Just this week I have come to the realization that it’s summer here in Texas. Maybe not “officially” but the heat tells me otherwise. So, summer here in Texas means lots of swimming to cool off, sweet tea, lazy days and fun, active nights, when you can actually get outside and walk around without drowning in sweat. And, that’s just for the adults. Our kiddos in the Lone Star state love going to summer camps as the offering is truly diverse from writing to modeling camps to techy camps like designing video games and apps, and even horseback riding and sports camps. Texas just seems to have it all.
As mothers and fathers kiss and hug their kids as a loving send off, camp directors are on the receiving end, geared up and ready to welcome the little ones to their camp. In terms of security, though, just how prepared are these camps?
Unfortunately, summer camps are not following in the footsteps of many schools by creating security protocols and installing much-needed security hardware, making camps ideal “soft targets” for the bad guys. Some camp administrators think parents are simply overreacting while others claim that there is really nothing that can be done since most camp environments seem to be wide-open. Still others recognize threats but misallocate their limited resources. But, according to security consultant, Joshua Gleis, and despite camps being porous and open, there are ways to protect them.
Camps should create a security plan that outlines steps to better secure their campers, staff and campgrounds with a focus and investment into operational training and the hiring of security guards. Staff members should be trained on emergency procedures and protocols, such as lockdowns and evacuations that are camp-specific. Day-to-day operations training is also a must to help deter potential attackers, easily identify a breach and have the ability to better report incidences to law enforcement.
The main objective is to buy precious time to keep everyone safe until police can arrive on the scene. There are a lot of remotely-located camps, so police response times can vary from 15-45 minutes! To help increase the safety from time of incident to law enforcement arrival, a good strategy is to employ properly-trained security guards, ideally those with law enforcement backgrounds. They would be more equipped to deal with threats, not only to deter them, but to help provide effective response to threats before law enforcement is able to arrive.
Security integrators and installers can help camps to increase their security footprint by meeting with camp leaders to help them plan and budget for proper security. Integrators and installers could provide a free security audit and assessment of the facility to help with camps budget constraints. A camp would be more likely call upon those integrators and installers when the time comes to purchase security resources to create a realistic, tailor-made solution because they previously devoted their time for free. This is yet just another way for security professionals to help their communities while providing a valuable service – keeping our kids and the adults who care for them safe.