Ssshhh…for security officers only

Security officers and supervisors who want to increase their effectiveness and efficiency while on post learn little tricks to better carry out their responsibilities. I learned these tips more than 3 decades ago and while they may be old, they are time tested and will help you out.

I know what it’s like to be a security officer sitting post. I’ve done it as an officer, supervisor, and manager. Therefore I know what it’s like to be freezing my big tookus off while sitting post or patrolling outside with temperatures hovering around -30 degrees. Additionally, if you ever sit in your car watching it rain on an empty street during a strike…

Staying awake all night long on a boring post… to those who have been around…we’ve all done it. For me, it’s hard enough to stay awake long enough to do work at night. When it’s boring and you have nothing to do but patrol a silent warehouse, it’s even worse. How do you stay awake?

Am I going to bore you with all the standard stuff? No. I’m not going to tell you to get up and walk around. Go outside and sniff the air. Nor will I tell you to get more sleep during your off hours, for some of us it just doesn’t work!

Those things may not work well, especially if you’re just too tired to even think about being tired. But one simple little tip I’ve used is this… just a pinch between your cheek and gum.

I’m talking about coffee. Take a large pinch of fresh coffee grounds and put it between your cheek and gum. The caffeine will get into your system much faster than drinking it, because it gets absorbed right into your blood stream. Is it nasty? Yes. Is it bitter? Absolutely. Will it perk you up until the sun peaks up? You betcha, especially if you don’t drink a lot of it. Since it doesn’t go through your stomach, as much, it shouldn’t upset it.

If you encounter ice and snow on a frequent basis, not to mention bitter cold, what happens if you discover a frozen lock? Be it a deadbolt or padlock, it doesn’t matter it can be exasperating if you have to get it open. How can you get it unlocked to complete your patrol and get back inside where it’s warm?

Keep in mind that this can be done even if you’re not a smoker. You should always carry a lighter and a piece of newspaper with you on patrol. With this you can stuff a bit of paper into the lock and torch it or if it’s not windy hold the flame under it. It shouldn’t take much to melt any snow or ‘unfreeze’ the lock. The only time you don’t do this, is if you work in a facility where incendiary devices are forbidden.

Do you know how to properly check a door when you’re on a patrol? It doesn’t matter if you’re inside all night or have to check doors on the outside. This little trick will help ensure that your facility is as secure as it can be when you’re on duty. And it may help prevent a devastating fire as well.

When you approach a door, put your hand on the door palm down. This will allow you to feel the door for any unnecessary heat, unless you are outside in below 0 temps (it may freeze to the door. Not comfortable to pull it off). Heat that shouldn’t be there could be an indication of a fire, therefore you need to learn your facility to know if the door is supposed to be hot or not.

Secondly, push and pull the door as you turn the knob. Using the push/pull method will allow you to know that the door is actually secure. The words to keep in mind while patrolling is push, pull, feel. These give you all indications if it is secure.

This next tip goes to how sensitive your senses are. Do you smoke? If not, then sniff the air if you’re supposed to be alone, cigarette smoke lingers for a long time as does the acrid smell of chemicals. See something move out of your peripheral vision? It may be nothing more than a bird but you need to check it out. Your gut instinct should never be ignored, unless it runs away with you like a scene from a Stephen King novel.

A last tip that  may make your supervisors cringe just a bit, but trust me it is time proven and well worth the possible headache. Be paranoid or as some would call it hyper-vigilant. No, I’m not talking about things that go bump in the warehouse at night or being so scared you can’t leave your desk to do your job.

Don’t let noises go unreported or ignored. Noises at 0300 that shouldn’t be there needs to be checked out. The same goes for 1500 on a Saturday afternoon.

Criminals can break into your facility and sound like rats or birds. Therefore checking it out you may stop a burglary or other theft. This is especially true if you work in a warehouse that houses high value material.

Criminals have been known to use nights & weekends to make noise and break into buildings. People usually think that it’s remodeling or utility work and ignore it. If you are in any doubt, call the police or your supervisor, even if it is a neighboring business.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page,, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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