By John Keimer
The world we live in today is vastly different from the world I grew up in as a kid in the 1960s and 1970s. We’d like to think that today the human species is more civilized than just two generations ago.
I grew up in Detroit in the ‘60s and I remember the assassination of JFK, then Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. In my home town, there were riots and fire bombings in the streets. The police response, at best, was an exercise in futility. The city burned.
We, as peaceful people, don’t want to live in that realm again. We’ve created many new laws and specialty tactical units to address these issues from a law enforcement perspective. But, in our day-to-day lives in upstate New York, we feel very sheltered from what happens in other cities and towns. We think, it can’t happen here. Oh, are we kidding ourselves.
Besides my day job at Shepherd, I’m a volunteer firefighter in the town of Guilderland. I was one of many who joined the fire service after 9/11. Firefighters take lots of training. In 2015, we had a class on active shooter training. Like many of us that day, we figured nothing will happen here, but not a bad idea to be prepared and have a pre-plan.
In 2016, I was asked by my chiefs be the public information officer (PIO) for the Westmere Fire District. I accepted the duty. That same afternoon, we had a shooting incident at Crossgates Mall. The dispatcher announced, multiple 911 calls, shots fired at Crossgates. I was praying that my agency didn’t have to be involved, but we did.
I manned the communications booth at the firehouse for hours. Multiple agencies responded according to the pre-plan. They used our apparatus to block all traffic in and out of the mall.
My point is, that we live in a time where you, as a business owner, have to have a pre-plan for incidents for which you may have never imagined. You need to think about the safety of yourself, your employees, your customers and your community. Without you, the company may not exist Without your employees, they can’t care for your customers, and if your customers don’t feel secure and safe transacting business with you, they go elsewhere.
If your operations pose a risk to your neighbor’s business, you won’t be perceived as a good neighbor contributing to the community.
Financial risk assessment is what you, as a business person, make decisions upon daily. Do I buy more stock? Do I hire a new person? Do I change credit processing services? Each of these things happen daily.
When is the last time you looked the risk to your property and buildings, ingress and egress, protection from people and protection from fire and water damage, or even cyber threats? These are risks to your business that can be mitigated, but cannot be totally prevented.
In the security world, we look at ways to keep risk manageable. Whether it’s monitoring your business for fire, carbon monoxide, intrusion and burglary, the security industry is poised to send help.
Help is available at your request, or your alarm system’s request. Cameras are everywhere these days, and one manufacturer’s rep told me his company produces 177,000 cameras per day. Why? That’s the demand. We want to see if someone’s hand is in the till, who robbed the clerk, who drove off from the gas pump, or if that person really did slip and fall.
The reasons are so many, because some people commit crimes that most of us don’t think of, but if we have some video, maybe we can have justice.
There are a lot of moving parts in this assessment, and it should be done in part by a professional. Your insurance company is a good start They want to minimize their exposure on the policy you purchased. You can also call a licensed security professional. It’s typically free and an expert can point out, and collaborate with you on ways to mitigate some of the risks.
They understand today’s technologies to keep you as safe as possible, within the confines of your budget. Make sure you work with a licensed professional. New York state requires those who install, maintain and monitor fire, security and CCTV systems to be licensed. Look to the licensed trade members of the New York State Electronic Security Association to assess your needs.
Let’s all stay safe out there!