Knowing When to Get Out
All jewelers should have effective emergency plans in place
In the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, many businesses have increased and improved security to protect workers and customers. You should do the same with law-enforcement agencies distracted, jewelers face more risks than ever before from petty thieves, organized gangs and terrorists. Dont forget that shopping malls have been on high alert since the attacks.
To decrease your risk, always have at least two people in the store. This is not just a rule its the first commandment of security. Have a clear plan and practice it so everyone knows exactly what to do without wasting time. Here are some suggestions for an orderly and effective evacuation plan in the event of a bomb, chemical or biological threat.
For any bomb threat or suspected explosive device, instruct all personnel to remain calm.
If a threat is phoned in, write everything the caller says. Is the caller male or female? Any accent? Any background sounds? Is it live or a recording? Claim to have a bad connection, then ask the caller to repeat the message or slow down. Listen if the message is being repeated exactly this is an indication its being read. Ask how much time until the bomb goes off, why there is a bomb and what message, if any, they have for the news media. Signal for someone to call police, and start your evacuation.
Evacuation should be orderly. Ask customers to please leave because of a security problem. The person closest to the safe should open it, and every staff member near high-value items should hand them back for placement into the safe, but only if it can be done without delaying the evacuation. The safe should be locked and the store evacuated. Merchandise can be replaced; you cannot.
Other tips if a bomb is threatened:
- Dont use cell phones or radios; they can trigger bombs.
- Dont lock the store; the bomb squad will need access.
- Dont allow people to gather outside the store; an explosion can send debris hundreds of feet into the street.
- If youre in a mall, leave the mall; an enclosed blast will cause serious damage, perhaps even a building collapse.
If you suspect biological or chemical agents, the same initial rules of evacuation apply. If possible, turn off ventilation systems as you evacuate.
One final tip: Carry ample insurance and have adequate documentation in case of a claim. With proper planning, you can meet the challenges of todays uncertainties. Take care of security, then you can go back to doing what you enjoy most: selling jewelry.
Elie Ribacoff is president of Worldwide Security Network, New York City; (718) 380-0209, firstname.lastname@example.org.