Security is a paramount concern for businesses that operate in brick-and-mortar establishments. If your retail store or office is accessible to the public, then you must plan for customer and employee safety in the event of an emergency. Companies can protect their assets and collect clear documentation by having certain security measures in place before an incident occurs.
Video surveillance systems can range dramatically in cost and functionality, but these cameras can save your business countless dollars in loss prevention. They can also help you record evidence of criminal activity or inappropriate behavior. If you're on a budget, mobile devices or webcams can work in a pinch, streaming footage to an off-site computer.
More sophisticated CCTV surveillance systems can feed footage from several cameras to monitors, covering multiple angles of your business location. The footage captured on these recordings can be instrumental later, if authorities need to review an incident. The visibility of surveillance cameras alone can serve as a deterrent to criminal activity. In a study conducted by the University of Southern California, property crime rates in Los Angeles-based establishments dropped nearly 20 percent after the installations of cameras.
Whether your business is a bootstrap start-up or a well-established community presence, your employees must receive training on emergency protocol. Security and safety processes can seem like a very broad topic, but there are ways to tailor fit the training to your environment. If your storefront or office handles cash transactions, employees should know how to effectively count tills, store money, and respond to robberies. Some companies have maximum cash policies for high-risk times, such as nights and weekends. You should also be aware of the types of natural disasters common to your area and train your team with appropriate safety measures. For example, instruct staff members to stand under doorways and avoid loose fixtures during an earthquake.
Regular fire drills are now a common routine in New York City, after the attacks on the World Trade Center. During the 9/11 disaster, many office workers perished due to a lack of organized emergency drill training. No matter how complex or simple your floor plan, it is crucial for all occupants to know the evacuation steps. Host timed emergency exercises every few months and gather employees at a safe meeting point. Assign staff members rotating leadership duties, so that they can feel more engaged during these drills.
A well-stocked emergency kit can make or break an emergency health situation. Your employees might slowly work through bandages and pain relievers due to minor scrapes or headaches, but a kit can also save someone's life during a serious incident. You should keep a detailed inventory of safety kit supplies, and schedule kit checks every few months. Replace items that are expired, damaged, or missing. You will also want to work with human resources to develop action plans for accidents or injuries that occur on site.
While your employees may have a clear grasp on evacuation plans, a retail store full of customers can turn into pandemonium during an unexpected emergency. Your exits should be clearly marked with colorful signage. If your retail store or office has multiple access points, you might want to limit these during high-risk hours at night. For example, many grocery stores will close off all but one sliding door during late hours to deter theft. If your property has on-site parking stalls, make sure that lanes are clearly designated with directional arrows and markings.
It is always better to be proactive when it comes to office or store security. Being caught unprepared can turn a bad situation into a nightmare. Preventative measures can help you gain the upper hand in a sea of variables. Employee training, video monitoring, well-maintained signage, safety drills, and emergency supplies can go a long way in preventing injuries, theft, and accidents.