Here at Invictus Consulting we are big believers in training and drilling.
We believe that all staff / employees should go through active shooter training. We’ve talked about CRASE (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) training before on the Invictus blog. What often gets overlooked as organizations coordinate training for their people is the training of third party security guards or off-duty police officers. While the assumption is that any security guards you hire are already well trained, we have frequently found that they are rarely trained on an organization’s specific emergency procedures. Training your staff on your Emergency Operations Plan is important, but if you don’t include security guards, you run the risk of confusion during an emergency where people may rely on security guards to handle the situation but the security guards are unaware of the organization’s policies and procedures about handling a situation.
We also think that the appropriate staff / employees at your organization should be properly trained on the functionality of any security management systems like cameras, electronic access control, burglar alarms, door prop alarms, and mass notification. What we have found at many facilities is that third party security guards are stationed at the main entrance or tasked with roving the facility and grounds but do not directly operate security management systems. Instead, it is secretaries or front desk staff (not security staff) that have been tasked with direct operation of the security management systems. The mismatch between those tasked with security and those tasked with operating the security systems often leads to confusion about who is watching CCTV video, who is in charge of alarm annunciation, and who is presiding over other security-related issues.
The point we’d like to make here is that it’s important you don’t forget your third party security personnel or off-duty police officers when training your people and when drilling your emergency plans. These people are important cogs in the machinery of emergency operations, and we urge you to include them to the appropriate degree in your emergency preparedness. The appropriate degree of inclusion of third party personnel in your organization’s procedures varies with the size of organization, type of organization, type of facility, and any other number of factors. We are not here to tell you to what degree you should incorporate outside security personnel into your planning (or to what degree they should have access to your security management systems); we just don’t want you to forget their presence as you train and drill your staff.