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Safety Considerations During Social Unrest

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Safety Considerations During Social Unrest, Sunstates Security CompanyOver the past week, many cities across the country have experienced heightened social unrest, protesting, and rioting.  Some peaceful protests starting in daylight hours turn into violence and rioting after dark. These types of gatherings present potential safety threats to both people and property. Other challenges associated with mass gatherings may include blocked roadways, disruptions of business schedules, and dangers to individuals in uniform.

During times of emergency, Sunstates Security’s primary objective is to effectively maintain operations and safely staff client facilities. Outlined below are strategies the company implements to safely maintain our services during protest and riot scenarios.

Sunstates Security Emergency Response Measures

 Initial and Ongoing Communications:

  • Initiate contact with management team members and security officers immediately when any type of highly publicized event that has the potential to result in social unrest.
    • Put all local officers and emergency response teams on call.
    • Operations Managers to visit all sites in the area of concern to assess safety, provide direction, and continuous support.
  • Contact clients directly to advise of a potentially emergent situation, find out client-specific requests, and make recommendations regarding changes in coverage.
  • Continuous communication between managers, security officers, clients, and law enforcement to share the latest information and adjust coverage as needed.

Increase Staffing/Training:

  • All clients in affected areas may be advised to implement 24-hour coverage if not already in effect.
  • Recommend double coverage (at minimum) at all affected sites to ensure no officer is working alone.
  • Stay in touch with clients located outside of the immediately affected area to ensure we are responding to their requests for additional coverage.
  • Provide specialized training regarding risk mitigation and safe/appropriate responses to facility-related issues that may occur during the unrest that presents a risk to personal safety. Training is customized and documented through the Sunstates Learning Management System (LMS).

Scheduling:

  • Teams working in affected areas change to 12-hour shifts to minimize the amount of travel in and out of the geographic area of concern.
  • Adjust shift times from standard to accommodate public transportation schedules into areas of concern to allow officers the opportunity to get in place during daylight hours.

Officer Support/Safety:

  • On-duty Officers:
    • Continuous contact via phone, email, or on-site visit to obtain status updates and ensure safety.
    • Share information/answer questions.
    • Offer reassurance and support.
  • Scheduled Officers:
    • Contact officers via phone prior to their scheduled shift to discuss the following:
      • Ensure they have reliable means of transportation.
      • Brief them regarding on-going or anticipated action during their shift.
      • Share information about traffic delays or parking issues that may impact transit time
      • Offer the opportunity to arrive to work in plain clothes and change into uniform on-site to avoid drawing attention.

Technology/Equipment:

  • Utilize real-time reporting technology through a web-based platform to document tours, incidents, and activity with photos/videos.
  • Live video capability (i.e., FaceTime) with clients, managers, or other officers as needed.
  • Know the location and how to operate safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, AED units, etc.

Resource for Clients

Sunstates is committed to our clients and strives to serve as an information resource during difficult times. Following is a list of best practices to consider when preparing your contingency plan for dealing with protests or riots.

Best Practices for Facility Preparation.

  • Remove anything outside the facility or on the first floor/lobby that is not secured to the ground and could potentially be used as a projectile including tables, chairs, garbage cans, etc.
  • When locking down the building, be sure to include dock and elevators.
  • Be prepared to shut down the HVAC system in the instance that tear gas or other airborne chemicals are deployed in the immediate area of the building; should these substances get into the HVAC system, the entire building will have to be evacuated and decontaminated.
  • Recommend that a member of the building engineering team be on-site or available 24/7 as part of building an emergency response plan.
  • Be sure that all external security cameras are well secured and be prepared to share the footage with law enforcement.
  • Identify a safe place to park away from any action or plan to utilize public transportation. Do not park a vehicle in areas where action is anticipated and is likely to get blocked in and/or damaged.

Minimize Risk to Employees.

  • If possible, allow employees to work remotely.
  • Reschedule events for a later date.
  • Limit business hours to end early and allow travel out of the affected area before nightfall.
  • Provide training/guidelines on emergency response within your facility and the importance of situational self-awareness.
  • Maintain ongoing communication with employees who are remote or onsite during a violent scenario to provide support and direction, as well as ensure emotional well-being.

As your security partner, Sunstates Security is committed to the ongoing support of our regular security operations while serving as a resource to our clients for any emergency response requirements. The Sunstates Security management team is available 24/7 for our employees and our clients.  You are encouraged to reach out to your local contact if you have questions, concerns, or additional coverage needs or visit our website.