this era of active shooters, mass attackers, and the need to remind employees to use safe rooms or shelter-in-place rooms if they cannot evacuate first, consider putting door wedges on the floor in all rooms, especially those that cannot be locked or locked easily from the inside.
  • Have the door vendors who installed the entry doors for your facility inspect their work on a regular basis. Even the smallest maladjustment can lead to energy-draining air leaks, failures to close for alarm systems, and the possibility that the exit doors don’t shut and lock properly after all employees leave and the facility is then unsecured.
  • Install door prop alarms in those locations where employees try to “cheat the security system” and leave them open so they can get fresh air or can come and go without detection (no cameras or not having to swipe their access cards in and out each time).
  • Consider replacing all mechanical or cipher-lock-style locks with key card access systems. These metal locks are durable and usually dependable, but they break after long use—and usually at the worst times. Plus, they offer none of the obvious electronic recordkeeping as to who is coming in and out of the facility and when.
  • Look for new blind spots in your camera system that may have risen since the cameras were first installed. This could be places where employees congregate where they know they are not seen, or where trespassers, homeless people, or criminals have discovered that they can loiter without detection. Installing one or two new cameras can make a big difference.
  • Install shelter-in-place emergency kits to support employees who must stay in one place because of an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or mass attack. These kits should include food and snack bars, bathroom buckets and toilet paper, first-aid supplies, and blankets.
  • Install a mass notification system, which texts or e-mails all registered employees as to when and why they must either not enter the facility or not leave it.
  • For all public-contact locations in the facility—e.g., reception desks, security stations, warehouse delivery points—install panic buttons and e-panic buttons, which can be activated via the employee’s under-the-counter or desk location, desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone.
  • Install exterior building lights that are more than just decorative but also that create enough light for safe ingress and egress. Verify their working order by inspecting them at different times of the night.
  • Make certain the installed parking lot lights are bright enough—and not just the candlepower that meets the Building Code—and sufficient for employees to find their cars at night when they leave the facility. Newer LED lights offer more clarity in the night as opposed to older low-sodium lights, which tend to wash out all colors to a brownish hue.
  • Create and run yearly lockdown drills to remind all employees to Run-Hide-Fight: leave the facility as safely and quickly as possible; move to the safest and most securable room they can get to; and prepare themselves and their colleagues to fight back if an attacker makes entry into their rooms.
  • Create and run yearly evacuation practice drills for fire, weather, and natural disaster emergencies.
  • Use daily, weekly, or monthly security-related e-mail reminders on various topics—such as those in the news currently or just good common sense—for all employees.