Archive for November, 2014

A Rude Awakening

The recent events in Ottawa and Quebec that resulted in the death of two members of our armed forces certainly woke us up. It is still to be seen how the security landscape will change based on these events in the long term. Although many sources called them terrorist attacks and some comparisons were made with 9-11, I do not believe this is accurate. Terrorist attacks are meant to create fear by conducting gruesome deeds and taking as many people down as possible. Terrorists take time to plan and coordinate an attack and have a certain level of sophistication. The events here in Canada didn’t have a long planning cycle and were not sophisticated. These attacks were inspired by terrorism, but seem to be the acts of mentally disturbed lonely people acting on their own. They were susceptible, due to their mental state, to the ideas of radicalism as preached by ISIL.

In the short term, the events have resulted in increased security around official celebrations as experienced during Remembrance Day. Also the government is expediting the plans to give the country’s security forces greater powers in the areas of surveillance, detention and arrest. In the private security world it has also lead to some changed policies in malls and around events. Increased security measures may not be kept in place over time, as these horrible events prove to be isolated incidents.

What is still a concern is the response, or lack thereof, to a shooter incident. There was panic and a general sense of not knowing what to do among the public and security personnel. Members of the public were confused and started to run either towards the gunshots, away from them or decided to stay put. It is essential that security personnel are being trained on how to deal with an active shooter. They need to direct the public, give correct advice when being asked and lead by example. This may result in the right approach if an incident should happen. There is no time to think in the moment and security guards should be able to fall back on their training and act accordingly. Some companies have decided to train their guard force more thoroughly to mitigate some of the risks surrounding a shooter incident. Malls are particularly vulnerable since easy access is essential to their operations. Hence the decision of many retailers and property management companies to train their employees. Mall and in store security personnel have an important role to play. They can prevent a panic response and lead the members of the public by giving direction and showing them what to do. Unfortunately the question is not if an active shooter incident will take place, but when. The preparedness of all involved will have an influence on the outcome. A rude awakening may lead to some measures that will result in a better response to violent events in an increasingly violent society.

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Chirp – Feed me

Early one morning this past week at 3am I was rudely awaken by a loud CHIRP. As I lay in bed, I waited to hear the sound again. Thirty seconds later it happened. CHIRP!

Now, I’ve heard that sound before. What I didn’t know was where it was coming from. So, I donned my house robe, left my bedroom, turned on the hall light and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Not a peep. So, I crawled back to bed.

No sooner had I settled in, I hear CHIRP! I got out of bed, stood in the hallway and waited. CHIRP. I was able to finally determine that it was coming from the carbon monoxide (CO) detector right above my head, outside the bedroom.

Shame on me for not heeding the message from the Ontario Fire Marshal and my local Fire Department. In the past few weeks, we all have been asked to check our smoke and CO detectors and change their batteries when we turn back our clocks for daylight savings time on Halloween weekend. I didn’t do that and my CO detector was letting me know. It didn’t care that it awoke me from my sound sleep. In fact, it did its job to save me from CO, a silent killer.

So, armed with new batteries, the CO detector was replaced on the ceiling and I crawled back to bed, a little weary and ashamed for not doing what I was asked to do to protect my family and myself.

Over the past few weeks fire safety has been all over the news. It was National Fire Prevention Week from October 5-11. On October 15th CO detectors in Ontario homes became law and the province held its first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week starting November 1.

I see a lot of the aftermath from fires that ASAP Secured is called to. Some of these fires have claimed lives. Protect yourself. If you don’t have a CO detector, I urge you to get one. If you do have one, please test it and make sure it has fresh batteries installed.

Yes, there is a cost but they save lives and that has no price attached to it.

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