October is Fire Prevention Month

smoke alarm fire detector

Fire Prevention Month

 

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In the United States, someone dies in a fire every 169 minutes, and every 30 minutes someone is injured. According to studies done by the United States Fire Administration fire killed more U.S. citizens than all other natural disasters combined in 2007.

October is National Fire Prevention Month, a time to spread the word about fire safety. When a fire starts, you may only have a few minutes to escape. Being prepared ahead of time can mean the difference between life and death.

Fire & Security Professionals

Security Officers are responsible for protecting lives and property.

security guard in crowd_123RF8064532Part of this responsibility requires Security Officers to be aware of the real threat of fire in any setting. Their initial response can be crucial in determining the extent of damage, injury, or death.

Check out this month’s discounted course for more information.

History

Fire Prevention Month was created to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

 
This commemoration began when President Woodrow Wilson declared the first National Fire Prevention Day in 1922.

More than 250 people were killed in the Great Chicago Fire, and over 100,000 were left homeless.

The three-day fire burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed more than 17,400 structures.

Fire Prevention Day then evolved to a week-long observance, and was extended to a month-long observance in 2000.

Prevention and Protection

You can prevent fires and protect yourself if one does occur.

Smoke Alarms

For best protection, install smoke alarms in all sleeping rooms, on every floor of your home, and in the basement. Make sure to test your alarms every month, and replace the batteries if needed. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Approximately 4 out of 10 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.

Escape Plan

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to make an escape plan. Devise a plan ahead of time and practice it with your family every 6 months. Make sure the plan includes 2 ways to escape from every room, as well as a designated place to meet outside. According to a survey done by the National Fire Prevention Association, only one-third of Americans have developed and practiced a fire escape plan.


Online Training Special

Fire Safety Basics: The initial response to a fire can be crucial in determining the extent of damage, injury, or death. As someone responsible for protecting lives and property, private protection or security officers must be aware of the real threat of fire in any setting. This course covers the components of fire, classes of fires, fire extinguishers, an overview of HAZMAT and fire hazards, and emergency response procedures.

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    • Related Courses: First Aid, Hazardous Material
    • Price includes 365-day training access and printable end of course completion certificate.
    • Typically learners complete the online Fire Safety Basics course in 3 – 5 hours.
Posted in Security at October 1st, 2015. .

Bioterrorism/Disaster Education and Awareness Month

9718594_100x100This post will provide background on biologic weapons, awareness training, common-sense procedures to follow during an incident, as well as resources links. For an in-depth look at “The History of Bioterrorism” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a 26 minute video.

Background: Bioterrorism

The psychological impact of a mere threat of bioterrorism can be very serious because biological agents are contagious and can spread out of control. Remember the severe impact a handful of anthrax cases had on an entire nation in 2001?

More recently, Ricin tainted mail has been detected in mail addressed to President Obama, several U.S. Senators and a Judge in Mississippi. These scares illustrates that terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) achieve of their results via psychological intimidation.

Online Training

WMD Protection Protocols and Characteristics of Biological Weapons

Learn More

Bioterrorism Awareness Training

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Handbook 472 provides minimum levels of competence required by responders to emergencies involving hazardous materials/weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

NFPA 472 applies to

  • Awareness Level Personnel
  • Operations Level Responders
  • Incident Commanders
  • Hazardous Materials Technicians
  • Hazardous Materials Officers
  • Hazardous Materials Safety Officers
  • Other specialist employees

Personnel trained to the awareness level are able to understand:

  • What constitutes a weapon of mass destruction
  • Hazards associated with an event involving these devices
  • Possible impact associated with an emergency that involves a WMD and the related hazards
  • Key actions to minimize casualties and provide support to responding emergency agencies
  • The role of their actions as an awareness level first responder, including the importance of the emergency action plan, evacuation drills and employee training

Additionally, trained personnel can:

  • Identity the signs of WMD use
  • Recognize the need for additional resources and make the appropriate notifications to emergency response agencies
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the terrorist threat, crisis management, and security risk assessment
 

Common-sense Procedures

 Recognize possible problems

 Initiate the proper response

 Notify emergency authorities

Video: “The History of Bioterrorism” (26 minutes)

 

More Resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Related Course:

WMD Protection Protocols and Characteristics of Biological Weapons

Posted in Homeland Security at June 17th, 2015. .

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month

June is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, and Congress named June 27th PTSD Awareness Day; a time to call attention to this condition and to the treatments available to help the millions affected with this disorder.

You Can Make A Difference By Helping To Raise PTSD Awareness

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LEARN:

As with everything: Knowledge is power!  Learn the basics of PTSD.  Get the facts about signs, symptoms, and treatment options.

CONNECT:

Whether you want to take action for yourself or a loved one – Reach out to someone.

SHARE:

Share what you learn about PTSD and help support others in their quest to beat the illness.

What is PTSD?

PTSD definition_123RF26859650

Posttraumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder triggered by a stressful or life-threatening event.  Whether one witnesses a traumatic event or actually experiences it for themselves, feelings of fear and helplessness are often encountered.  If these feelings and reactions don’t eventually go away and continue to interfere with daily life – the result may be PTSD.

Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Reliving the Event
    • Flashbacks
    • Upsetting dreams
    • Triggers that remind the victim of the event and cause more emotional stress
Avoidance
    • Avoiding situations, places, people, and activities that trigger memories of the event
    • Avoiding talking or thinking about the event
Negative Changes in Thought
    • Negative feelings about oneself or others
    • Feelings of mistrust
    • Emotional numbness
    • Lack of interest in once enjoyed activities
    • A sense of hopelessness
Hyperarousal
    • Behavioral evidence of being jittery or easily startled
    • A sense of having to be always on guard
    • Irritability
    • Aggressive behaviors
    • Self-destructive behaviors

Treatment for PTSD

stressed man_123RF11116419The good news is there ARE treatments that work.  Psychotherapy as well as certain medications are both proven treatments that can help those with PTSD regain control over their lives again.  Sometimes the treatments are combined and have successfully enabled those with PTSD to find ways to feel better and learn to cope with symptoms should they ever arise again.

Some types of psychotherapy and medications used to treat PTSD are:

Cognitive Processing Therapy – Helps identify and change trauma-related thoughts

Prolonged Exposure Therapy – Involves repeatedly talking about trauma and facing situations related to the trauma

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – Helps change reaction to trauma memories

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – Raises serotonin levels in the brain

PTSD in Security Professionals and Public Safety Dispatchers

security guard in crowd_123RF8064532There are two growing populations of professionals who suffer from PTSD more than was once understood:  Security Professionals and Public Safety Dispatchers.

These professionals are exposed to a constant stream of crises.

Security professionals are thrust daily into high-stress, dangerous environments. Dispatchers hear and envision some of the most gut-wrenching, gruesome, traumatic situations imaginable.
The rate of fatal workplace injuries for Security Guards in the U.S. is more than twice that of workers in general. One survey states that 15-32% of emergency workers are diagnosed with PTSD.

 


HITS_health-and-fitness-promo

The key is to realize that all of these individuals are at high-risk for developing PTSD.

Findings from UC Berkeley indicate that chronic stress leads to changes in the white and grey matter of the brain. Those with PTSD end up with much higher levels of grey matter. The lack of balance means that a fear response may be greater.

Policies and procedures for training and psychological support in dealing with the effects of stress and traumatic exposure that these professionals experience daily must be put in place in order to ensure the mental health of these individuals.

Proactive measures may also be taken to raise organizational awareness prior to any negative experiences or events.

Professional development courses, such as those available in the HITS Health and Fitness Series, provide instruction on stress management, and learners are encouraged to deal with stress by developing a life outside of work, living in the present, engaging in aerobic exercise, eating properly, thinking positively, managing time effectively, and using relaxation responses.

Enroll Now

 

Posted in Security, Telecom at June 1st, 2015. .

July is Disaster Education and Awareness Month

HITS_emergency-checklist_123rf_100x66This month, High Impact Training Solutions joins with the voices of those from the Red Cross and Ready.gov to promote an awareness of disaster education and preparedness.

 
Preparing for disasters just makes good sense. People spend time preparing for vacations, for holidays, and for tax season. But somehow preparations for disasters are often overlooked or go unfinished.  July is the month to be reminded to see those preparations through. The simple steps of having a plan, a few supplies, and some information can make all the difference in a calamity.

Expect to Manage on Your Own

In disaster situations, emergency responders and communications systems are often overwhelmed. Disaster preparations can make it possible to cope until help arrives – even if that is much longer than would usually be expected for a 9-1-1 response.  And, during an emergency, the intensity of the situation can easily rob a mind of any sketchy memories of a blog post about disaster preparedness. What is needed at that time is the muscle memory of a well-rehearsed plan.

Start Where You Are

HITS_evac-route_123rfBegin by focusing on typical disasters for your geographical area. The Red Cross provides educational resources for dealing with disasters in a myriad of categories:  chemical emergency, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, flu, food safety, heat wave, highway safety, hurricane, landslide, pet safety, poisoning, power outage, terrorism, thunderstorm, tornado, tsunami, volcano, water safety, wildfire, or winter storm.  Start with the ones most likely to be experienced where you live and prepare for those.

Make a plan

Address the timeline:  Know what to do before, during, and after each kind of potential disaster that is common in your area.

Try it out:  There are only two ways to test a plan of this kind: Go through a disaster or practice one.  A simple ‘run through’ can make a world of difference.

Discuss Communications:  Clarify with all involved in the family, school, or work location what to do if a simple phone call is no longer an option (for example, text messaging will often stay available even when land lines and mobile lines are overwhelmed).

Ask questions: Brainstorm and address questions, such as ‘Where will we meet if we have to split up and evacuate?,’  ‘Can we use someone out of state as a point of contact if that becomes necessary?,’  and ‘Who will need medications?’

Get a Kit

HITS_emergency-checklist_123rf
Gather supplies: Add a few items at a time and keep them in a central location with a checklist.

Maintain the kit: Replace perishable items according to recommendations and keep medical records up-to-date and available there.

Be Informed

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Get the alerts: Cell phone providers are moving towards Emergency Alert applications, so that information regarding major disasters can be quickly communicated to customers in affected regions. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier (See Ready.gov/alerts). Other sources include NOAA Weather Radio, news broadcasts, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV programs, outdoor sirens, and other alerting methods offered by local and state public safety agencies.

Try the Apps: Hundreds of emergency related apps are now in existence for mobile users. The Red Cross offers many apps that will help both in an emergency and prior to one.

Acquire Training: Education in this area is rapidly becoming more available with online courses; our spotlighted course Crisis Management Course course discusses how protection officers can best manage crisis situations. Topics include introduction to crisis management, dynamics of a disaster, bomb incidents, psychological first aid, working with the media, and crime scene management.  Typically a learner will complete this course in 2.5 – 4 hours.

For those in the security and protection officer industries, High Impact Training Solutions offers a full Homeland Security Course with 8 informative modules:

Get Started Today!
Posted in Security at July 23rd, 2014. .

Community Service Organizations and Security

Community Service Organizations

Community service organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Senior Centers, and recreational facilities are typically welcoming places; however, the same welcoming environment that enables these community service organizations to accomplish their missions, may be placing them in jeopardy.
Community service organizations may not have the resources to provide full-time Security Officers. In fact, many community service organizations rarely have the resources to accomplish their basic mission. Yet, how much is spent remediating vandalism, malicious damage, and theft?

Developing a Risk Management Strategy

The fact is that a surprising number of community organizations do not know where to start. Close the windows, lock the door, and turn on the alarm is the extent of the security plan.

There are four functions of a risk management strategy:

  • Identification of potential threats: A PEEST Analysis (it has nothing to do with insects) will help identify potential threats.
  • Evaluate the level of risk from these identified threats: Risks can be evaluated using a risk matrix. The matrix helps visualize the various risk levels.
  • Assess the vulnerability of critical assets to these threats: A vulnerability checklist is useful to identify vulnerabilities to the community service organization.
  • Propose ways of mitigating risk and prioritize risk reduction measures.

Think About

  • Interviewing employees
  • Conducting a survey of the site and building structure
  • Reviewing the current security manual

Interviews

When interviewing staff, include all staff – from volunteers and maintenance personnel to child care workers and administration. The result will be a more comprehensive assessment. The vulnerability assessment will also include recommendations for fixing security issues. Including a proposed budget for the costs helps to prioritize implementation of these fixes.

Manage the Risk

Risk management balances the cost of mitigating risk versus the cost of potential damage to the community service organization. Risk mitigation measures are physical, technical, procedural, or compliance-based controls. Risks are mitigated through these control measures, and frequently security is implemented through a series of controls known as defense in depth.

Physical Security

Let’s look at the physical security of a community service organization a little closer. Through the interview process, certain individuals, or positions, will clearly have a broad knowledge of common everyday activities. These key individuals have a unique high-level view of what is ‘normal.’ Key individuals may include facility maintenance personnel whose work places them in all parts of the building or the groundskeeping staff members who view everyday activities from the outside.

Staff Training

Once the security plan has been developed, do not forget about training. The entire community service organization should receive general training regarding the overall plan. Individuals should receive specific training regarding their individual roles within the Security Management Plan.

Providing key personnel with basic security training will help improve the organization’s security posture simply through their observations and reports. These individuals are already ‘out and about’ the organization. With a small amount of training they become remote security sensors. They are trained to be aware of the significance of a window that was not broken yesterday, a blocked emergency exit, or an unusual individual in a part of the building they should not be in. Awareness enables key individuals to understand the significance of what they are observing, and report to leadership.

Depending on the organization’s security plan, training can run from simple awareness training to a few hours of entry level training all the way to Certified Protection Officer training. Online training has quickly become the preferred training method. With online training the student progresses at their own pace, the training is generally available ‘anytime, anywhere’ and everyone receives the same consistent training. There is no variation as happens can with traditional classroom instruction.

 

Entry Level Protection Officer
$29
  • Online
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Collateral Security Personnel
  • Full-time Security Pre-employment
  • Certification Available
  • ELPO

Basic Protection Officer
$98
  • Online
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Full-time Security Initial Training
  • Collateral Security Supervisors
  • Certification Available
  • BPO

Certified Protection Officer
$350
  • Online
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Full-time Security Personnel
  • Security Management Personnel
  • Certification Available*
  • CPO

 * Certification awarded by the International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) upon completion of the proctored Certified Protection Officer Certification Examination. The Certification Examination is included in the price quoted.

 

Online Security Training
High Impact Training Solutions offers a full range of online security training, from entry level to Certified Protection Officer training, as well as professional development topics, such as physical security protection, retail loss prevention, and public events security. Courses are available individually to security professionals or as part of a customized online professional development library. Contact us today for additional information.

Posted in Security at May 28th, 2014. .

Training: Five Important Numbers

The folks over at School Training Solutions posted an interesting infographic on the Business of Training.

Five Important Numbers

    • Training is a $130 billion Industry
    • Travel costs account for $52 billion (40%)
    • 22 million students have taken an online course
    • 63% Institutions believe online learning is critical to their long term strategy
    • 82% of trainees prefer training webinars

View Infographic

Training: The Future of Online Learning

According to one survey, 50% of all Americans will be enrolled in online learning within the next 5 years. We can help develop a cost effective professional development library designed specifically for your needs. Contact us today for additional information.


Online Security Training
High Impact Training Solutions offers online Certified Protection Officer training as well as professional development topics such as physical security protection, retail loss prevention, and public events security. Courses are available individually to security professionals or as part of a customized online professional development library. Contact us today for additional information.
Posted in Resources, Security at April 1st, 2014. .

Crisis Communications

During a Critical Incident, Security Professionals Often Become the Public Face of an Organization

In the first moments of a critical incident, security officers can initially become the “out front” people for the company.

Crisis Communications: Are you Prepared?

Only 7–10% of all communications are verbal and more than 85% of all communications are nonverbal in nature. Nonverbal communication is the subtle (or obvious) body movements and gestures that communicate messages without words.  The security professional’s small body movements, as seen by the general public, become the organization’s message.

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Emergency Management Programs

Any emergency management plan should discuss Crisis Communications and Public Information.  Crisis Communications and Public Information impact and become a part of the security professional’s response and responsibilities. Developing a response plan includes four phases:

    • Planning
    • Training
    • Reviewing
    • Testing
IFPO
The phases are circular in nature. When security professionals review the phases, crisis communications and the public information impact should be considered. The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) sponsors the Certified Protection Officer (CPO) Program and The Professional Protection Officer as resources to develop plans.
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Critical Incident Scenario

In any critical incident there may come a need for security personnel to communicate with:

    • Victims and their families
    • Other affected people, such as employees or bystanders whose normal routine are interrupted
    • Media
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For instance, a tower type office building may have security acting as access control. An employee or casual visitor with a medical emergency may disrupt normal access procedures. In addition to reporting the medical emergency, security personnel may also be called upon to:

    • Render first aid until relieved by Emergency Medical Services
    • Maintain a perimeter to permit first responders to perform their actions
    • Establish alternative access flow to maintain business operations or recovery actions

It is easy to see how each of these actions can bring the security professional into a sensitive encounter. The security professional’s crisis communication skills, verbal as well as nonverbal, will directly impact whether the organization is successful in handling a critical incident.

The Security Officer as Public Speaker

While interacting with the public, the security officer effectively becomes a public speaker. This infographic from Entrepreneur provides 10 Body Language Tips Every Speaker Must Know. Although the infographic is geared toward presentations, most of the tips are effective for anyone who may find themselves thrust into a public speaking situation, such as directing normal visitor flow towards a temporary access/exit point.

By incorporating public information strategies into emergency response plans, the security department prepares security professionals before a critical incident occurs. For once an incident occurs, the security officer can be thrust “out front” for some period of time, and therefore should be knowledgeable of public relations policies and procedures.

Ad-hoc Media Queries

When faced with ad-hoc media queries, the security officer should be well-versed in the organization’s policies regarding media access. The Professional Protection Officer recommends the security officer:

    • Use their very best public relations skills.
    • Be polite, and give the media the number to reach the public information officer (PIO).
    • If they press for a statement, be polite and continue to refer them to the PIO.
    • If the PIO is on site, direct them or take them to the PIO.
    • If they press further, call in a supervisor, who will repeat the above.
    • NEVER be discourteous.
    • NEVER say, “No comment!”
    • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give an interview!

Finally, under no circumstances should perimeter access control be relaxed to accommodate the media.


Online Security Training

High Impact Training Solutions offers online Certified Protection Officer training as well as professional development topics such as physical security protection, retail loss prevention, and public events security. Courses are available individually to security professionals or as part of a customized online training library.

Posted in Security at December 31st, 2013. .

10 Body Language Tips for Security Personnel

Security personnel are sometimes pushed into the public spotlight unexpectedly. The ideal situation would be for senior security personal to have formal media training, so they can project a positive image for your organization in particular — and security personnel in general.

Are you curious as to what topics might be covered during media training with security personnel? Leading crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Broud discusses body language in a recent 29-day Media Training blog series.

Among the more interesting topics:

  • Should you wear sunglasses when looking directly into the sun?
  • Which is better, folding arms across the chest or placing one hand on top of the other at arms length below the waste?
  • What does up, down, left, or right eye movements indicate, and does it matter if the person is left or right handed?

I found the article worth reading, to the point of becoming hooked on the series.

The top 10 tips I pulled from this article:

  1. Don’t fold your arms across your chest.
  2. Get in the habit of looking people directly in the eye.
  3. Avoid touching your face, the tip of your nose, rubbing your eyes and covering your mouth.
  4. Never sit in a chair that swivels.
  5. Never do an interview while sitting behind your desk.
  6. Be keenly aware of your sitting posture.
  7. The position of your legs while you sit also says a lot.
  8. The best posture for sitting is to bring your back slightly away from the back of the chair.
  9. Talk with your hands during an interview (but don’t flail).
  10. Avoid swaying back and forth.

 

Posted in Security at August 23rd, 2013. .

Risk and Threat Assessment

HITS-risk-and-threat-assessment-image

Before any organization can successfully implement a physical security program, they need to consider an overall risk management strategy. The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) defines risk management as “a systematic and analytical process by which an organization identifies, reduces, and controls its potential risks and losses.” Hiring a security firm without first understanding what threats the organization is exposed to, and the level of potential risk from these threats, is equivalent to hiring a wedding planner before you have met the bride. Corporate management must first develop a comprehensive risk management strategy. It is essential that a risk management team be set up from corporate executives and security management to evaluate and develop the risk management strategy.

To read more, click the image to download the article.

Posted in Physical Security, Security at July 16th, 2013. .

The PEEST Analysis

PEEST

When developing a security threat assessment, a good way to evaluate all of the potential threats is to conduct a PEEST analysis. The term PEEST is an acronym standing for the following five factors.

  • Political/Legal: Stability and capabilities of local government, laws and regulations, public utilities, fire resources and response time, medical resources, disaster assistance, and law enforcement capabilities
  • Environmental: Climate, weather, geological activity, site location, and building design
  • Economic: Financial stability and available resources
  • Social: Historical crime statistics, demographics, population analysis, and other trends
  • Technological: Transportation systems, power systems, or industrial plants

A PEEST analysis provides a framework of macro-conditions affecting an organization and their strategic implications on business operations.  These factors are often beyond an organization’s control and are therefore categorized as potential threats. The factors will vary in importance, based on the specific company, industry, and products/services provided by the organization.  For example, some companies will be greatly impacted by political factors.  Other companies may be more affected by environmental factors, such as a company located on the gulf coast of the United States facing potential disruption from hurricanes.  Each factor must be evaluated within the context of the specific business requirements.  The PEEST analysis allows the risk management team or security provider to evaluate threats on multiple scales, such as local, regional, national, or global.  An organization with branch offices in many different countries or regions of one country will need to conduct a PEEST analysis for each office, as the implication from each factor will change.

Many of these factors have a high level of uncertainty.  Therefore, security professionals may want to conduct scenario planning or modeling exercises to forecast future trends.  The PEEST analysis will need to recognize that many issues may combine to create complex and often surprising results.  Therefore, crafting scenarios and brainstorming outcomes can aid the process in coming up with unique solutions. External consultants are often helpful in developing a PEEST analysis, as they will have differing perspectives and a unique approach to understanding all of the potential threats an organization faces.

Posted in Physical Security, Security at July 16th, 2013. .
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