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Tips for Halloween Safety

Tips for Halloween Safety

When you think of Halloween, what comes to mind? Spooky costumes, bags full of candy, or maybe even that Halloween bash you are throwing for friends and family. With all of the spooky fun, how much thought have you put into Halloween safety?

Halloween can be a fun night for kids and adults alike. It can also be a dangerous one. The statistics show that children are more than twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car accident on Halloween night. The National Highway Safety Administration has found that Halloween is one of the top three days of the year for pedestrian injuries and deaths. These statistics are alarming. Parents and anyone celebrating Halloween should take their safety and that of their children, seriously. 

At Off Duty Officers, we care about the safety and security of the communities we serve. As you prepare for the Halloween festivities, we urge you to take five minutes to review the safety tips below. If you plan on driving, take note of the tips for motorists since traffic incidents are so prevalent on this holiday. Parents, prepare your children before they head out for trick-or-treating, so they know how to stay safe and what to do in case of an emergency.

Tips for Staying Safe on Halloween

Trick-or-Treaters

Excited children pay more attention to the candy they are collecting than on traffic safety and being aware of their surroundings. Trick-or-treaters can follow these safety guidelines while out on Halloween to protect themselves, their siblings and their friends.

  • Always go out in groups. Use the buddy system, so no one is ever walking alone.  
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car.
  • Do not eat any candy until an adult has inspected it.
  • Do not eat homemade treats.
  • Bring a flashlight. It will make children more visible to drivers and help them avoid tripping hazards.
  • Only cross streets at crosswalks or other designated crossing areas.
  • Do not run into the street at any time.
  • Wear bright colors and add reflective tape to costumes, so children are more visible to drivers.
  • Stay on sidewalks if they are available.
  • Decide on a trick-or-treating route and stick to it. If there is a change in the route, contact a parent beforehand.
  • Walk in familiar neighborhoods and avoid dark alleys.
  • Watch out for pets. Sometimes, animals become scared of the costumes and activity, making them more likely to act out.
  • Avoid long costumes that can be a tripping hazard.
  • Avoid masks that obscure vision.
  • Only go to homes that have their lights on.

Motorists

  • Avoid using smartphones to talk or text while driving.
  • Be overly alert and ready for pedestrians who are not following the regular rules of the road.
  • Be aware that pedestrians may be more difficult to see in dark costumes.
  • Reduce your speeds in busy trick-or-treating areas.
  • Be cautious at alleyways and driveways.
  • Always keep your headlights on.  
  • Scan a larger area to watch for children who may run into the road.

Parents

  • Purchase fire-resistant costumes, wigs and props.
  • Buy non-toxic makeup and be sure that it is all removed at the end of the night.
  • Accompany younger children on the trick-or-treating route.
  • Inspect all candy before allowing children to eat it.
  • If older children are going out alone, agree to a route and return time.
  • Track children on an app like Life360.
  • Review emergency procedures several times before Halloween night.
  • Put emergency contact information in your child’s phone or pocket.
  • Use neighborhood apps such as Facebook or NextDoor to track criminal activity or post emergency information.

Protect Your Home on Halloween

Children and pedestrians are not the only ones at risk on Halloween. Homes can become the targets of criminals who want to steal or vandalize. We’ve compiled some of the best tips to help you keep your property safe and protected during the holiday.

  • Make sure all yard lights are turned on to increase visibility for pedestrians and trick-or-treaters.
  • Remove any tripping hazards such as electrical cords, yard tools or Halloween decorations.
  • Set up motion detectors to alert you to anyone approaching your home.
  • If you leave your house, keep the lights to give the impression that someone is home.
  • Use battery-operated candles instead of real flames.
  • Make sure your pets are secured.
  • Be sure that party guests are sober or have a safe ride home if they have been drinking.  

Halloween Safety is Up to Everyone

We can all do our part to keep our communities safe during the Halloween holiday. Being aware of the safety threats that exist is just the first step to keeping you and your family secure. Parents, pedestrians and motorists are advised to take extra precautions on Halloween to keep it a safe and fun evening for everyone involved. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

6 Ways to Improve Hotel Security

6 Ways to Improve Hotel Security

Hotel owners and operators know that managing the security of a busy hotel is a challenging task. Large numbers of guests and visitors come in and out of hotels at a near-constant pace. Staff is unlikely to know who is supposed to be there, and who is looking to make trouble. The sheer volume and unpredictability of visitors make hotels a target for crimes such as theft, vandalism and violence.

As someone responsible for the welfare of your guests and employees, you must take precautions to reduce the chances of a security threat on your hotel's property. There are many steps that hotel operators can take to stay ahead of potential crimes, including hiring professional security guards to monitor the premises. Start by considering some of these tips to avoid security issues at your hotel: 

Why is Hotel Security a Concern?  

Travelers expect that their safety and security is a top concern when staying at a hotel. In fact, many travelers don't even think about security until after an incident occurs. Hotel operators who do not focus on security risk more than just the safety of their guests and employees. 

After a crime has occurred on the property, law enforcement may require that the hotel shut down temporarily. Depending on the nature of the incident, your business may experience downtime that not only inconveniences your guests but loses you revenue. In our world of social media and review sites, even one crime could result in serious damage to your reputation. Lawsuits could destroy a business if someone were to become the victim of a crime on your hotel's property. 

How to Improve Hotel Security

Provide exceptional customer service. 

Outstanding customer service is the cornerstone to any successful business; but, did you know that it can also be the foundation for an effective security plan? Employees should engage guests from check-in until check-out. When employees take the time to get to know their guests, it is easier for them to identify when an individual seems out-of-place or is acting suspiciously.

Get a thorough risk assessment.

Hotel operators are not necessarily experts in security. Before purchasing equipment or hiring additional staff, obtain a risk assessment from a reputable private security company. A risk assessment can alert you to your most significant security threats and vulnerabilities. Then, the security company can suggest the best tools, processes and staffing to address your unique security needs.

Invest in security technology.

Obsolete or broken technology might as well be an open invitation to a criminal. A professional security company can direct you to the latest security technologies that will address your vulnerabilities. CCTVs, security cameras and other motion-detecting software can alert you to suspicious behavior and prevent a crime before it occurs. Access control systems help you monitor entrances and exits and control restricted areas. Video footage can also assist law enforcement in finding a perpetrator after a crime has been committed.

Train and empower your employees.

Security should be a topic that is addressed in all new-hire training and regular staff meetings. Training your employees to know the signs of a security threat can go a long way in protecting your guests. Further, employees who are treated well, receive continuing education and are offered paths to move up in their careers have a greater sense of empowerment. Empowered employees are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and commitment to you and your business.

Monitor parking areas.

Parking lots can be hotbeds of crime in businesses like shopping centers and hotels. Theft and vandalism are common, especially during off-hours, when thieves are less likely to be seen. In uncontrolled lots, it is common for non-guests to park their vehicles or even sleep overnight. Hotel operators can avoid many security threats by controlling access to parking lots and garages and installing security cameras.   

Hire professional security guards.

In many cases, hotel operators choose to hire private security guard companies to assist in keeping their guests, employees and property safe. Trained security guards will have a comprehensive understanding of your security threats. They know how to spot a crime before it happens and handle suspicious individuals with authority.

Roles of Hotel Security Guards

Security guards can take on many roles at a hotel. Some of the most common jobs that professional hotel security guards can take on include:  

  • Mobile patrol of parking areas and perimeter of the hotel property
  • Visual deterrence to criminals
  • Monitoring CCTVs and security cameras
  • Checking guest credentials upon entering the property
  • Liaise with law enforcement after a security threat has occurred
  • Handle unruly guests or noise violations
  • Escort guests that need assistance getting to their rooms or vehicles
  • Assisting employees in handling angry guests
  • Escorting employees to their vehicles at night

With the busiest travel months ahead, hotel operators should take the time to evaluate their current security plans. Employee training manuals should be reviewed to make sure that they have the most up-to-date information on hotel security protocols. Finally, consider hiring a security guard company for trained, professional guards who know how to protect your guests and your business. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

3 Reasons Retailers Should Hire Private Security Guards for Black Friday

3 Reasons Retailers Should Hire Private Security Guards for Black Friday

According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales this holiday season are expected to exceed those of last year. Reports indicate a 3.8 to 4.2 percent increase resulting in sales of around $730 billion. Although online shopping numbers have continued to grow, that does not mean that shoppers are avoiding the brick-and-mortar stores altogether.

Many still enjoy the thrill of the in-store experience and the hunt for bargains. However, crowds of frenzied shoppers can lead to dangerous safety and security issues. Emotions run high as large groups rush to be the first to grab the best deals. Stories of people being trampled, seriously injured or even killed while Black Friday shopping have made headlines over the years. 

As a retail store owner or manager, the safety and security of your employees, customers and property should be a top concern this holiday season. Retailers across the country face unique security challenges from Black Friday through Cyber Monday as shoppers converge on retail establishments in droves. Some of the most prevalent security issues retailers face include:  

  • Shoplifting by thieves and employees  
  • Vandalism and destruction of store property
  • Parking lot related incidents including car accidents, arguments and traffic jams
  • Fraudulent use of credit cards
  • Unruly crowds and the threat of trampling
  • Customer-on-customer violence
  • Customer-on-employee violence

How Do You Protect Your Business?

With these kinds of security challenges, retailers need effective solutions to keep their employees, customers and merchandise safe. In addition to hiring professional security guards during the busy holiday shopping season, retailers should reassess their current security systems. Faulty or outdated systems can leave your business vulnerable and your employees at risk.

Speaking of employees, the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday represents some of the busiest and most taxing workdays of the year for retail employees. Many of them will be faced with situations that they rarely encounter other times of the year. Retailers should prepare their employees for the rush by providing additional training on theft prevention, handling angry customers and emergency procedures. A little preparation can go far in helping your employees to feel confident and able to act in the face of a threat. 

One of the most effective ways to protect your business during Black Friday is to hire temporary, professional security guards. Private security companies can dispatch trained security officers who understand your security risks and have the knowledge and skills to keep your business safe and secure.

3 Reasons Retailers Should Hire Private Security Guards for Black Friday

Are you wondering if you need private security guards for Black Friday? If you plan on being open for business, you should plan on hiring a team of professional security guards to keep your retail store protected.

There are many advantages to hiring a private security company for the holiday shopping season. Here are 3 of the top benefits for your business:   

Receive a comprehensive risk assessment

Working with a private security company offers more than just trained guards. Security professionals can help you assess the risks that are unique to your business and property. They can identify potential vulnerabilities in your systems and processes and provide practical solutions so you can be prepared. Black Friday is unlike most other shopping days. Security professionals can give retailers peace of mind in knowing that they have covered all their bases when it comes to protecting their business.

Deter thieves and catch shoplifters  

Crime is high on Black Friday. From pickpockets to shoplifters, theft rates rise at retailers across the country. Thieves take advantage of the large crowds, distracted shoppers and the overall chaos of the day to perpetrate their crimes. Security guards act as a visible deterrent to would-be criminals. Guards are also trained to identify suspicious behavior, so they can prevent a theft before it occurs. As an extra set of eyes on your merchandise, retail guards can act fast to protect your property.

Keep people safe and secure

You’ve probably seen videos of shoppers rushing through the gates of a retail establishment as soon as they open. People push and shove their way through the crowd to be the first one to score the deal of the day. Imagine if one of your employees or customers got caught under the crowd or pushed into the chaos. Serious injuries occur when crowds get out of hand. Security guards act as gatekeepers, controlling crowds to ensure that people enter and exit your store in a safe and orderly fashion. They are also on hand to intervene in the event of a fight or other type of altercation.

Off Duty Officers: Your Partner in Security for Black Friday and Beyond

For over twenty years, Off Duty Officers has provided top-notch private security guards to businesses across all industries. As one of the premier security guard companies in the nation, retailers have trusted us to provide reliable temporary security officers when they need it most. Our guards can help you prevent theft, violence and injury so that your customers can shop with ease and peace of mind this Black Friday.

Learn more about protecting your business during Black Friday by contacting our team of security professionals today. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

How to Spot a Shoplifter

How to Spot a Shoplifter

Shoplifting is not a new concern for retailers across the country. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention notes that shoplifting is one of the most frequently occurring crimes, averaging about 550,000 occurrences per day. Shoplifters are often hard to catch, and many of them repeat the crime time and again. Because it is so common, the far-reaching repercussions of shoplifting in our communities often go unnoticed.

Why We Should Care About Shoplifting

Shoplifting means more than taking unpaid-for merchandise from a store. It can also include having the intent to steal merchandise. What does that mean? Intent to steal can consist of things such as swapping price tags or removing security sensors or product packaging. Research has shown that 1 in 11 Americans have admitted to shoplifting. The numbers are even higher for young people under the age of 16. 

With other, more dangerous crimes occurring every day, you may wonder why we should care about retail fraud. The truth is that shoplifting not only costs retailers money, but it drains communities of resources as well. According to the NASP, shoplifting crimes cost retailers about $50 billion every year. Stolen merchandise results in loss of tax revenue for communities. Those convicted of the offense continue to cost taxpayers money as they enter the justice system. Additional studies have found that retail theft is often a precursor to more serious crimes that could put community members in danger.

6 Warning Signs of a Shoplifter

Shoplifting is a crime that occurs throughout the year and shows a significant increase during the busy holiday shopping season. For retail store owners and managers, it may be impossible to stop theft altogether. However, there are many security precautions that retailers can take to protect their businesses. Perhaps one of the most important ways to prevent shoplifting is to know the warning signs. While there is no standard profile of a shoplifter, there are some telltale behaviors that can give them away.

We have gathered 6 of the most common signs of a potential shoplifter. Hopefully, you can use these clues to train your employees and reduce your chances of becoming a victim of a crime. Be on the lookout for these indications of a potential shoplifter:

Oversized Bags: You might not consider it abnormal to carry around a large purse, backpack or reusable shopping bag. But as a savvy retail employee, this should be a red flag. Thieves want to steal as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Large bags can help a shoplifter conceal a lot of merchandise fast before they make their getaway.

Baggy Clothing: Another way that shoplifters conceal merchandise is under large or loose clothing. Oversized sweatshirts, coats and pants can easily hide stolen goods. Employees should also look out for people who are wearing more clothing than makes sense for the weather. Coats in the summertime should raise a red flag. 

Frequent Visits and Loitering: Is there a customer that has visited your store numerous times but has never purchased anything? Or maybe they appear to be waiting for something or someone that never shows up? Shoplifters often scope out the store and monitor the employees before attempting their crime. They may be loitering as they wait for the perfect opportunity to take your merchandise.

Distraction Techniques: To have a better chance of pulling off their crime, shoplifters may use several distraction techniques to divert your employees. Some common examples include requesting out-of-stock items that are located in the back storeroom or asking questions about a product to keep your employees in one part of the store. Shoplifters often work in groups; beware of large groups or groups that split up upon entering the store.

Nervous Mannerisms and Behavior: There are often physical signs that someone might be about to commit a crime. Train your staff to look for excessive sweating, fidgeting or the inability to make eye contact. The shoplifter may also show signs of being hyper-aware of their surroundings, like constantly looking around or scoping out the security cameras. 

Abnormal Dressing Room Conduct: It is common for shoplifters to use the dressing rooms as a base to perpetrate their crime. Retailers should recognize when a customer spends an excessive amount of time in the dressing room. They should also be aware of people who exit the dressing room with fewer items than they entered with. 

Prevent Shoplifting at Your Retail Establishment 

In addition to training your employees to recognize the warning signs of a shoplifter, retailers should take other security measures to protect themselves. Installing up-to-date cameras and arranging your store to improve visibility and security are two very effective ways to prevent retail fraud.

Retail Security Guards with Off Duty Officers 

Hiring professional retail security guards to patrol your store for suspicious behavior is another highly successful method of deterring shoplifters. When you want to protect your business and employees, you need a team of experienced retail security officers to do the job. To find out more about the retail security solutions at Off Duty Officers, contact our team to get a free quote and learn how we can help you prevent merchandise loss at your business. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

The Roles of a Bodyguard

The Roles of a Bodyguard

Bodyguards are familiar figures in television and movies, characterized by their sunglasses, cropped haircuts and dark suits. They have a no-nonsense attitude that makes it clear that they are not the type of people you want to mess with. But bodyguards are much more than imposing presences. They are highly skilled security professionals who are trained in the personal protection of individuals or groups of people.

Bodyguards are often responsible for the protection of VIPs such as celebrities, politicians, executives and other noteworthy individuals. These kinds of VIPs face unique security challenges and risks that require high-level skills in personal security protection. Like other security professionals, bodyguards act as a visible deterrence to crime. But their roles go far beyond that.

What is a Bodyguard?

Unlike commercial or residential security personnel, bodyguards have much more direct interaction with their clients. They are often a member of a security detail that may be with the client 24/7. Bodyguards know the ins-and-outs of their clients’ schedules and are frequently privy to confidential business and personal information.

Bodyguards typically have extensive and specialized experience. Many are ex-military or special forces with unique skill sets that allow them to provide exceptional security services to their clients. 

Clients who hire bodyguards do so for a reason. Individuals in the public eye face a variety of unique security risks. Stalkers, thieves, overzealous fans and others who want to take advantage of a VIP’s wealth or position are constant threats. Bodyguards must be ready for these unique challenges so their clients can have peace of mind and go about their personal and professional lives safely.

While most people who hire bodyguards fall under the category of the rich and famous, bodyguards may be required for average citizens under certain circumstances. In fact, their services can benefit nearly anyone who feels that their personal security is threatened.

The Primary Duties of a Bodyguard

Bodyguards are skilled in assessing threats and implementing strategies to prevent threats from occurring. While they do need the skills to react in the face of danger, the bodyguard’s work really takes place before a threat even occurs. Whether you are interested in becoming a bodyguard or considering hiring one for your security needs, you might be curious to learn the roles and responsibilities of a bodyguard. 

In general, a bodyguard will assess potential security issues, develop appropriate security strategies and competently react to threats as they occur. 

Specifically, the duties of a bodyguard include:

  • Securing public locations before a client attends public events such as award shows, conferences or other public appearances
  • Performing background checks for new employees, staff or vendors
  • Escorting the clients in public settings
  • Managing large crowds
  • Identifying suspicious behavior or unauthorized people
  • Driving the client and safely fleeing the scene of a security threat
  • Checking for vulnerabilities at the client’s home and public venues

Special Skills for Top-Level Bodyguards 

With all of these high-level responsibilities, personal bodyguards are some of the most highly trained security professionals available today. Often, prior military, special forces or law enforcement professionals will seek bodyguard positions. These professionals have a unique set of higher-level skills that will allow them to succeed in the role.

Many bodyguards have formal personal protection training including firearms training, drive training and medical training. In addition to these skills, other qualities make a bodyguard successful, some of which can’t always be taught. The job of a bodyguard requires someone who has the intellectual and analytical abilities to assess situations and quickly formulate solutions. 

Other skills that the most successful bodyguards have in common include:

  • Excellent judgment
  • Common sense
  • The ability to work alone and with a team
  • Physical health
  • Sound decision making
  • Physical combat and defense skills
  • Firearms training
  • Evasive driving training
  • High levels of discretion and confidentiality
  • The ability to maintain a professional relationship with the client
  • Excellent communication skills
  • The ability to mentally and physically handle long hours and dangerous situations

Like all security personnel, bodyguards take on a huge responsibility. When a client hires a bodyguard, they rely on the guard’s professionalism and unique skills. A client wants the peace of mind in knowing that they are safe. The best bodyguards have well-rounded experience in personal protection as well as intelligence, intuition and quick-thinking. 

Do you think you have what it takes to become a professional bodyguard? Learn more about personal security services at Off Duty Officers.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

Are Your Passwords Secure? 6 Tips for Protecting Your Data

Are Your Passwords Secure? 6 Tips for Protecting Your Data

These days, one of the most common security threats people face comes from the internet. We all rely on a number of user names and passwords to access our personal data. From banking and email to shopping and job applications, there is a great deal of our personal information available to those who want to find it on the internet.

What happens when those credentials are compromised? If you have done anything online, the chances are good that you are one of the hundreds of millions of people worldwide whose data has been exposed. Although you can't do much to prevent massive breaches like those at Equifax, DoorDash and Facebook in recent years, you can take measures to keep yourself safe.

One of the first things you can do to protect yourself online is to create strong passwords. Gone are the days when you could get by using the same password for all of your accounts or using your birth date for your PIN. The reality of security today is that we all need to be on top of securing our data.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Passwords Secure

With passwords, the longer and more complex the better. Let’s discuss some of the ways you can protect your personal information with user names and passwords that are unique enough to thwart hackers.

Avoid using your personal data.

Much of our personal information such as birth dates, addresses, phone numbers and the names of relatives can be found on the internet. Even a simple search on social media can pull up a lot of this information. Avoid using any personal data that is publicly available and easy for hackers to find.

Shorten a long, but memorable phrase.   

Rather than using a simple word, number and symbol combination, choose a memorable phrase that has meaning to you as the basis for your password. For example, you may select the lyrics to a favorite song or a made-up sentence that is unique to you. Shorten the phrase by removing all but the first letter of each word. Finally, replace some letters with numbers or symbols.

The famous Billy Joel song "Piano Man" can translate into many complex passwords, including SuSP1an0m@n or B1ll1ePm@n.

Replace letters with symbols.  

As you may have seen in the above tip, some letters can be replaced by numbers or special characters to provide even more password complexity. Adding unexpected symbols in your password can help deter password hacking software and keep your accounts safe.

Never save your password if prompted.

Many browsers and websites ask if you’d like to save your password to make signing on in the future quicker and easier. Although this may seem like a convenient and time-saving offer, this is never recommended. Saving this data means that a third party has access to your user name and password, reducing your security and leaving you at risk for a compromised account.   

Be aware of phishing and scams.

These days there are tons of scammers out there who are looking to make money off of people online. Phishing, the practice of attempting to gather personal information from people using fake emails, websites and other online means, is an all-too-common threat on the internet.

To avoid being the victim of a phishing scheme, be skeptical of offers that seem too good to be true, like a free vacation or gift card for completing a brief survey. Do not trust emails that ask for personal banking information, PINs or your social security number, even if they appear to be from your bank or the government. Be wary of emails that are riddled with misspellings and poor grammar. If you are unsure if an email is legitimate, do not reply, call a telephone number from within the email or click on any links in the email.

Get a password manager.

Many people keep track of their user names and passwords by recording them in a spreadsheet or written on a piece of paper. What happens when your laptop is stolen or when that paper is lost? Do not risk your personal information falling into the wrong hands.

Use a password manager to store all of your login credentials in an encrypted format so that they are protected from hackers. Instead of remembering (or struggling to remember) all of your passwords, you will only have to know one password to access your online accounts. Some trusted options include LastPass, Dashlane and 1Password.

Online Security Starts with You 

The topic of security online is complicated. Creating strong passwords is just one of the first steps we can take to protect ourselves online. For more information on internet safety for consumers, visit the Federal Trade Commission website to learn more about keeping your identity secure.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

Firearm Safety: 8 Rules for Safe Gun Handling

Firearm Safety: 8 Rules for Safe Gun Handling

Gun safety continues to be a hot topic around the world. It seems like another mass shooting appears on the news every week in this country and around the world. No matter where you stand on the topic, everyone can agree that firearm safety is something that needs to be taken seriously.

Handling a firearm is a serious responsibility. Whether you are a new or an experienced gun owner, anyone who handles a gun must know how to operate it with safety in mind. Both gun operators and those around them can be at risk for severe injury or even death if they do not follow the proper safety precautions. 

When you are handling a firearm, there are universal safety rules that must be followed to minimize the risk of an incident. In this article, we will highlight eight cardinal rules of gun safety that can keep you and your family safe.  

The Cardinal Rules of Firearm Safety

Always assume a gun is loaded. Why? Because assuming a gun is not loaded is precisely how many gun-related accidents occur. Even if you are sure there is no ammunition in the chamber, you should always visually check to verify. Responsible gun operators will always unload a firearm when not in use.  

Don’t point your gun at anything you do not want to shoot. Accidental shootings can be significantly reduced if operators take care to point the muzzle away from people, animals or anything they do not intend to kill. If a discharge does occur unexpectedly, there will be a higher chance of avoiding serious injury. It is critical to keep in mind what is beyond the trajectory of a bullet. Whether a purposeful shot or not, bullets can travel through walls and floors, ricochet and cause injury to other people.   

Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. Prevent accidents by making it a habit to keep your finger resting on the side of the gun, rather than on the trigger. This one habit alone can help you avoid accidental discharges that result in injury.

Keep your gun maintained and serviced. You probably wouldn’t go on a road trip with a car that hasn’t been serviced in years. So, why would you use a gun that hasn’t been adequately cleaned or maintained? If you are unsure of how to do this yourself, consult a professional gunsmith to inspect, clean and adjust your firearm.

Never leave your gun unattended. Do not risk a child, inexperienced family member or criminal taking possession of your firearm. Have a system in place for securing and storing your gun. Taking extra precautions can mean the difference between life and death for you or someone you love.

Wear eye and ear protection. Whenever you shoot a gun, take precautions to protect yourself. Some of the most common usage injuries from shooting a firearm include hearing loss and eye damage. Guns are very loud and repeated firing without ear protection can lead to severe hearing loss in the future. Firearms also emit particles and gas that can cause injury to your eyes and vision loss.

Use the correct ammunition. Guns are not meant to be used with just any type of ammo. Check the owner’s manual or the barrel of the gun to learn which kind of ammunition should be used with your firearm. Using incorrect ammo could result in damage to the gun or injury to yourself or others.

Never use a gun under the influence of any substances. The misuse of a firearm can result in serious consequences. Under no circumstances should a gun be used by someone who is under the influence of drugs, alcohol or any other substance that impairs judgment. Even the most experienced gun users can make a mistake when drugs or alcohol cloud their thinking.

Firearm Safety is Your Responsibility

No matter if you are at the shooting range or in your home, safety should be your number one priority when handling or operating a firearm. Besides following these cardinal rules of firearm safety, many hunting and shooting classes are available to teach you how to be safe when using a firearm. It is your responsibility to know how to operate your gun and keep it secure for the safety of yourself and your family.   

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

Trade Show Security: 5 Tips to Keep Your Event Safe

Trade Show Security: 5 Tips to Keep Your Event Safe

Trade shows can be incredible opportunities to network, market new and existing businesses and learn about the latest trends in an industry. These events attract thousands of people, including some high-profile individuals such as celebrities, executives and politicians. With this amount of exposure, trade shows can be magnets for serious security concerns that could put thousands of attendees in harm’s way.

All too often, we see violence carried out against innocent people like concertgoers, runners and commuters, to name a few. We never know when or where a horrific attack will occur. With this uncertainty, event managers must take the security of their events seriously. Making security a priority will not only show attendees that the event producers care about their safety, but it will demonstrate the professionalism of the event itself.

Unfortunately, many trade show producers put security on the bottom of their lists. In the world we live in today, a lack of attention to event security is no longer an option. If you are planning a trade show or large event, consider the following five guidelines for successful trade show security in our modern world.

5 Guidelines for Trade Show Security

Hire security experts.

Event producers are not necessarily security experts. It is essential to hire a professional security company that has experience handling an event of your size and the types of security threats that you might expect. Allow the security experts to assess your event beforehand to determine appropriate staffing for the venue, number of attendees and type of event.

Many event producers leave security preparations for the end of the planning process, once all of the event arrangements and logistics have been set. Unfortunately, this can be problematic. The security experts will be forced to make do with the logistics that have already been determined, and these might not be best from a security standpoint. To avoid costly changes or weaknesses in your security plan, bring in security experts at the beginning of the planning process.

Make a budget for security.

After consulting with a professional security company, you will have a better idea of what needs to be done to ensure the safety and security of your event. It is important to set aside the appropriate amount of money in your budget for security personnel and other security measures.

With the threats of terrorism and active shooter events regularly on the news, your security measures should not be bare bones. This may mean cutting back in other areas like catering or marketing. However, when people’s lives and your reputation are on the line, no amount of money should be spared.

Screen all guests and staff.

The largest trade shows may have thousands of people coming in and out of the venue each day, including exhibitors, guests, vendors and staff. Due to these high volumes, it is critical to have a robust screening process for all who enter the building.

The first step is to have clear credentials for all guests, including staff. Proper identification will allow you to monitor access to the event and manage access to restricted areas. Trade show producers can take other steps to screen visitors such as:

  • Installing walk-through metal detectors
  • Requiring visual inspections of bags
  • Metal-detecting wands to inspect bags and other items brought into the venue
  • Limiting the number of entrances to the site
  • Utilizing K-9 security sweeps

Consider the use of cameras and other technology.

Security measures like those mentioned above are effective. However, it will not be possible for security personnel to monitor all areas of the venue at all times. Security cameras and other security technology can help fill in those gaps.

The mere presence of cameras throughout the venue can deter would-be criminals from perpetrating crimes like theft or vandalism. When cameras capture a crime or attack taking place, event producers have a better chance of identifying and catching the perpetrator.

Prepare for medical emergencies.

Crime and violence are not the only emergencies that can occur at a large trade show or event. With thousands of people in one place, there is always a chance that a serious medical emergency could occur. Smart event producers will always have a medical crew on site and ready to respond to medical events such as falls, heart attacks, allergy attacks or other medical conditions.

All staff should know what to do and who to contact in the event of a medical emergency. Telephone numbers for the nearest hospital, police department and fire department should be easily accessible to all staff and security personnel.

Prepare Your Trade Show for Success

Although it isn’t possible to predict a medical or security emergency at a big trade show or event, the most successful event producers recognize the importance of preparation. If you are planning a trade show, be sure that your security plan is number one on your list. Not only will having proper security measures in place give you peace of mind, it will also ensure the best possible experience for all who attend.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

20 Tips for Staying Safe During a Hurricane

20 Tips for Staying Safe During a Hurricane

The threat of a hurricane can be scary for those living in hurricane-prone areas along the southern and eastern coasts of the United States. As a hurricane makes its way toward land, residents of these areas are faced with the unknown. The possibility of losing their homes, the destruction of their property and the physical danger to their families are genuine risks. 

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which caused massive destruction in the Bahamas and damage along the East Coast of North America, the need to be prepared for extreme weather is clear. If you live in a hurricane zone, there are certain preparations you can make beforehand to help protect your home and your family. Making preparations before a hurricane hits and knowing what to do during and after a big storm can give you and your family the best chance of coming out safe and sound.

20 Tips for Hurricane Safety

Recent hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, Irma, Harvey and Dorian left a trail of devastation. But unlike other extreme weather, hurricanes can be tracked several days in advance. Tracking gives residents living in the storm’s path some time to prepare and take the necessary precautions. Still, you never know when a hurricane will hit. While September is the most common month for hurricanes to touch land, hurricane season actually runs from June through November.

Are you concerned about hurricane safety? Do you have a safety plan for before, during and after a massive hurricane? Read on to learn how you can keep your home and family secure during a dangerous storm.

Pre-season Hurricane Preparation Tips

Create a hurricane emergency kit. Have an easily transportable bag or container ready to go with the necessary supplies you might need in an evacuation. Some useful emergency items include a first aid kit, flashlights, batteries, tools, cash and medications.

Have an evacuation plan. If you must evacuate your home, all family members must know exactly what to do and where to go. Assign each family member a role and establish a designated meeting place. Make sure your family is familiar with the evacuation route in case communication is impossible.

Organize your important documents. Valuable documents such as passports and birth certificates should be kept in a waterproof folder that is easily accessible and in a known location to all family members.

Stock up on food and water. You never know how destructive a hurricane will be and what resources will be unavailable. Include a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water with your emergency kit. Be sure to have several day’s worth of supplies for each member of your family.

Prepare your home. The best time to make sure that your home is as safe and secure as possible is before hurricane season hits. There are many precautions you can take to fortify your home in advance, such as obtaining comprehensive insurance, purchasing supplies to reinforce doors and windows and installing a generator. 

What to Do During a Hurricane Warning  

Reinforce windows and doors. Secure windows, doors and other openings with plywood or specialty storm shutters to increase their stability. Windows and doors are especially susceptible to high winds and floodwaters.

Fuel up your vehicles. Be sure that your vehicles have a full tank of fuel before the storm. In the event that you must evacuate, you will be able to leave the area quickly without worrying about gas shortages along the evacuation route.

Sign up for hurricane alerts. FEMA and local authorities will issue hurricane notifications and updates. Make sure that you sign up to receive these alerts, so you are kept up-to-date on evacuation requirements and procedures.

Clear large outdoor items. Take preventative measures by removing or securing outdoor furniture, large branches, trash cans or any other loose items that could become hazards during high winds and heavy rains.

Have all emergency and food supplies handy. Your emergency kit and food supplies won’t be any good if they are not easily accessible. Make sure that you keep these resources in an easily accessible location where they can be quickly grabbed if needed.

What to Do During a Hurricane

Evacuate when ordered. Always abide by calls to evacuate your area immediately. Do not think you can outlast the storm. Evacuations are called for a reason – to keep people safe.

Stay away from windows and doors. Winds and floodwaters can break windows and blow in doors. Secure yourself in an interior, windowless room that is on the lower level of your home.

Do not go outside. Wait until you get the all-clear from authorities before going outside. Remember that calm weather does not always indicate that the storm has passed. It can mean that you are in the eye of the storm and that there is more to come. 

Avoid contact with electrical devices. The risk of electrocution is high during a hurricane. Turn off large appliances and avoid anything with an electric current until given clearance from the authorities.

After the hurricane has passed, there are still many safety threats that residents face as they return to their homes and communities. Follow these basic rules after a hurricane: 

  • Wait for clearance from authorities before returning to your home.
  • Avoid walking in flooded areas.
  • Avoid driving in flooded areas.
  • Avoid downed power lines.
  • Take care when re-entering your home for weak floorboards and crumbling roofs.
  • Do not drink tap water. 

Be Prepared for the Next Big Hurricane

A hurricane can be devastating. Be sure that you take precautions before hurricane season starts by gathering the necessary supplies, creating a plan and fortifying your home. Preparation and knowledge are the keys to keeping your family safe and your property secure. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

5 Qualities of a Successful Security Guard

5 Qualities of a Successful Security Guard

Many people go about their days without thinking much about the security professionals that keep them safe. Shopping centers, grocery stores, corporate buildings and restaurants employ security guards to keep their customers secure and deter criminals from targeting their businesses. The mere presence of a uniformed security guard is often enough to prevent theft, vandalism or violent crimes from occurring in our communities. 

Without the hard work, dedication and training of professional security personnel, the public would be at a much greater risk of experiencing serious threats to their safety in their day to day lives. 

If you are considering a position as a security guard, you are probably aware of the many options that the field offers qualified individuals. Dedicated security guards can be found in almost every type of retail, commercial or residential business. It is a great career that can be both lucrative and rewarding for those who possess the right qualities for success. 

Are you wondering if you have what it takes? Here are 5 of the top qualities that the most successful security guards have in common.  

5 Qualities of a Successful Security Guard 

Honesty 

Businesses hire security guards to keep their most valuable assets safe. Whether that is expensive merchandise, money, their employees or their customers, a business owner needs to feel confident that they can trust the guards on duty. 

Dishonest security guards can pose a high risk for business owners. A guard who uses his or her position to steal property from their client will cost businesses much more than just their peace of mind. Or a guard who knowingly allows unauthorized people on a property can leave the business at risk for a variety of crimes and liabilities. An honest security guard will always act with integrity while on shift and put the best interests of their client first.

Reliability 

A successful security guard is one that can be relied on to do their job, and to do it well. They will arrive on time and work hard for the duration of their shift. After all, security is only effective when the guard is present, alert and prepared for any security threat that may come their way. In any job, reliability is key. However, when it comes to security, a guard who is a no-show or arrives late could put lives in danger. 

Clear Communication 

The job of a security guard is so much more than protecting people and property. A security guard will be dealing with members of the public, some are honest citizens while others may have criminal motives. A successful security guard will be able to clearly communicate with people from all walks of life. They will be able to speak respectfully yet authoritatively to ensure that rules are followed and people stay as safe as possible. 

Further, a successful security guard will need to be able to clearly communicate to their superiors, the client and law enforcement in the aftermath of a security event. They may also be tasked with writing clear yet thorough incident reports or providing a verbal statement to the police. 

Quick Thinking

There is no telling if and when a security situation may occur. Often these situations happen when you least expect them. A successful security guard is alert, prepared and able to think quickly in the face of an emergency. The best guards can rapidly assess a situation and determine the most appropriate response to de-escalate it and keep people safe. Trained guards will have the tools they need to act confidently and handle any security threat that they may encounter.

Leadership and Teamwork 

Effective security is a team effort. Even though many security guards seemingly work independently, the reality is that they are often part of a security team. That team not only includes other security guards but the clients, law enforcement personnel and any other person that may be on site. 

The best security guards understand that they are in a leadership role. They are comfortable giving direction and making decisions when it really counts. Yet, they also understand that they are part of a security team and that they may be required to take orders from others for the highest good of all involved. 

Honesty, reliability, clear communication, quick thinking and leadership. Although these qualities can be found in some of the best and most successful security guards in the business, there are many other qualities that can make a security guard stand out from the crowd. Physical fitness, professional training, customer service and respect are just some of the other qualities that can help a guard advance in their career.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant
quote.

Our experience means your safety.

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