In light of the upcoming hurricane season that experts predicted to be another big one, it's important to consider how you will protect your business' sites and assets during relief efforts.
While knowing exactly what supplies are necessary and what to protect is crucial to prepare your business for the incoming weather you need a game plan for how to secure these things.
Cost: Guards, especially unarmed, typically have a lower price point than that of law enforcement officers. This is great when resources are limited as they are usually during emergent times.
Presence: Present guards are always noticed. Having people at your locations is always better than having none, and way better than only employees.
Surveillance: With boots on the ground, you're able to receive updates and monitoring on your buildings and assets.
Limited Authority: Guards lack the authority to detain or arrest suspects.
Little Deterrence: During times of disaster, guards may not represent a strong deterrent to criminal activity.
Liability: Guards, armed ones mainly, represent a higher liability than law enforcement officers because they are only insured by their employer and your business.
Authority: Law enforcement officers are authorized to detain and arrest suspects and work with local authorities to ensure prosecution where appropriate.
Higher Deterrence: Uniformed law enforcement officers represent the highest level of deterrence for most companies.
An officer standing guard is a strong deterrent to criminal activity in the area.
Liability: If there is a use-of-force incident (involving criminals using force), then in most states the officer immediately goes from an off-duty status to an on-duty status and is covered by both their department and the local police officer’s association.
This means your needs become their priorities.
Response Time: It isn't until after the initial life-saving missions are complete and the safety of the citizens in their jurisdiction are secure that they prioritize your company.
While it is common for police departments to release their officers to assist with security functions, their responsibility is to the general public first.
Cost: Law enforcement officers often cost twice as much as a guard service during natural disasters.
Additional costs that are typically incurred when securing sites include, but are not limited to:
While we briefly discussed the cost involved with supplies, the actual logistics of providing these resources is a challenge unto itself.
If you are securing a staging area then these goods may be readily at hand, otherwise, you need to plan ahead and coordinate effectively.
Lee Childs famously said "Hope for the best. Plan for the worst."
While you obviously want everything to go according to plan...things rarely ever do, especially in a hurricane.
It’s in the aftermath that it becomes most important to pick your team up and get back in the fight.
A successful response starts with a solid plan, and it's nothing without a strong team held together by communication and respect and adapts well to the various punches thrown its way.
You will be operating in a fluid environment, so it’s important to realize that things can change fast and you’ll need to be responsive to handle those challenges.
Sites can change, the weather can change, and resources that you thought you had may suddenly become unavailable. To succeed in your efforts you need to have complete trust and respect in your team.
If you are working with a security partner, you need to trust that they will have your best financial and security interests at heart.
On the flip-side, as a company, you should understand that the partner you’ve chosen may be taking a large financial risk floating the payroll for the resources you’re using.
Even the largest security providers get squeamish when there are millions of dollars outstanding with a single account.
With your chosen security, build the relationship upon the respect that they are professionals at their jobs, and you are doing everything you can to help.
Respect is an aspect that will be tested in a high-stress environment with your security personnel, partners, and/or other team members.
Operating with these two core values in mind will makes tough discussions and decisions easier, and help ensure the partnership's longevity.
When considering contracting guards for a security provider or a law enforcement agency for protection you need to weigh the pros and cons of both and find what works best for your business' needs.
Also, allocate your resources to include the time, locations, money, and supplies necessary to act on your response plan.
Plan out how you can resupply your team as time goes on as well.
Overall, build a sense of trust and respect with great communication between all the team members, security personnel, and everyone else to do the most good.
When dealing with any crisis, but especially one the size of a hurricane, the team you choose will be the difference between losing your business and saving millions of dollars.
Choose your partners wisely, plan effectively, and respond decisively.