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How to Prepare for Incidents That Are a Case of ‘When, Not If'

24/7 Software
Jul 16, 2020 7:00:00 AM

“There has been a car theft in parking lot GG.”

“A thunderstorm is approaching at 15 MPH.”

The calls are coming in.

“We have…”

You turn off your radio for a moment.

You stare at the mirror knowing you only have thirty seconds before your operations coordinator sends out the bat signal because you haven’t responded to your calls.

Cupping your hands under the faucet, you let the water run over them.

You slowly splash your face to make sure this isn’t a nightmare.

“Yep, this is real,” you mutter to yourself.

You put on your glasses, turn on the radio, and rush out of the restroom.

While your team is panicking over the radio, you open the restroom door to the thousands of customers moving throughout your property.

Your goal is to keep smiles on their faces and to ensure they never find out anything is ever wrong.

It’s a big goal, and not always achievable for your team.

More calls are coming, but they aren’t incident calls.

It’s your team.

You can hear the panic in their voices.

A few variations of “We weren’t prepared for this” make their way over the radio.

You head to the operations center.

“There’s no way to prepare for all of these incidents,” you tell yourself.

But, we’re here to tell you there is.

You’ll need to employ Proactive Operations because incidents occurring on your property is an instance of when not if.

Expect the Unexpected (And Be Ready for It)

We’re sure that you’ve read our popular resource entitled “What is Proactive Operations?”

But if you haven’t, click here to check it out.

You live in the real world.

So, rather than breaking down the fundamentals of Proactive Operations like we often do, we’re going to give you a realistic scenario of how to be ready for incidents when they occur.

Anything is possible, which is why you need to be ready for anything, even the unexpected, right?

Let’s say you’re faced with a suspicious person.

This scenario could pan out several different ways.

But, this is all the information we have at this moment.

They could be:

  • An active shooter
  • Initiating a bomb threat
  • A harmless, mildly intoxicated customer

You don’t know how this will turn out.

But, proactive operations are ready for anything.

Climbing shoes and chalk bag with magnesium powder on stone rock outdoor fb
( Expect the Unexpected )

Strategy Helps You Transition from Your Current State

Identify the key areas of the ACDA Principle™ that’ll apply to your property.

It’s how you should always start your strategy assessment.

  • Awareness: do you regularly have enough resources to contain a small issue or large-scale terrorist threat?
  • Communication: Whether faced with a wet spill or an active shooter incident, do you have real-time communications in place?
  • Documentation: Documenting every detail of every incident is necessary for protecting your property from liability. Are you capturing every aspect? Is the documentation complete and accurate?
  • Analysis: Are you able to review each day to optimize for the future.

Scrutinizing your operation to understand your strengths and weaknesses provides you with the foundation for moving forward.

Even if the suspicious person is only a harmless customer, the next customer might not be.

Lay the Cornerstone for Your Infrastructure

Your suspicious person makes his way into the building through an engineering corridor.

You don’t know it yet, but they have a small explosive device.

Your infrastructure must be stable for this example to end in your favor.

  • Organize your operations center to include a place for customer service, police, fire rescue, security, engineering, IT, housekeeping, and all other personnel and departments.

This organization of personnel forces efficient communication.

Your on-duty senior engineer identifies the suspicious person placing the explosive device.

How do they notify the operations center?

Either way, it’s time to notify need-to-know personnel.


This moment is where the outcome can turn in your favor, but only if you deploy the latest operations technology!

Preparation Is Only as Effective as the Technology Used to Execute

A chain of events occurs from the moment your senior engineer witnesses the incident.

How it all plays out depends on whether you employ every aspect of Proactive Operations.

We’ve addressed strategy and infrastructure, but in the 21st-century safety all boils down to technology.

The start of execution is not marked by minutes or hours; seconds make the difference.

And, you’ve got to be fast.

You must start your protocols-to-handle in a blink of an eye.

So, let’s not waste any more time.

Jerry, your senior engineer, uses his incident management mobile app to report the incident in seconds.

He uses the device to capture a quick picture of the suspect, and the explosive.

He reports the images and details of the situation at the speed-of-type™.

Then, he begins executing his protocols for a bomb scenario.

Your staff receives the entry in the incident management system.

Without delay, Lisa in the command center dispatches the incident using the incident management system’s short form.

Remember, seconds count!

All need-to-know personnel is notified of this high-priority incident via text, email, and their incident management mobile app.

  • Administration
  • Supervisors
  • Police
  • Fire Rescue
  • Security
  • Risk Management
  • City Personnel

You name it.

Your technology lets you set up these predetermined groups.

Because, when an incident occurs you won’t have time to think.

You must be proactive.

Execution without a hitch – and most importantly – the day carries on through its entirety.

Over to You

It doesn’t matter how you look at it. Preparation is preparation, whether your property is large or small. ‘Proactive Operations’ is the methodology the world’s greatest properties live by daily.

“When?” is a question always asked during the strategy discussions of a proactive operation. Now, the only question we have left is: are you prepared for the unexpected?

Editor's note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and freshness.

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