I’ve spent the last 22+ years working in the electronic security industry and, during that time, I’ve made it my mission to educate customers on things they can do to not only protect their business, but also protect themselves.
It’s important – and sometimes critical – to build relationships with customers and act as their partner in security, not just their salesman. As part of that philosophy, I always provide safety tips to my customers, beyond the expected advice of how to get the most out of their security system.
One such tip I shared proved to be essential in saving my customer’s life. Check out her story below and continue reading for more safety and security tips.
Surviving a Hostage Situation
When I’m providing customers information about their intrusion detection system, I always let them know that there is a hostage/ambush code built into it.
This code is a pattern, so people are more likely to remember it and, when the code is entered on the alarm panel, it appears as if the person is disarming the security system. In reality, it’s sending a silent signal to the monitoring center’s central station, which alerts them that a customer is involved in a hostage situation and prompts them to contact law enforcement and request immediate dispatch.
On June 25, 2001, this code saved the life of one of my customers.
She recounted the story to me: As she was entering her facility alone after hours, she said somebody snuck up behind her with a gun and forced her inside. She remembered the conversation we had about this code and used it to turn the alarm off. She said the perpetrator tied her to a chair, pointed the gun at her and repeatedly hung up on the police who were trying to call in to defuse the situation.
Law enforcement officials were eventually able to disarm the perpetrator and rescue her. Although she was clearly shaken from the experience, she was safe.
When she called me the next morning, the first thing she said was, “Corey, thank you. If it wasn’t for you, I would never be speaking to anyone ever again.”
She calls me every year on that day to thank me and, about five years ago, she sent me a picture of her grandchild, with a card that thanked me for helping her live to be a grandmother.
This is one of the most impactful moments of my career and, truthfully, of my life. I’ll never forget it. The simple act of partnering with my customer and providing her all the tips and tools at my disposal helped to save her life.
Safety and Security Tips
As a security professional, it’s my responsibility to not only make recommendations to address customers’ electronic security needs, but also provide tips that could make their world safer. While the list of tips can get rather long, here are three that – when followed – have helped my customers avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Use the Buddy System
When leaving work in the evenings, always leave in pairs – especially this time of year when it gets dark early. Criminals are less likely to attack when there are more people around.
If you are faced with a situation in which you have to leave by yourself, here are a few helpful tips to consider:
- Peek out the windows or, if you have access to it, review the exterior security camera footage to see if there is anyone or anything that looks out of place.
- Walk with your car’s key fob in hand and your finger on the panic button. In the event you feel like you’re in danger, you can set off the car alarm to draw attention to yourself.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right as you are about to leave, don’t risk it. Call the non-emergency number for your local police and ask if there is a patrol car nearby that could stop by and escort you safely to your car.
Be Cautious When Saving Addresses in Your GPS
When saving addresses in your vehicle’s GPS, don’t enter your actual home address. Instead, enter an address that just gets you to your neighborhood.
I shared this tip years ago with a customer who worked in a part of town where she didn’t feel safe. She later explained to me that one night, her car was stolen and when police tracked it down, it was located two blocks away from her house. She had entered that address into her car’s GPS as “Home” instead of saving her real address.
Maintain Good Curb Appeal (for Safety’s Sake)
Make sure the outside of your business is well-lit in the evenings and that trees and shrubs are trimmed.
One of my customers years ago ran a neighborhood restaurant and bar that was open until 2 a.m. The outside lighting was very dim, and the trees were so overgrown that they touched each other and essentially created a barrier around the restaurant.
He told me that as he was leaving one evening, someone jumped out from behind one of the untrimmed bushes and attacked him. The perpetrator ended up getting into the establishment and stealing cash as well as inventory.
I now share this story with similar businesses to help them avoid the same threats. Whenever I’m on-site, I also scan the perimeter of the business to spot any potential safety concerns. Overgrown trees and shrubs seem innocuous enough, but maintaining good curb appeal can make a big difference when it comes to safety.
Keeping our customers safe is something we at STANLEY Security take very seriously. Helping them protect their employees, property and assets goes beyond helping them choose the right security systems. It requires truly being their partner, listening to their concerns and sharing information that can make their world safer.