Archive for August, 2015

Fire Prevention

From my bedroom I can see the windows of the house across the street are still boarded up. It seems to be taking forever to clean up and restore what once was a beautiful decorated home.

One day last September, I received a call from my wife telling me that our street was full of police and fire trucks. Our neighbour’s house was on fire. Flames leaked out the front and side of the house. The fire department was able to control the fire within a couple of hours. Luckily there were no casualties, but the damage was extensive. We later heard that the lint in the dryer caught fire, and then spread from the laundry room to the garage and hallway. The mother was home with her two children and smelled smoke, saw the flames and was able to leave the house unharmed. After the insurance adjuster checked out the site, he called in security to preserve the evidence and to ensure that nobody would be able to enter the premise, preventing any further incidents.

Several companies, including ASAP Secured, provide fire scene security. Experienced guards are sent to the site within two hours guaranteed. Security will stay on site until the investigation is completed, or the risk of unauthorized people entering the premise has been reduced. In this case, the house got boarded up after 2 days. The structure was still intact, leading to a yearlong renovation that is still underway. It is important to be aware of the risks of a fire in your home and to take precautions. Cleaning the lint out of the dryer regularly, not leaving the stove on and not leaving the iron plugged in when going away are some common sense practices. Also important is installing smoke and CO alarms in the main areas of your house. These devices need to be tested regularly for battery efficiency.

As for my neighbours across the street, the mother was awake and smelled the smoke early, giving her the opportunity to leave in time, but it could have ended in a real disaster including the loss of several lives. In the end, their insurance covered most of the damage and the whole neighbourhood also chipped in to help them out.

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The Need to Protect Your [Cargo] Assets

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a seminar about Truck Safety and Security that was hosted by the Caledon detachment of the OPP and the Ministry of Transportation. The seminar was well attended by drivers and management representatives from transportation companies (large and small) from around the area. I learned a lot about what the inspectors from the Ministry of Transportation look for when they perform their safety checks on commercial vehicles and trailers on the road; everything from required CVORs, daily trip inspection reports, and logbooks to driver rules and working load limits. All very interesting information, but what was of most interest to me was what information and insight the officers from the OPP’s Cargo Crime Unit was going to provide in their presentation.

The presentation started off with an introduction to CPTED and an explanation of the underlying principles and design philosophy behind the program. I was familiar with CPTED, the acronym for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, as my organization is CPTED trained and frequently performs threat risk assessments and site assessments for our clients. The officer talked about how businesses can reduce the fear and incidence of crime by using the environment to enforce the three CPTED principles: Natural Surveillance, Natural Access Control and Territorial Reinforcement. The officer went on to say that for many companies in the transportation industry, it translates to “establishing natural sightlines which would keep intruders under observation” and gave some examples of successful applications, which included: orienting driveways and paths so that they can be easily observed, trimming back overgrown landscaping to eliminate hiding spots, implementing mechanical forms of surveillance such as CCTV, security and/or mobile patrols, installing fences, low walls, gates and barriers that create an undesired risk for potential perpetrators to enter the property and engage in criminal activity and finally establishing a visitor reporting procedure.

Next was a discussion about criminal activities and trends. This section of the presentation was of particular interest, as I’ve done presentations several times on the topic of Cargo Crime and ways to mitigate loss of cargo at a facility or on the road. According to the OPP’s Cargo Crime Unit, “it all comes down to drugs” and the predominant trend is that theft of cargo is a crime of opportunity. Using an illustration of a triangle, the officer described crime using three factors: desire, ability and opportunity. Thieves have a desire for money, and the ability to steal, so to protect yourself and your cargo. It is important that you don’t make it easy – eliminate the opportunity.

According to the officer, statistically the number of cargo theft incidents is rising. This echoed my findings. The authorities are seeing an increase in metal thefts, especially copper and aluminum. What was surprising was the increase in theft of clothing, recycling, garbage and scrap metal bins. All items made of metal. Car dealerships and construction sites with equipment are also being routinely targeted for the metal left out in the open and unprotected. I was surprised to learn that battery theft from trucks, communication equipment and traffic signs have also seen an increase. In addition, there is a rise in theft of diesel fuel stolen directly from truck tanks while the driver is inside a rest or truck stop while on route. For many of those who I talked with at the seminar, these facts brought to light the ever-increasing need to protect their [cargo] assets and I took the opportunity to speak with them about the services my company can provide.

To learn more about ways to protect your property, people, assets or cargo #justASKMEE.

Posted in: Protective Services and Investigations

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