Summer Heat Safety Tips for Security Guards

Summer 2020 has been unlike summers in recent memory. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging and social unrest across the country, people are facing unprecedented levels of fear and anxiety. Add to this the extreme heat and the recent Colorado and California wild fires, and you have a recipe for more disorder. 

Studies have indicated that summer time is typically a period of higher than average homicide rates. In fact, some of our largest cities have experienced higher than normal rates of gun violence over the last few months. Although these facts are frightening, they are not meant to scare you. 

We want to alert security professionals to the fact that they have to be on high alert as we enter the final weeks of the season. Security guards, especially those who work outdoors and perform mobile patrols, must take extra precautions to protect themselves from the heat. They must also know how to help others who may be negatively impacted by the heat and smoky air. 

By learning heat wave safety skills, security guards can better protect themselves, keeping them ready and able to respond to an increase in security and medical emergencies. 

Tips for Protecting Yourself in Extreme Heat 

The American Red Cross states that excessive heat is the leading cause of death among all other weather-related events. Heat and humidity can have devastating effects on humans and can result in very serious health concerns. As a security guard, you are responsible for the safety of those you are hired to protect. You are also responsible for keeping yourself healthy and safe so you can do your job effectively. 

When you are working in excessive heat conditions, consider the following tips to keep yourself and your fellow guards safe in the heat. 

Wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Too much sun can result in heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Protect your skin by wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater. Wear additional protective clothing such as sunglasses, hats and long sleeves. Avoid leaving any skin exposed to the sun. 

Maintain proper levels of hydration. Drinking fluids regularly can help keep you hydrated and prevent heat illnesses. The sun, heat and humidity can rapidly deplete your water stores without you realizing it. Even if you are not feeling thirsty, drink water. Guards should make sure that they have ample access to water throughout the day. 

Ensure there is sufficient shade and take frequent breaks. Security guards who are performing mobile patrols should make sure that they have access to shade and an air conditioned environment throughout their shift. When temperatures are reaching extreme levels, guards should be provided more breaks during a shift. 

Perform patrols with a partner. In order to stay safe and help reduce the risk of a heat-related illness, security guards should work in pairs when performing patrols outdoors. The buddy system will help ensure that there is always someone to respond in the event of an emergency. 

Devise a heat wave security plan. Security guard companies and their clients should have comprehensive heat wave emergency plans in place. These plans should indicate what guards should do during excessive heat and how they should handle a variety of dangerous situations. 

Signs of Heat-Related Illnesses 

In addition to knowing how to keep yourself safe, guards should know how to identify the signs of heat stroke or other heat-related illnesses. This knowledge can not only help guards protect themselves, but it can help them intervene early when they see another person in distress, and potentially safe a life. 

Heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are three of the most common conditions that people experience during a heat wave. Cramping is usually an early sign that a person is being negatively impacted by extreme heat. Heat exhaustion is characterized by: 

  • Pale skin
  • Moist, cool skin
  • Headache
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness 

If a security guard begins to experience these symptoms or notice another person showing these signs, they should take immediate steps to hydrate and cool the victim. Move indoors or to a shady, cooler location. Remove excess clothing that could be causing the person to retain heat and prevent adequate air circulation. Apply a wet towel or other cloth to help speed up the rate of cooling. Sip water or sports drink to replace fluids and electrolytes. If these measures do not help, call emergency medical professionals because it could indicate that the person is suffering from heat stroke. 

Heat stroke can be a deadly condition and it requires immediate medical attention. Signs of heat stroke are more severe than heat exhaustion and can include: 

  • High body temperature
  • Dry, red skin
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid pulse
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting 
  • Seizures 
  • If you notice the signs of heat stroke, call 911. Then, take steps to rapidly cool down the body by putting the individual in cold or icy water or covering them with cold, wet towels or ice. 

The Role of Security Guards for Businesses in 2020

Security guard services have been in high demand in recent months. If you are a security guard, you surely know that the job has become even more challenging. Protect yourself in the summer heat so you can better protect others. Following the tips above can help you avoid a heat-related illness and identify one in others. 

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

Our experience means your safety.

Summer Travel Considerations During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Since March, many Americans have been staying at home and limiting their outings to help curb the spread of Covid-19. The pandemic has changed the way we live, work and socialize; and, it seems that the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is not about to end anytime soon. As more states began to loosen their stay at home restrictions and reopen their economies, we have seen spikes in numbers of infections across the country. 

Despite this concerning news and the doubt that comes with it, many Americans are still feeling the urge to get away this summer. Road trips may have replaced international adventures and small family gatherings may have replaced large family reunions, but many people are finding that they need to recharge outside of their homes. 

The question on the minds of many this summer is how to travel safely during a pandemic. If you feel the pull to travel, it is critical that you take your safety and that of others into consideration. Aside from following state and federal guidelines regarding the pandemic, travel and social interaction, there are things you can do to help reduce your chances of getting sick and increase your chances of traveling safely. 

And if you are still on the fence, these questions may help you decide what choice is right for you and your family. 

3 Considerations for Traveling this Summer 

In times of uncertainty, it is important that you plan ahead. Whether you have decided to make a go of it or if you are still not sure if travelling is the right decision for you, taking these 3 points into consideration will help you make a more informed choice. 

Decide where you will go (and how you will get there).

While you may have a destination in mind, do your research before committing to a location. Find out if that area is experiencing higher than normal infection rates by checking a Covid-19 tracker and reviewing the state’s website. Also consider that many attractions are closed or limited in their availability, including national parks and amusement parks. Be sure to stay aware of the safety rules for that area, being mindful of the fact that they may change. 

Once you decide where you will travel to, you must consider how you will get there. Although airlines are taking extra precautions such as temperature checks before boarding and mandatory masks, many people are still weary of airline travel. Because of this, many families are choosing a good, old-fashioned road trip instead of a flight. Road trippers likely have more control over their environments and those they interact with.

If you do choose a road trip this summer, take these points into consideration: 

  1. Pack plenty of personal protective gear such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfecting wipes. Bringing enough of these valuable supplies will help you avoid unnecessary trips to the store or being left exposed. 
  2. Prevent the need to stop more than required by bringing along ample snacks and beverages. If you do need to stop for rations, choose a drive-through that requires less physical interaction. 
  3. Plan your route in advance so you can research the safety rules for the states and cities you will be driving through. 
  4. If you must stop for gas, restroom breaks or food, be sure to wipe down the pump and other surfaces you come into contact with. Wash your hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer often. 

Choose your accommodations carefully. 

Once you know where you are going and how you will get there, you must decide where you will sleep. Those with campers and RVs may decide to stay in their homes-on-wheels. Others must choose between a hotel or home rental service like AirBnB or VRBO. There are pros and cons to each option, so do your homework before choosing the right one for you. 

Hotels, especially chain hotels, are more likely to have strict cleaning and sanitation standards to prevent the spread of the virus in their facilities. However, hotels are often busy with people coming in and out from various parts of the country, making it more difficult to maintain social distance.  

Home rentals offer a greater ability for you to limit your interactions with others. You can also bring your own food so you know exactly where it came from and how it was prepared. On the flip side, not all home rentals have professional cleaning services who will adequately sanitize the property. Contact the home owner to learn more about their cleaning and sanitation policies before making your booking. 

Be flexible.  

This probably goes without saying, but you will need to be flexible. Rules and regulations are changing every day as rates of infection rise and fall in states throughout the country. Take into account the uncertainty that everyone is feeling and the current risks of travel. Understanding that things may not go as planned will help you curb your disappointment if the trip has to be postponed or cancelled. 

No matter what choices you make for your summer travel plans, being prepared and remaining flexible will help you make the most out of this changing and challenging situation.  

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

Our experience means your safety.

5 Ways to Defuse a Heated (and Potentially Dangerous) Confrontation

Security guards, whether manning an event or maintaining the safety of a public area, must stay in control to keep everyone safe. Understanding how to control a situation is key to avoiding further escalation and safety risks. The first method to maintain control and defend against potential violence is to defuse the situation. Much of the time, security officers can deescalate conflict and neutralize a threat with tactics to calm those involved. 

Whether dealing with a mild in-store disagreement or a group conflict at an event, here are a few tips on how to defuse a potentially dangerous situation.

5 Ways to Defuse a Heated (and Potentially Dangerous) Confrontation

1. Scan for signs of tension

In order to deescalate conflict, security officers must first be aware of what that conflict might look like. Signs may present more obviously, with raised voices or cocked fists that may even draw a surrounding crowd, depending on the venue. Or, you may need to look more closely to identify physical signs of a disturbance. 

For one, facial expression changes as anger rises. Brows furrow, lips tend to form a thin line, nostrils flare and the face also may blush and turn redder as anger builds. You may also spot tension in the body with clenched fists, stiff shoulders and even sweating. All of these physical signs may indicate that a situation is heating up and requires intervention.

2. Establish authority and intention

Once a situation needs an authority figure, it’s important to establish from the start who you are and what you are there to do. Clearly define your role at the event or venue as a security officer and explain that you’re here to help. Remember, the first goal is to calm those involved without having to take any additional measures. Defusing a situation before it becomes a problem is far superior to reacting to violence as it occurs. 

3. Be calm in your voice and demeanor

Nothing tends to make a person more annoyed than telling them to calm down, so it’s better if you can show, not tell. Approach the situation directly, but calmly. Speak with a calm authority. You’re not there to soothe them with a bedtime story, but a cool, direct voice will most likely encourage a more positive response from those you’re dealing with. Once you have their attention, clearly outline the policy of the event or venue. For example, explain that yelling or violence is not permitted and ask that they speak with you one-on-one to resolve the issue.

4. Show them that you’re listening

Active listening is a great tool to help those around you understand that they are being heard. Most of the time, anger can subside when the individual feels that they are being listened to. Physical responses of listening include maintaining eye contact and nodding the head to show that the message is being received. 

Try paraphrasing what they are saying periodically so they know you’ve understood them and ask questions. This will prompt them to respond so you can better understand the situation and engage them in a conversation, letting them know you’re there to help.

5. Define a resolution

Once the parties are calm and collected, you can effectively work through a resolution to make sure things don’t escalate again. The hope is that the tension was caught early enough to allow each party to leave the situation and go about their business, without the risk of anger building again. The resolution may be to involve program organizers or a store manager for further assistance. 

Of course, solving a dispute isn’t always this simple. At times the situation may have already escalated and requires further intervention more than talking through a mild argument. The resolution may be that both parties must be removed from the area, facility or event in order to maintain safety. Regardless of the situation, the resolution and reasoning must be calmly and clearly explained to all parties.

No two conflicts are alike, and different strategies may be needed in order to resolve that specific dispute. Defusing the situation should be the first step before using other tactics that may intensify a potentially dangerous situation further. Security guards are specifically trained to handle potentially dangerous situations while keeping people safe and secure. 

Do you need security guard services?

If you are a business owner, retail store operator or event producer, you probably have dealt with unfortunate situations like those described here. Hiring a reputable security guard company can ensure that your employees, customers, and guests remain safe while patronizing your business or event. Off Duty Officers has teams of highly trained guards with extensive experience in mitigating threats, unruly people and crowds. 

Are you interested in learning more about security solutions from Off Duty Officers?

Contact our security staff today to learn more about our security guards, services and customized solutions. Our security professionals are ready to discuss security recommendations for your specific needs. 

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

Our experience means your safety.