Leadership Solutions

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Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Emergency Response

Created by George Campbell, Security Executive Council Emeritus Faculty

Employee and invitee safety is a core mission of corporate security. Unfortunately, both business and local government resources are under budget pressure that could potentially impact emergency response. We need to encourage continued support by keeping management apprised of our high performance and readiness to respond.

We must anticipate a variety of emergencies that would require a response from Security, as well as, potentially, external public safety resources. Two key measures of readiness are:

  • The time it takes for response resources to arrive at the location of need; and
  • The amount of time required to successfully execute a facility evacuation.

The nature of business operations, in terms of threats to health and safety, as well as the demographics of the workforce, will influence the risk profile of each business. The two charts that follow, however, should be meaningful in any organization. They intend to focus management’s attention on a serious employee safety objective — the ability to respond to a variety of emergency situations. Each set of data underscores a key dependency, the first on external resources and the second on business unit commitment to preparedness.



First Responder and Response Time: We routinely hear public safety services referred to as “first responders.” However, reduced tax revenues are placing increased pressure on public safety budgets, and we need to be aware of the impact of this pressure on response times. While we must have reasonable expectations of on-call responsiveness by local police, fire and emergency medical services, today’s security manager needs to advocate and sell his or her Security Operations teams as primary first responders with the requisite objectives, competencies and tools to address likely emergency events.

In this example, security management’s goal is to have a security officer at the scene within five minutes of an incident. Of the 235 emergency events at this company in 2008, 57% required EMS. Internal security teams reliably responded on average at the five-minute goal, with EMS arriving in just over 15 minutes on average. That extra 10 minutes after the initial security response to assess and stabilize the victim is deemed beyond the threshold of timely response to a medical emergency.

This assessment provided justification for implementing increased first responder training for 25% of the security force, and EMS certification for four security officers on the company’s core business hour coverage.



Annual Evacuation Drill Response: It has consistently been demonstrated that we must have confidence in our ability to responsibly evacuate our business spaces within a planned timeline. In spite of the clear lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks, all security managers are aware of the pushback that comes from business unit management when we propose to test emergency building evacuation plans on at least an annual basis.

In this example, we have a test objective of 25 minutes that obviously has to be adjusted for each set of sites. The result at Site 3 serves to focus on the critical role of appointed and qualified Floor Wardens and is noted to give slack to this individual but also to highlight the focus on the next exercise. These drills must be high on the risk management agenda, and I would suggest that the responsible manager at Site 8 needs an attitude adjustment with a strong management focus on his performance review and bonus eligibility.

These two graphs tell a very important story about employee safety. Security management here is diligent in measuring key risk indicators, has focused on the competencies of security teams, and has set standards for response times and expectations for business unit responsibility in emergency preparedness. In this example, Corporate Security has said “what if” and added measurable value to employee and invitee safety and security.

For more information on this topic see Security Metrics: Measuring Performance

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Copyright Security Executive Council. Last Updated: October 11, 2018

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Metrics_for_Success_Emergency_Response.pdf
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