Safe and Secure

April 1998

Managing:Security

Safe and Secure

hey're not the same – you may have one, the other or both. How do you tell?

by Elie Ribacoff

To make yourself safe in your store, you bought an alarm system and a state-of-the-art surveillance system. You've spent thousands, bought insurance and feel comfortable. Big mistake.

Chances are you're no safer than you were before you invested in all these techno gadgets. Safety and security are two separate issues that must be addressed individually. When you have both, they provide an overall protection plan that will reduce the threat of loss or injury.

Personal safety concerns everyone, no matter what they do. There are a wide variety of threats that may be real or perceived. A woman feels unsafe in a parking garage; a child fears monsters under his bed; a driver is afraid of an oncoming truck. A jeweler feels unsafe alone in his store late at night. That is a real threat. The store may be secure when it is closed, thanks to safes, gates and alarms. But the jeweler isn't safe when he or she is alone in that store. You know it too but fight your basic instincts – all too often with tragic consequences.

As a jeweler, you also face threats of assault, robbery, burglary, employee theft, shipping losses, and personal injury litigation at your place of business.

Awareness of these threats makes you prepared to face them. Some threats such as fire and burglary can be reduced effectively with electronic systems. Others must be dealt with on a more personal level. You must assess a particular threat and produce an appropriate response. Consider this scenario:

Suddenly, thick black smoke billows from your fuse panel in the back room one afternoon. The store quickly fills with smoke. Your showcases are filled with inventory, your safe is unlocked, the cash register holds the daily receipts. You must initiate your evacuation plan. You have one, right?

Seem far-fetched? Fires are common, and a prepared jeweler would enact the following procedures:

The employee closest to the safe locks it. All sales staff return merchandise to the showcases they're working on and then lock them. Store staff herds customers out of the store as the cashier or employee closest to the register locks it. After all clients exit the store, the staff leaves and closes the door but doesn't lock it. The store owner or manager stands a safe distance away and awaits firefighters and police.

In another scenario a pregnant Hispanic female shopper collapses on the floor and her husband is frantic; the only other employee on duty just ran to the bank. The husband runs behind your counter to get water, a blanket, yelling in Spanish. Do you attend to him or his wife? Is this a real emergency or a diversion? How do you handle this? It shouldn't have happened in the first place. You should not be in the store alone.

While it is not possible to anticipate every threat to your safety and security, it is possible to put in place certain procedures that allow you to face almost any threat with a degree of calm preparedness. At your next staff meeting, discuss with your employees how they must be vigilant in the workplace. Brainstorm to achieve sensible procedures in case of emergencies.

Most police departments have community relations officers, and local fire departments are willing to provide assistance in developing fire drill and evacuation plans. And in matters of high security, a qualified security consultant can help you to assess the risks and provide suitable solutions.

Elie Ribacoff is president of Worldwide Security Systems & Consultants, New York City; (718) 380-0209, e-mail eribacoff@wwsc.com.






Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


 

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