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
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,
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.