No Cause for Alarm

Article by:
Eric Keiles EO Philadelphia
Rick Overholt
EO Houston

When most entrepreneurs think about emergencies, they often think about client calamities or natural disasters that could threaten the bedrock of their businesses. What many people tend to overlook, however, is a significantly more common threat: people.

I know how easy it is for crooked people to destroy businesses in a matter of seconds. I’ve been protecting companies from breakins and burglary attempts for more than 22 years, and along the way I’ve discovered several key steps to preventing these types of emergencies. Here is what I tell my clients to keep them, and their businesses, safe:

Security Systems
I ask them to start by looking at their buildings from a burglar’s perspective. If they lost their keys, how could they most easily get inside? I also suggest they protect all of their pedestrian doors, and then back that up with a few strategically placed motion sensors.

Modern motion sensors are inexpensive, very stable and reliable; false or “nuisance” alarms are much less common than in the past. Before my clients purchase security systems, I encourage them to inquire about the length of the monitoring agreement.

If the agreement is longer than their lease, they shouldn’t buy it. What’s more, they should consider checking on set-up charges and monthly pricing for a cellular link to the monitoring service. Phone lines are most often accessible and easily cut, rendering a traditional dial-up system worthless. Cellular monitoring is available in most markets, and it gives peace of mind for just a little more price.

Security Cameras
Video tape-based security systems are now obsolete. Remoteviewing(via broadband) digital video recorders (DVRs) are very affordable, and they can even be set up to let people view their facilities in real-time via a Web browser. If I had to install only two recorders in my business, one would be located at the main entry so there’s a face shot of everyone entering the facility, and a second camera would be located at the rear entry.

The key is to capture the “who,” not the “what.” Most people are tempted to put in the widest view cameras to cover the most area possible. In this case, they may end up with distant views of people they can’t identify. Face shots tie specific people to specific times, providing better information in the event of an incident.

Fire Alarms
Fire alarms not only protect the lives of business owners and their employees, but a monitored fire alarm system can be the difference between having to repair damage in a single room and finding an ashtray where your business used to be. A few smoke detectors tied to a security alarm isn’t enough. I recommend that my clients install a system that meets or exceeds local fire codes.

Card Access Systems
These systems have become one of the fastest-growing segments in the security industry. Through access cards and softwarecontrolled access groups, business owners can track and control who can go where and when.

They can even be alerted via text messages or e-mail when someone tries to go where they are not allowed. The newest type of systems are Internet browser-based, letting people log in remotely, run reports, let vendors in or delete a former employee… all without having to re-key any doors.

This may seem like an overload of information, but when it comes to ensuring the safety of your business and the people therein, every little bit counts. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients who took pre-emptive measures to ensure the security of their companies, and not one of them regrets preparing for emergencies in advance. After years of working in the security industry, I have learned it’s better to prepare for the unexpected than to wait for the unexpected to occur.

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