Four tips for Security Guards, Loss Prevention Officers and other First Defenders.

Recently I was watching a streaming series about a very clever lawyer and every time it seemed he was backed into a corner and was about to lose, at the last very moment, he would bring out some brilliant long forgotten legal strategy or obscure law that nobody remembered and find his way to victory.

I really admire this character and imagine how great it would be to (in real life) be that proficient at what you do.

The problem in real life for us in the security and investigative industry is, that in our world, being clever is very nice and that might win the day for you 99 out of 100 times, but… we’re in an industry where the bad guys, will frequently start with the willingness to do violence and that means a clever little legal strategy is not enough to keep yourself or others safe.

Typical Example:

If you have a shoplifter, maybe their initial plan is to be slick and just try to sneak something out of the store, but their backup plan is going to be to run or to fight. If they run and get caught, they’re going to fight.

So violence in our industry is kind of the default. In many cases, like a robbery, it’s the starting point and that changes the dynamic considerably.

What is a First Responser?

First responders are those men and women who come to our help when we dial 911 — the fire department, the emergency medical services and police officers. They are the first ones to respond to something. They’re the first responders.

What is a First Defender?

A first defender is different than first responder. First Defenders are those men and women already on the scene when something bad happens. Usually that means Security Guards. We in our industry are frequently the first defenders. We are already on the scene and we’re the first people that have to defend the victims and protect the property that we’re guarding.

So as a first defender, I want to give you four tip that can help you in this industry where violence can happen suddenly.

The Four Tips…

1. Have a Plan.

My number one tip is to have a plan. You need to be thinking about what could go wrong where you’re working.

That means if you’re working security, think about where the bad guys are most likely to come in. Where’s another way that they might slip in? Where’s the nearest exit? Where’s your backup exit in case the primary exit is blocked? Where’s the nearest fire extinguisher? How are you going to sound the alarm if there’s a problem? All of these things fall under “having a plan” because when the bad guys come in and you have a plan, that can make all the difference in the world.

2. How are you going to sound the alarm?

In this world we work in, where violence is very close to the first move a bad guy’s gonna’ make is: Sounding the alarm.

How are you going to sound the alarm?
Is there a pull switch that you have to work? Can you get to it? Have you worked it before? Do you know how it works? Is there a duress or hidden “panic” button? Can you reach it? Do you trust it? Do you know what’s going to happen when you press the duress button? Do you have the phone numbers you need in a hurry memorized or are you relying on speed dial? Are you wearing your walkie talkie? Do you have the microphone in a spot you can get a hold of it? Can you reach the mic with either hand in case your preferred hand is injured in an attack?

All of these things fall into the category of sounding the alarm and it’s a huge reason you’re there.

Think about the security guards you’ve seen in your life. Sometimes you’ll walk into a place and it’ll be a really old person and you’ll think, “What in the world could they possibly do if something went wrong”?

Likewise, it’s very impressive when you walk into a place and the security guard looks like a linebacker, big and strong and able to handle anything that comes along. But that little old lady or little old man who’s working as a security guard can be more valuable if they know how to sound the alarm!

That’s why we (you!) in the security industry are so valuable, because we have a brain. You can look, observe, evaluate, and take action. And if nothing else, just sounding the alarm, getting the alert out that something’s wrong is extremely valuable!

That may not necessarily mean calling 911. It may not be pulling an alarm or pressing the duress button at your watch post. Sometimes sounding the alarm is simply giving a heads up, calling your supervisor and saying, “Hey, we just had a guy walk in, keep an eye on me for a minute” or “Hey, I see somebody outside our building on cameras. Do we have guard available who can touch base with this guy or just keep an eye on him?”

All of that falls into that category of “sounding the alarm” and it is why you’re so valuable and a huge reason why you’re there!

3. Be fit.

We work in a industry where violence is sometimes the default, and let’s face it, being fit is a benefit.

If it’s at all possible for you, being fit may enable you to (on very rare occasions) be the person who steps between the bad guy and the victim.

There’s a lot of people out there that are very appreciative that there was a private security person there to help them.

However, being fit, strong and able to handle yourself is not realistically an option for everybody. Maybe you’re getting older, maybe you have some injuries. This is just something that’s not going to be possible for all of us. But that leads me right to point number four, which goes a long way toward making up for that lack of fitness…

4. Be Vigilant!

In this world where violence by bad guys is sometimes the default action is for you to be vigilant. To have your head up and be looking around. Period.

Look, you can have that big burly linebacker guy as a security guard or you can have a little old lady with bad knees who has to take the elevator because she can’t even climb the stairs. But, if the big burly linebacker is watching a movie on his cell phone and the little old lady has her head up and is looking around at who’s coming and going from the building, then I want the little old lady everyday of the week and that linebacker can find another job.

Here’s what happens in the real world…

In the real world something bad happens and people say to themselves, “If I could just go back and do it over again”. Or you’ll hear this phrase uttered at more crime scenes than you can count, “He just came out of nowhere!”

Sure, the bad guys want to just come out of nowhere. They want to sneak up on you, get you from behind or when you’re not paying attention, but the reality is, how many times do you see a guard looking at their cell phone or playing on the computer when they should be paying attention?

Here is your chance (your only chance!) to go back in time… Be Vigilant Now!

This is the only way it works: Distance and Time. That’s where you’ve got your advantage. You can increase the amount of time you have to defend an attack by being vigilant and seeing the attacker from a greater distance.

If, as a first defender, you’re sitting there on your cell phone watching a movie or playing a game and you look up and the bad guy’s right in front of you, you have no time to react. Game over.

Imagine the other scenario though, where you’ve got a security camera and you can see outside the building. This time you can see this person outside and you can say, “Something’s not right here.” Maybe you just get on the phone with your supervisor and say, “Hey, I got somebody out front. They look like they’re coming in. Just keep an eye on me for a minute on cameras,” and you have bought yourself a lot of time to prepare. Plus you’ve got somebody else involved. You’re not in it alone anymore.

Maybe you don’t have that very valuable outside camera where you can see people coming. Maybe the only heads-up you’ve got is when the door opens 20 or 30 feet away from you as people come into the building. Seeing a bad guy come in and being 20 feet away from you — that buys you time as well!

Compare that to if you’re looking down playing on your cell phone and when you look up the bad guys right at your desk. You have no time to react!

If you see them coming in the front door, you have two or three seconds, sometimes more, and in our world that can make a real difference!

So be like the lawyer in that streaming television series I was telling you about. Be smart and clever. Know your resources. Know what you have to work with. But also keep in mind these four tips that I’ve just shared with you so you’re better able to do your job.

Committed to your success and safety,
Larry Kaye,
Private Investigator & Security Consultant

P.S. – If you like this training, be sure to check out my special report, “If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things”. You can get it right here…Mail Form:

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