As a security guard, you work long and hard to keep people and their property safe. No matter where you're based – a bustling shopping center, an office complex, or a private residence – you hold a position of trust and responsibility. To perform at the best of your abilities, you need to combine your training and experience with the best equipment you can lay your hands on – the safer you are, the safer your clients will be.
With this in mind, we've put together ten tips to help you stay as secure on-duty this winter. Read on and enjoy!
1. Know your Body Armor
Wearing body armor may be essential in certain situations, depending on your assigned location – the higher the risk of danger, the stronger your protective clothing should be. However, with so many different vests available, you need to know which is best-suited to the potential threats you may face. Pay attention to the levels assigned to each vest by the National Institute of Justice, and which weapons they protect against. Five levels of protection are available: 2A, 2, 3A, 3, and 4, covering a variety of rounds from 9mm up to .30 caliber armor-piercing types.
2. Stay Aware of your Surroundings
No matter how long you've been based at your current location, be sure you remain familiar with its layout. Pay attention to: all emergency exits, all possible hiding-places troublemakers might use to evade you, and the patrol routes of other security personnel. The better you know these things, the better you'll be able to monitor it.
3. Wear Bulletproof Vests if Armed
Whether you're based in a bank or a high-value jewelry store, if the risk of armed robbery seems viable (or if there's a history of attempts) you'll likely be armed yourself – in which case, wearing a bulletproof vest is essential. Accidents happen – if you trip while holding your gun, or a shot ricochets, your vest will stop hits to any area covered – and someone else may seize control of your firearm in a hostile situation. Make sure your vest's level matches your ammunition.
4. Work as a Team
If other security personnel are based in the same location as you, combine your efforts. Plan patrol routes together, perform multi-point surveillance on suspicious individuals and make sure you're all familiar with the procedure for emergency situations. The better you work together, the better you'll be able to handle challenging scenarios.
5. Choose the Right Stab Vest
Troublemakers, shoplifters or armed thieves may threaten you with knives should you confront them. Stab vests feature multiple levels of tightly-woven Kevlar, which apply friction to blades, stopping them tearing through. These are available at three levels, based on varying knives and the amount of energy an attacker uses. Wear the toughest you can find to defend against even the most ferocious torso-based attack.
6. Consider Adding Spike Protection
Before you (or your employer) order a stab vest, you might want to add spike protection. Why? This weave is tight enough to trap pointed tips found on needles or sharpened items, such as icepicks, so if an attacker stabs your vest with one of these, you'll remain safe. This adds a little more expense to the overall cost, but could prove invaluable.
7. Stay Sharp and Alert
When you work in the same location day after day, walking the same routes, seeing the same faces, it's easy to become complacent. You feel like you know which situations are most likely to take place, and how to handle them. However, you never know when this could change, Stay alert and prepare for all eventualities. Just because a particular scenario hasn't occurred yet doesn't mean it can't, or won't.
8. Wear Protective Gloves
As well as wearing stab vests, you may want to wear anti-slash gloves. These are designed to stop knives or pointed weapons, allowing you to seize weapons without risking your hands. A wound to the palm or fingers can leave you unable to defend yourself, and could lead to permanent injuries, so always have these available if needed.
9. Keep in Shape
(This ties in with tip #7.) Complacency can lead you to let yourself get out of shape. Many of us have seen security guards who look unable to give chase if needed. Try to stay in decent physical condition, even if that just means walking a few extra patrols than usual, and cutting down on the number of snacks you eat within a shift.
10. Check your Armor Regularly
Wearing a bulletproof or stab vest which carries signs of previous damage may still leave you exposed to danger. Bullet-holes and tears create space for rounds and blades to pass through. Check your vests regularly to make sure there are no defects. Never chance it.