It can be easy to assume that your staff will respond just as smoothly as your security system, but when tension is high it often does not pan out that way. Learning how to prepare can mean the difference between containing an incident and experiencing complete disaster.
There are many components to your system that come to your aid during a crisis or incident. Each component is meant to communicate seamlessly with one another, providing you with multiple opportunities to respond and minimize any negative impact. However, there is one component often overlooked with every security system, and it is the most unpredictable component of them all: human nature.
Most security personnel are trained in dealing with stressful and highly emotional situations. Tasked with the safety of human lives, security must be able to respond with a calmness and precision to ensure that lives are protected. But security staff are human beings as well, and even the most seasoned industry veteran will tell you about at least one incident in their career that has caught them off guard with its impact. Sometimes it only takes one individual to break down the response, so taking all available steps to work on a response plan with both your staff and your system simultaneously is key to ensuring your staff functions smoothly during an incident.
Training on Equipment
Training on equipment is a typical element immediately following installation, but what about subsequent training for refreshers and new hires? Over time, complacency can set in if you are fortuitous enough to not have an incident occur, and any knowledge gained during an initial training of the equipment and technology can be easily forgotten. Check in regularly with your staff and learn what components they are unfamiliar with or have not used in awhile. And utilize the resources available to you to get the most out of the investment your organization has made in your security technology by reaching out to your security integrator. Your integrator isn't there only for installation—they are available to train you on the equipment, making sure you are working with the most current upgrades, and that you are comfortable using it at all times.
Mock incidents should be held at a frequency that is most beneficial for your staff, but don't neglect them. Every incident is unique and even the most common scenarios have their variables that can catch the ill-prepared by surprise, so preparedness is key for your staff to be equipped to handle anything. Do tests of your mass notification system as you would with your fire alarm so that employees will know what to expect when a crisis occurs. As with training on the functions of specific components, speak to your integrator about the ways in which all layers of your system function in unison to make sure all hidden gaps in communication are closed. It will prove to be a wise refresher and has the potential to reveal capabilities you did not know you had. While trainers and manuals are beneficial, nothing will mentally prepare your staff for a traumatic incident like a live demonstration.
Engage Non-Security Personnel
Nothing is worse than having an uninformed employee population that does not know how to respond during an active incident. Take steps to engage your entire organization—even if only at the highest level—to be sure they understand what role they are expected to take in an emergency. Preparing staff by teaching them what to expect will greatly minimize the panic they may feel if something happens and will aid you in guiding them out of harm's way. Designated safe zones, exits, and protocols should be in place for every single member of the organization to avoid jeopardizing the security of any individual.
One of the riskiest mindsets of security personnel is one of complacency. Continuously refreshing your knowledge of your existing security system and taking advantage of the resources available to you through your integrator will keep you out of that complacent mindset and, ultimately, much safer.