Thursday, February 19, 2015


Marianna Perry, Area Training and Development Manager for Securitas USA in Kentucky, frequently conducts security assessments for colleges and universities. She states that unless a campus has a security review conducted by a qualified professional, college administration may not have a clear understanding of its potential security risks and vulnerabilities. "This is by no means intentional with college administrators," says Perry. "Often they just don't know what they need to make their campus more secure. What works best is a total and holistic approach to campus security. You can't just assume that what's needed are good locks and good lighting on campus; you have to approach safety and security from several perspectives." An effective security program requires not only good physical security measures with the right mix of technology, but also administrative policies and training. These requirements, Perry suggests, should be coupled with management support from the top down.

When addressing the physical security of a campus, it's critical that access control, locking devices, video surveillance, lighting, and intrusion detection systems are effective. The concepts of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) are essential to a campus, along with trained, proactive law enforcement or security personnel.3 The appropriate technology must also be in place to make the system operate efficiently. "This means cost-effective as well as efficient," explains Perry.

"You have to integrate all the components of a security program to work in conjunction with each other. I often see a security policy written by middle management, but top administrators are not familiar with what the policy really entails. They need to know it, promote it, endorse it – and they have to require compliance."

Here are the 10 steps all school campuses should take to ensure everyone stay safe and sound:
  1. Have a Security Assessment conducted every two years or whenever there are significant changes to the campus, including buildings and/or grounds.
  2. Address “soft points of entry” Into the campus by utilizing appropriate physical security measures.
  3. Utilize technology along with physical security to deter crime and violence.
  4. Conduct mandatory freshman and new student orientation programs.
  5. Have an “active lock policy” especially on dorm room doors. 
  6. Campus law enforcement or security personnel must be on duty and visible 24/7, and be proactively involved in Community Policing strategies.
  7. Educate students, faculty and staff about safety and security programs, such as “walk me home” services, “blue light phones,” RAD or self-defense training, crisis hot lines, mental health/counseling services and other programs.
  8. Offer safety resources and crime prevention information to students about alcohol/drugs and sexual assault awareness/prevention/reporting.
  9. Educate and train students, faculty and staff on all campus emergency procedures and offer mass notification and security alerts through the use of social media as well as other means of communication. Involve local first responders in your training and drills.
  10. Implement an active social media program and monitor its use.
A campus safety and security program must find the right balance between creating an open environment and upholding the duty to protect students, faculty and staff. There must be a positive relationship between expenditures, personnel, technology, campus design and a crime prevention awareness/education to develop a program that is efficient and affordable. This type of program involves all members of the campus community, each doing their part to keep the campus safe.

This article is an abstract from a WhitePaper published by Securitas USA. You can view the full paper at the following link:

Securitas Canada offers a broad range of services that include specialized guarding, technology solutions, mobile guarding and corporate investigations. Securitas Canada is providing Campus Security to Universities and Collages Across Canada. To learn more about Campus Security Services provided by Securitas Canada, please visit

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Peaceful or Problem? How to Cope with Crowds

A political rally, a rush-hour train platform, a labor strike protest, a rock concert, a department store holiday sale, and a family reunion are different events, but they all have one thing in common; a crowd of people. In most cases, these gatherings will end without serious incident. But sometimes, a peaceful crowd can become a threatening mob. As a security practitioner, you have a duty to protect persons and property, but what can you do if you are faced with an angry mob?


We live in a great country, where people are guaranteed the right to peacefully assemble in groups. These groups, or crowds, are simply a number of people temporarily gathered together for a common purpose. They can range in number from a handful to a stadium full. Crowds are generally peaceful, even crowds of protestors, but circumstances, either random or planned, can change a peaceful crowd into an angry mob. Emotional tensions in a large crowd can be increased simply by the congestion which reduces each individual's personal space. The event which has drawn the crowd can provoke intense emotional responses, such as a political rally or a hotly contested sporting event.

In a highly charged, emotional atmosphere, a crowd can sometimes erupt into an unruly mob if a spark of conflict is ignited. Even normally law abiding citizens can be caught up in the heat of the moment and become members of a destructive mob. This can occur spontaneously, as when a fight breaks out due to pushing or other rude  behavior.  Other times,  it  can  be  deliberately  caused   by   an agitator seeking to enflame the crowd. Tempers can flare up due to adverse weather, delays in gaining access to an event, or the use of alcohol and other drugs that can reduce inhibitions and impair rational thought. As a security professional, you should be on watch for any factor that can turn a peaceful crowd into a violent mob. Stay focused on the crowd and keep your team members and supervisors advised of any conditions that may provoke mob behavior.


The possibility of a crowd becoming a mob can be minimized with proper advance planning. Your supervisor should provide you with complete information about the crowd before you go on duty. You will be better prepared to spot and respond to potential trouble if you know about …
  • the reason for the gathering or the type of event.
  • the area occupied.
  • the size of the expected crowd.
  • the characteristics of the people in the crowd.
  • the identity of potential troublemakers.
  • the location of command posts.
  • who to contact for assistance—including police, fire, and emergency personnel.
  • If your post orders do not cover these specifics, ask your supervisor for the information.
When a crowd is anticipated, supervisors should, where ever possible,  assign  security  practitioners   who  have  had  training  in crowd control, such as the classes available through the Securitas Center for Professional Development (SCPD).

As a uniformed symbol of authority, your presence can have a dramatic effect on crowd behavior and can help prevent the eruption of mob behavior. Maintain a visible presence and follow these guidelines to help you keep order and deter potential incitements of mob mentality.
  • Behave professionally – do not swagger, strut, swear, argue, or become hostile in any way.
  • Stay focused on the crowd, not the event.
  • Do not have physical contact with crowd members.
  • Keep calm and alert at all times. Do not show emotion.
  • Be polite, but not subservient. You must be seen as being in charge and in control while passively allowing lawful crowd behavior.
  • Do not respond to taunts, threats, or agitation.
  • Maintain an even tone of voice and do not try to "out shout" aggressive individuals.
  • Allow angry persons a chance to "vent" their feelings verbally. Actively listen to the person while waiting for them to pause for a breath and then take advantage of the opening to establish control of the conversation.
  • Set reasonable and enforceable limits of acceptable behavior for crowd members.
  • Call for assistance, as necessary.

In the event of civil unrest, your first priority is always your personal safety and the safety of the persons and property you are protecting. Site administrators, supervisors, and security practitioners should take the following defensive steps.
  • Use an authoritative but non-hostile tone of voice when addressing a crowd. Maintain an upright, confident, and commanding posture.
  • Do not allow yourself to be surrounded by aggressive people. During a time of civil unrest symbols of authority can become targets for the mob's rage. Always be aware of your escape routes.
  • Ensure that all site personnel are informed of the situation and are sheltered.
  • Move people to pre-selected safe havens and secure the site against trespass and vandalism.
  • Maintain visible posts at all open access points, as long as it is safe to do so.
  • Restrict access by locking doors, gates, shutters, elevators, escalators, etc. (as per Post Orders).
  • Turn security cameras outward to view any disturbances and video tape as much activity as possible. • Use public address systems to keep building occupants informed of conditions. Remember to keep your voice calm and matter-of-fact at all times.
  • If there is no immediate threat and transportation is available, consider evacuating the occupants to a safer area.
  • If evacuation is not possible, use all available resources to prepare for prolonged habitation. Riots can sometimes last for days.
Be aware that in times of severe civil unrest authorities (police, fire, EMS) may not be able to immediately respond to calls for help. Be prepared to be as self-sufficient as possible.
  • First aid and medical supplies should be fully stocked.
  • Firefighting equipment should be fully operational and at hand.
  • Communications equipment (cell phones and radios) should be fully charged.
  • Flashlights should have fresh batteries and replacement batteries should be on hand.
Much of mob behavior has been associated with the anonymity of an individual in a crowd. Recent research has shown that when people are aware that their behavior is being recorded, they are more likely to conform to social norms and less likely to behave in a criminal manner. If you are equipped with a video recording device, make it known to any person you must confront. There is a good chance that the act of being recorded will cause the person to modify their behavior and deescalate the situation.


A mob is volatile and often uncontrollable. It can flare up and die down in minutes, or rage on for days. Depending on the specific conditions and circumstances that created the mob, you may be able to successfully restore calm by using the some of the techniques above. But never forget that your safety and the safety of the people you are protecting is your number one concern. If control is not possible, get yourself and others to safety as quickly as possible, immediately call for assistance, and secure the premises to the best of your a If there is no immediate threat and transportation is available, consider evacuating the occupants to a safer area.

Keep calm and collected as you prepare to ride out the wave of human frenzy that propels a mob.

Training Helps You Be Prepared

Mobs are unpredictable. The best way to deal with them is to prepare and train in advance. This article contains a number of preparation tips. You can find more good guidance about dealing with crowds and mobs by reviewing training courses available through the SCPD library and the Learning Management System (LMS) online classes. Working With Crowds, The World of Crowd Safety Management has good tips at  Search for information about Crowd Control.

About Securitas

Securitas has been providing security services since 1934. With over 7,000 people in Canada and 310,000 people globally we have the experience and knowledge to offer a broad range of services; including On Site Security Guarding, Remote Guarding, Technology Solutions, Corporate Risk Management and Investigations. Our customized Integrated Security Solutions will meet all of your security needs, large or small. Please visit to know more about our Security Guard Services for Temporary Events Crowd Control

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter's Double Danger: Cold and Carbon Monoxide

Winter can be a wonderful time of the year. Many parts of the country are blanketed with dazzling white snow. Winter sports lovers enjoy an abundance of skiing, ice skating, and sledding. And the kids all love building snowmen and snow forts for spectacular snowball fights! Yes, winter can be a joyous time, so long as you can retreat from the cold to the warmth inside your home. Unfortunately, winter is also a time when snow and ice storms play havoc with the power lines and leave many homes and businesses without heat or light. Be prepared to stay warm and protect your client's property and your own home.

Stay Warm and Safe at Work If you are on duty when a winter power outage strikes, you must be prepared. The simplest action you can take to stay warm is to add layers of clothing, so be sure to store the clothing you may need in your car or, if allowed, on the job site. Layering properly involves three types of clothing. Your first layer should be made of a fabric that will wick your perspiration away from your body and keep you dry. Thermal, or "long," underwear is generally best for this layer. The second layer is the insulating layer. The purpose of this layer is to trap your body heat. Fabrics such as fleece or wool are generally best for this layer. The third layer is protection against the weather. This layer should be of a fabric that will repel outside moisture, but still allow your sweat to evaporate.

Cover your hands, head, face, and feet properly too. Waterproof gloves and boots are a must and several layers of socks and a scarf are highly recommended. You may have to change your inner layer if it should become wet from perspiration, so be sure to have an extra set of inner layer garments on hand. You can find more information on layering by going to this travel information website

Your client may or may not have emergency generators. This may mean limited or no lighting or heating at the site. This is where your flashlight can become a lifesaving tool. Check the batteries on a regular basis and always have a fresh backup set on hand. When patrolling, use the light to illuminate your path, but do not keep it focused on the ground all the time. Move the light around so that you are also aware of what is in front, above, and on the sides of your path. Make sure there are no obstacles, pitfalls, or hazards in your direction of travel before you take that next step. If your route takes you near buildings or under trees or structures (scaffolds, towers, etc.) beware of falling ice and snow. As a security professional, and depending on your Post Orders, you may need to use your skills in observing, reporting, and assisting in response to incidents, such as:
  • People trapped outside in cold weather, possibly in a disabled vehicle.
  • Broken or poorly sealed windows, doors, skylights, vents, and other openings.
  • Obstructions to heaters, piping systems, radiators, burners, or boilers.
  • Unsafe walkways and floors inside or outside where ice, snow, or water presents a hazard.
  • Temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in buildings equipped with wet-pipe sprinkler systems.
  • Fire protection equipment stored in a location where it might freeze.
  • Persons trapped in a disabled elevator.

You should be extra vigilant to ensure that no unauthorized personnel gain access to the premises. Be alert and, as per your Post Orders, lock doors and gates as necessary. Remember to document the details of the power outage and the actions you take in response to the outage. You will need to know how long the power outage may last, so be sure to have a battery operated radio handy.

Stay Warm and Safe at Home

Helpfulness is a common value in Securitas employees. If you have power during an emergency, consider inviting family or friends to stay with you until their power is restored. If you lose power and it is possible for you to travel safely, you should consider staying with family or friends who have electricity or you could stay in a designated public shelter. Take steps to protect your water pipes from freezing. First fill containers with water for drinking in case you are without power for an extended period. You can also fill a bathtub with water to use for flushing toilets. Then, shut off the water supply to your house by closing the water supply inlet valve. If you are not able to shut off the water coming into your house, you should slightly open all the faucets in the house so that there is a slight trickle of water coming out of the faucets. Flowing water will not freeze as quickly as standing water. You can find more advice about protecting water pipes on the CTV news website. 

If you have a generator, you can use it to power electric space heaters, depending on its power output. Prepare in advance and have ready at least ten gallons of gasoline, stored in approved containers. Honda Canada has advice on safe operation and use of generators at /generators. Here are a couple of their important safety tips. 

  • Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage. 
  • Do not hook a generator up to your home's wiring. Connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

If you use space heaters, follow the advice of the National Fire Protection Association about how to use them safely; You can heat your home with fireplaces, propane or kerosene heaters, or wood stoves. 

Make sure that they are properly vented and have a battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) in the room. CO poisoning can result from the use of improperly vented heating equipment or vents that are clogged or leaky. This includes cracked or blocked chimneys. You cannot see or smell CO. Hypothermia and CO poisoning are both sneaky and deadly. The fumes may be fatal before anyone realizes there's a problem. If you suspect you've been exposed to carbon monoxide, get into fresh air immediately and seek emergency medical care. If possible, open windows and doors on the way out of the house. The two main threats you will face during a winter storm power failure are the cold and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Become familiar with the symptoms of both and seek medical attention as quickly as possible if you notice the symptoms of either condition.

Be Aware of Dangerous Symptoms

Do not let hypothermia sneak up on you. Be aware of the symptoms of mild and, severe hypothermia, and hypothermia in infants. A list of these symptoms and further information about hypothermia can be found on the Health Canada website,

Guard against carbon monoxide poisoning by being on watch for its symptoms. You can find a list of symptoms and additional information about carbon monoxide poisoning at the Health Canada website,