Quick decision-making and rapid communication with your security provider is the difference between taking control of an urgent situation and allowing it to get out of control.
Communication is key when a security situation arises for property managers, property owners, and HOA members. You need to think quickly and contact your security services provider immediately for help—and call 911 if it’s an emergency.
Here are five steps to take should an urgent situation or emergency arise at your property or community.
1. Assessment is Always the First Step
Ask one question: “Is this an urgent situation or an emergency?” This is often a judgment call. But, violence, blood, or an unconscious person always constitutes an emergency.
Follow these guidelines to determine whether you should call 9-1-1 or Non-Emergency for a police response:
- If a crime has been committed and the suspect is still at the scene, call 9-1-1.
- If a crime has been committed and the suspect has left the scene, then call Non-Emergency.
- For all medical and fire emergencies, call 9-1-1.
If you decide the situation is an emergency, call 911 immediately. Explain what is happening clearly, calmly, and with as much detail as possible. Most importantly, know your location, as “knowing the location is vital to getting the appropriate police, fire or EMS units to respond.”
If what is occurring on the premises is concerning—but does not appear to be an emergency—contact your security services provider. Again, explain what is happening clearly, calmly, and don’t spare any details.
2. Maintain the Line of Communication
Once you’ve called the authorities, do not abandon the phone. The 911 operator or your security services partner may need to call you again or keep you on the line. Use a cell phone to remain mobile throughout the situation.
As a security services company, we can’t stress enough how important step #2 is. We must address all problems and concerns, so we need our clients to report every crime or incident that occurs at a site. Then, we can move forward with a site assessment or problem analysis to improve security policies and prevent future problems from recurring.
Whether you call the police or not, make sure to contact your security services partner at the time of the incident. An immediate call ensures that they can properly assist in the resolution.
3. Keep Roads and Pathways Clear
Make sure that your security company and the authorities can quickly gain access to the area. That can mean anything from moving cars impeding the entrance to unlocking security doors.
4. Use SETUP to Provide Assistance
If you feel there is a possibility of violence, keep your distance and wait for the authorities and your security services provider to arrive.
In non-violent situations, determine how you can be of assistance. The American Safety and Health Institute’s acronym SETUP will the best method of support:
S Pause to identify hazards.
E Consider your surroundings.
T Be careful along roadways.
Unknown hazards. Consider things that are not apparent.
Personal safety. Use protective barriers.
5. Reassess and Act Accordingly
Periodically, reassess the situation or emergency. Ask yourself what has changed since you last spoke to your security provider and the authorities. Make a mental note of what has changed so you can provide updates as soon as they arrive.
Your security services partner should be top of mind—contact them right away so they can provide ongoing assistance as the situation progresses.
Situations and emergencies can be tense, stressful, and even scary. By following these steps for an urgent situation or emergency protocol, you can handle the situation when emotions are high.
Remain as calm and observant as possible throughout the entire event. And always work closely with your security services company and authorities to deescalate and resolve the situation.
Need an effective partner for concerning situations? The PPS team is here to help.