P-L-A-N: the Four-Letter Word that Keeps You Safe    

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” may be an old saying but it’s never been more important than right now. I have found that in my experiences as a security professional a plan is at the heart of every dynamic and efficient security program. A holistic plan in its most basic form encompasses multiple entities including forecasting, collaborating, coordinating, integrating, and pooling resources. These efforts effectively produce documentation that provides direction, instruction, and metrics that need to be followed in order to implement a collectively designed strategy and course of action.

Train the Trainer

Recently, I hosted an eight-hour training workshop on workplace violence in healthcare settings. With an audience of professionals representing various backgrounds such as emergency managers, security leadership, HR managers, and emergency medical personnel from hospitals, medical centers, and clinics, the workshop shared the step-by-step strategies necessary to prepare, protect, and respond to an incident of workplace violence.

The recurring point and major takeaway of the entire workshop was today’s favorite 4-letter word—plan—and how critical it is to creating a current and diverse training curriculum. A best practice based training program combines research, collaboration, institutional knowledge, and professional experience to produce training tailored to the experience level of your employees that engages them by providing practical and hands-on tools they can implement immediately.

Are You Ready For Some Football? 

As this time of year marks the kickoff to the college and professional football season, an effective stadium security plan ensures safety when its design, creation, and implementation address four main categories:

  1. Personnel security: law enforcement, private security, ushers, bomb technicians, canine handlers, emergency medical, and fire department personnel
  2. Technologies: video surveillance, intrusion alarms, access control, X-ray screening, metal detectors, and monitoring
  3. Physical security: fencing, gates, barriers, barricades, lighting, locks, windows, and hardware
  4. Processes: security policies, operational protocols, delivery operations, parking, transportation, player/performer protection, crowd control, guest management, and emergency preparedness

Ultimately, successful stadium security planning focuses on a preventative protective security methodology that balances ends, ways, and means, using the appropriate personnel and resources to identify and assess targeted threats and create enhanced countermeasures to mitigate risk.

All Hazards Emergency Plan Covers It All

The four phases of an all hazards emergency management plan embrace a shared understanding about exactly how to address these phases and their critical emergency-related priorities. You cannot address these priorities—in fact, you cannot take a single step forward—without having a clear, comprehensive, and detailed plan tailored specifically to the circumstances of the emergency.

Should an incident occur, a plan helps individuals and organizations understand these four phases, which can prevent injuries, save lives, minimize property damage, decrease liability, and help restore operations with minimal delay:

  1. Prevention/Mitigation: preventing emergencies and mitigating the risks of their occurrence
  2. Preparedness: preparing to handle an incident
  3. Response: responding to an incident
  4. Recovery: recovering from an incident

To get a complete picture of your security profile, you should schedule a professional assessment that will evaluate the technical, physical, personnel, and procedural security measures currently in place at your organization. You’ll find out what you’re doing well and where you’re exposed to unnecessary risk as well as receive recommendations and strategic considerations with next steps to protect critical components of your business—especially your people.

We can also work with you to construct a tailored plan that addresses specific areas of concern, such as active threat, workplace violence, and executive protection, and provides you with a planned response and recovery in case the unexpected happens.

Do you have a plan or plans to protect your people, property, and assets? All plans start with an assessment to ensure your operations reflect best practices in safety, security, and emergency management and protect against all hazards, such as a weather event, accident, or intruder.

We can design a plan that’s right for your culture and, most importantly, protects your people. Contact me, Mike Verden, Owner and CEO of The Lake Forest Group, at [email protected] or 312.515.8747 to find out more—or share this article with anyone who needs to create their plan to safeguard their business, staff, and visitors.

Hospital Security: Doctor’s Orders

Because a medical campus is typically an open environment designed to accommodate patients, visitors, employees, practitioners, and staff, many hospitals face the challenge of balancing the need to present a friendly and welcoming property with the right combination of security measures to ensure safety. They do not want to create a security climate where people are reluctant to visit the facility because they are uncomfortable or afraid. In addition to the basic fundamentals of security—physical, technical, personnel, and procedural—administrators need to develop an understanding and renewed focus on the security disciplines unique to hospitals and medical facilities.

Are Your Operations a Best-Practice?

The single most effective and proficient way to protect your hospital’s people, assets, and operations is a systematic, step-by-step, and holistic process that begins by supporting the security department. Our recommended program development reflects a strategic approach based on industry best practices in hospital security operations. And one of the first tasks is to benchmark your hospital with nationally recognized healthcare security design and risk mitigation strategies currently being implemented by hospitals of comparable size and geographical location.

An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure

A prevention-oriented methodology results in a higher level of situational awareness and emergency readiness. Prevention begins in the early stages of planning and continues daily through the acquisition of real-time insight into the operations of the hospital. Preventative measures need to be scalable, flexible, and adaptable based on dynamics such as emerging threats, actionable intelligence, or changes to the environment. This process can only be attained by ongoing coordination with hospital staff; adherence to security best practices; compliance with regulatory standards; and leveraging technology to mitigate risk.

Give Them a Taste of Their Own Medicine

Based on my own experience of assessing medical facilities, your two most critical points to address are visitor access control and patient management. Starting with visitors, you need to establish a structured management protocol for all guests, including family, friends, and part-time employees. A database with individual identifiers should be used to record visits and screen for prohibited visitors. Technology can be used to monitor and manage patients, especially infants and seniors. Because many hospitals are concerned with baby abductions and elderly people wandering away from the facility, a tracking device could alert security and trace their location if the patient attempts to leave the hospital without authorization.

Take Two Aspirin and Call Me in the Morning 

Another security issue distinctive to healthcare properties is that transients will sometimes seek shelter inside the hospital. Some facilities are more tolerant than others and allow destitute people a safe haven, usually during the colder months. Although this is an honorable gesture, the result can be an increase in thefts and disruption in efficiency and workflow. Hospitals can maintain their level of safety and control if they provide some food or drink and point these visitors to the nearest homeless shelter.

While your security plan should address necessities such as alarm systems and security guards, you must also promote policies and procedures that control access and manage risk—in order to provide a best-practiced based security environment.