Halloween Safety and Tips

Halloween is a hauntingly exciting time of year where families and friends dress up in costumes to celebrate the occasion. Though Halloween can be a fun night, it can also be dangerous. For kids and teenagers, trick-or-treating is the highlight of Halloween. For others, throwing costume parties and celebrating with friends are more their vibe. Subsequently, Halloween can be one of the most dangerous nights of the year. Not only are there more drunk drivers on the road, upwards of 40 million children and families take to the streets to go trick-or-treating.

Enjoy a safe and spooky Halloween by following these tips:

A woman dressed in a vampire costume

Costumes

Costumes are a great way to celebrate Halloween and unleash your inner undead or supernatural self. However, there are plenty of safety precautions that should be considered before dawning your cape or space helmet.

  1. Plan costumes that are bright or reflective. It’s important to make sure that children are visible at night, especially while trick-or-treating in dimly lit areas. Give your child a flashlight to carry to light their way and make them easy to spot in the dark. Consider adding a reflective strip to their costume to add an extra layer of visibility.
  2. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent a tripping hazard.
  3. Look for flame resistant materials. Your child should always be supervised by an adult when lighting jack-o-lanterns. Additionally, make sure they’re wearing a costume made of flame-resistant materials in case they ever come into contact with one.
  4. Consider non-toxic makeup. Makeup can often be the finishing touch for any costume. If they are going to dawn face painting or makeup, make sure it’s non-toxic and safe for skin. Also, do a test patch on a small patch of skin to watch for any allergic reactions.
  5. Hats and masks should fit properly to prevent them from slipping downwards and obscuring vision.
  6. Avoid any sharp objects such as swords, canes, sticks, etc. These objects could injure your child or another person.
  7. Do not use cosmetic contact lenses without a proper eye examination or proper understanding of safe usage. Cosmetic contact lenses could potentially cause damage to your child’s eyes or eyesight. Improper use and hygiene could potentially lead to eye infections or physical damage to the eyes.
A group of vibrant pumpkins at a pumpkin patch

Pumpkins

Symbolically, pumpkins represent rebirth, fertility, and the harvest of crops. For those who go trick-or-treating, a glowing jack-o-lantern is a symbol that those who live there want a visit. Pumpkins are the most prominent symbol of Halloween and carving one can be fun for the entire family.

  1. Never allow small children to carve pumpkins while unsupervised. Often times, pumpkin carving tools have sharp edges that could easily lead to injuries. Children should always be supervised while carving pumpkins, especially when lighting them.
  2. Consider using a battery powered candle to flashlight to light your pumpkin.
  3. Do not place candlelit pumpkins near flammable objects or near visitors.

At Home

  1. Remove any tripping hazards. Additionally, remove heavy objects which could get pushed over and injure a visitor.
  2. Check outdoor lights and make sure that walkways are well lit and visible.
  3. Sweep wet leaves and remove foliage that visitors may slip on.
  4. Restrain pets and keep them in an area where they cannot escape. Some pets are extremely anxious, so consider having a friend or family member stay with them during trick-or-treating hours.

Trick-or-Treating

  1. Always accompany small children when they’re trick-or-tricking.
  2. Never go into a home or vehicle to receive candy.
  3. Make sure your children understand what to do in emergency situations. Rehearse calling 911 or other emergency contacts in case anything happens.
  4. Teach your children how to reduce pedestrian injuries. Always look both ways before crossing the street and make sure they wait for an adult before crossing. Add an extra layer of protection by making sure your child is visible and is carrying a flashlight.

New Mask Mandate Calls for Extra Security

New mask mandates means more security needed. Government officials in California are mandating that individuals return to wearing masks regardless of vaccination status. As infection rates rise, more counties will require that masks are worn in stores, restaurants, movie theaters, offices, and many other indoor activities.

Hiring Security

Judging from the behavior of some individuals when previous mask mandates were in place, many establishments have turned to increasing security. Some of the security services they’re looking for includes the following:

  • Temperature checks
  • Asking visitors if they’ve experienced fever, cough, or any Covid-19 related symptoms.
  • Asking that visitors wear masks the entire time they’re in an establishment

Healthcare facilities requires all visitors to wash their hands prior to entering. Otherwise, the guard may ask them to vacate the property.

A number of incidents, with some turning violent, took place during mask mandates. The Federal Aviation Administration states that roughly 2,200 reported incidents involved passengers who would not comply with the federal mask mandate. Recently, an incident at Disneyworld took place where a man assaulted a security personnel for enforcing their face covering policy. In Georgia, a dispute relating to a mask mandate left 1 employee dead and 2 others injured. The incident broke out after a customer and store clerk argued about a face covering.

These are only a few of many incidents that took place surrounding mask mandates across the country. Security Officers are typically trained in de-escalation tactics. Usually a verbal interaction is all that is needed. If that doesn’t work and the individual becomes physical or violent, then the guard is trained to use reasonable force and contact local law enforcement.

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Likewise, as more employees return to working from home, many companies are hiring security to secure their now-vacant property. Empty buildings become targets for squatters and opportunists looking for an easy robbery.

Why You Need Parking Security

Parking lots and parking garages are often scenes to crime including vehicle theft and vandalism. They’re easy targets due to their relatively low visibility, lack of security, and their tendency to become chaotic. Parking lots of every size and location are potentially at risk for crimes. This includes apartment complexes, shopping centers, airports, train stations, etc. It’s generally a good idea to hire security to monitor parking areas. Having a secure, organized, and well-lit parking area will keep things safe and in order.

A large amount of catalytic converters are being stolen from vehicles and the numbers are only increasing. They contain valuable precious metals such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium, thus making them a prime target for thieves.

Assess the Risks

Owners and property managers should walk through their parking areas to clearly assess security risks and hazards. Document the layout of the parking lot to identify its security strengths and weaknesses. Are there any areas hidden from view? Is the parking lot well-lit? Do you need to install cameras? Are you aware of who comes and goes from your parking lot? Subsequently, these questions help you understand where you’d place security features. These can include cameras, security patrol services, or extra lighting.

Lighting

One of the most affordable and effective options for security is lighting. Increasing visibility and lighting helps drivers and pedestrians see while minimizing hiding places for criminals. Shadows and dark areas increase the likelihood of crimes taking place. Having the right amount of lighting and spacing is important to reduce the amount of shadows on the property. Also, the spacing in lighting plays an important role in minimizing shadowy areas.

Don’t forget to illuminate the side of buildings, walkways, and the dumpster area. Customers and employees alike should feel safe while walking to their cars at night.

Landscaping

Invest in smart landscaping designs that work well with your lighting system. Avoid having large amounts of large trees and dense shrubs as these can provide easy hiding places. Instead, invest in landscaping that deters criminals. Don’t forget, maintenance and care also play an important role in security. Trim bushes and trees to reduce invisible areas. Additionally, clean up loose leaves and trimmings to reduce tripping hazards. These also have a tendency to clog drains which could lead to other problems.

Signage

Installing signage around the parking lot may help change the behavior of would-be criminals. Similar to the way home security signs serve to deter thieves, having signs stating that a security guard is on duty could serve a similar purpose. For example, posting a sign stating that a security guard is on duty would most likely make a thief or criminal think twice. If you’re having issues with drivers speeding through your lot, posting signs indicating to slow down could potentially save lives.

Security Gates

Installing a security gate at the entrance and exit of your parking lot or parking garage could add an extra layer of security to your property. Some properties use access control systems where a badge or card is required for entry. Station a guard at the access point to screen cars as they enter and leave the parking lot. Parking lot gates can issue temporary parking permits to keep track of who comes and goes from the property. Also, you can designate parking spaces outside of the gate for visitors to keep potential threats at bay.

Security Patrol

Hiring a security to patrol your parking lot is a great way to get a handle on security. A security guard can react and respond to threats in-person or provide critical reports when an incident occurs. They’ll typically patrol the entire parking lot area during the designated time of service. Additionally, they can escort staff and employees to and from the building as needed. Many companies advise having a security guard on-site rather than a roving patrol since anything can happen to the property in between visits. The private security company can also accommodate your changing needs or customize a security protocol according to security changes. You can hire a person stationed at the parking lot and another to monitor CCTV.

Fire Watch Services

What is Fire Watch?

Fire Watch is a service where a trained professional patrols buildings and properties to identify fire hazards. They inspect and prevent fires by performing regular rounds and patrols. A fire watch professional can provide guidance to businesses who may have issues with their current fire systems. Fire watch professionals are trained to alert the fire department and building occupants in the event of fire. Their objective is to prevent a fire from starting and to extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so.

What are fire watch duties?

  • The fire watch professional should be familiar with the building or property and its procedures for sounding an alarm to occupants of a fire. They will also alert the fire service in the event of a fire.
  • The person must regularly tour the entire building. They are to check exit doors, access doors, and corridors periodically for proper operation and obstructions. Additionally, they must immediately log each patrol into their fire watch log.
  • A fire watch professional will have readily available fire extinguishing equipment and be trained in its use
  • If fire or smoke conditions are discovered, they will alert all building occupants by sounding an alarm
  • Once a fire breaks out, the fire watch professional will notify fire authorities in the event of a fire
  • The fire watch professional will await emergency response once the building or property is evacuated. They’re trained to not allow anyone to re-enter the building until it is deemed safe to do so.
  • When the fire protection system is restored, the fire watch professional must call the monitoring station and advise them to put the system back online.

What Security Guards Can and Can’t Do

Businesses small and large will hire private security for a multitude of reasons. Some reasons include deterring threats and crimes, while others may include to deter trespassing and burglary. Individuals may even hire security guards to maintain peace at a special event or hire them to safeguard their homes. Whatever the reason may be, there are things that security guards can and can’t legally do.

Where Does a Security Guard Get Their Authorization?

In the general sense, a private security officer has no more legal rights than an average citizen. This can change depending on the level of their authorized power.

  1. Private security officers limited to citizen powers
  2. Security guards who have special authorized power by their local governing institutions
  3. Security officers who are also law enforcement officers

So What Can They Do?

Remember, security officers are NOT police officers. Security Officers are employed by a private security company and are contracted out to client properties. They cannot impersonate a police officer or say that they have the same legal rights at one.

  1. A security guard can make a citizen’s arrest, however, this only applies if their grounds of suspicion are reasonable and valid. The situation must meet certain legal requirements. If not, the citizen can press charges against the security guard, the private security company, and the client. The security guard can prevent an individual from fleeing after performing a criminal act though they can only do so until the police arrives.
  2. A guard can protect in the event of a person causing harm to others, themselves, or to the property.
  3. A security guard can use a level of force limited to a certain degree by law. This means that they are only acceptable when necessary.
  4. Searches can only happen with consent. If you are unconscious or not present, and the possession is unidentified, then they can search the item. Although they can’t search you if you’re suspected of shoplifting, they can detain you until the police arrives. Bag checks at private venues are also legal as attendees consent to bag checks upon entry. If an attendee refuses to have their belongings checked, then the guard is within their power to turn the attendee away.
  5. Security officers can carry weapons. However, they need to be registered and licensed to carry them. This includes batons, firearm, pepper spray, etc.

Biggest Safety and Security Issues for Hotels

Safety and security at hotels is one of the most important things for ensuring a good experience for guests and visitors. Every level of hospitality ranging from high-end boutique hotels to your run of the mill motel constantly work towards a safe environment for everyone. Though safety and security takes a never ending effort, here are the top concerns for hotels:

Safety Emergencies

As all things go, it’s better to be prepared than not for every situation. Just because safety emergencies are unpredictable it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan for them! For fire/life/safety emergencies, proper training and protocols set in place can mean the difference between life and death.

Fire

Fire is an emergency that can grow increasingly dangerous by the second. Having measures set in place ensures the safety of individuals and minimize potential damage to the building or infrastructure. While checking fire emergency protocol, first ask yourself a few questions. Can firetrucks easily access the property and all sides of the building? Who is authorized to take control and take action in a fire emergency? Is there anyone who unlocks the gates and other points of access for emergency crews? Who has the keys and who is knowledgeable of access codes? Are the fire alarms functional? If you’re unsure, you can contact your local fire department to check every fire alarm to make sure they’re working. Additionally, are exit routes and signs clearly displayed? If a fire breaks out, are exit routes clearly displayed? Everything combined can mean the difference in the way a fire emergency is handled. Making sure your staff and your building are properly equipped to handle these situations are highly important to safety.

Medical Emergency

Similar to a fire emergencies, there are instances where emergency personnel need to quickly access certain areas of the building without pause. Each second can be crucial in the safety of an individual should they have a medical emergency. You have to again ask yourself, can emergency vehicles easily access the property of the side of the building where an emergency is taking place? Is there a person in charge who can grant entry to emergency personnel and are they equipped to do so? Everything ties back to proper training and having protocols in place. To mitigate this issue, have an emergency procedure manual that’s accessible and easy to read. Readiness and preparedness are key factors here – train as if your life depended on it.

Unauthorized Visitors

An unauthorized visitor or trespasser is someone who the hotel doesn’t permit to remain on its premises. This can include those who aren’t guests of the hotel and guests who lost the privilege of remaining on-site. A welcomed guest becomes a trespasser as the hotel sees fit for the following reasons:

  • Refusal to pay a bill
  • Become obnoxious or threatening to other guests and staff members
  • Becoming a person of general bad reputation
  • Behaving in a disorderly manner
  • Other forms of misconduct

Unauthorized visitors may pose a threat to others as it’s difficult to take into account who’s entering and leaving the property. Although there may be a person present who actually booked the room themselves, inviting additional guests to the room is often no permitted. For example, hotel parties may disturb other guests and leads to an high risk of property damage.

Theft

Unfortunately, tales of an unwanted guest breaking into a hotel room and stealing personal possessions aren’t unheard of. We may hear stories of those who travel return to their hotel rooms to realize that their valuables. A few things hotel managers can do to minimize theft on their properties is to ensure all locking systems work. Installing a door lock where guests need a key or access card to enter is the most straightforward solution. Inside, guests should have access to a safe, or a secure location to store their valuables. Limit the amount of hotel staff members who have access to each room. It’s well known that surveillance cameras help deter crime and theft. Make sure that your camera systems are placed in key areas to eliminate blind spots.

Internal Policies

Sometimes theft happens from your own team. Subsequently, It’s a good idea to conduct thorough background screenings upon hiring each staff member. Having procedures set in place and thorough training can minimize the risk of theft happening. Protocols such as only a select few staff members having access to guest rooms or belongings can help mitigate this.

Proper Training

As always, train like your life depends on it. Regular training and retraining of staff is akin to a well-oiled machine. Having safety procedure and protocols written out in manuals can serve as a quick pick-me-up for staff members. Make sure they are available, easy to read, and ready to use under any circumstance.

Best Dog Breeds for Protection

Our canine companions have been man’s best friend for over 11,000 years. They’re by our side for companionship, hunting, retrieving, trained to perform countless tasks, and most importantly, protection. Remnants from their ancestors, the wolves, includes protecting their packs and their territory. This includes herds, families, homes, or job sites. Here is a list of the best dog breeds for protection.

Akita

The Akita originates from the Northern mountainous regions of Japan and are very popular for performing as guard dogs. They sport a heavy double coat and can weigh between 100 to 130 pounds. Akitas are quiet and wary of strangers but are loving and affectionate towards their family. Their burly size and stature may be domineering and their temperament makes for a good guard dog. The Akita’s history is so entwined with Japanese culture that when a child is born, a figurine of an Akita is gifted to the family to represent health, happiness, and a long life.

German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular choice for a guard dog as they’re very easy to train and highly attentive. Their temperament is described as loyal, courageous, confident, and very intelligent. Subsequently, this dog breed is often used by the military and police force – some of whom are even badged as active police officers. German Shepherds are members of the herding group in the working class and were originally used to protect herds of livestock. With the advent of current herding solutions, the German Shepherd moved away from livestock and into other areas. They’re demeaner and loyalty makes them an excellent guard dog. Here’s a fun fact: The German Shepherd became popular in the United States in the 1900’s thanks to the show, “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.”

Doberman Pinscher

The Doberman Pinscher is a sleek and powerful dog whose main qualifying traits being strong, fearless, and loyal. These dogs average about 75-100 pounds and stands at the shoulder at 26-28 inches. Despite their size and gait, Doberman’s are graceful and agile in their movements. This breed is popular around the world as an intelligent protection dog. Doberman’s were originally bred in German to act as a personal protection dog for tax collectors. Although they are working dogs, they’re usually represented as aggressive and intimidating. Today they are used to perform a wide variety of tasks and have even played a role in the search and rescue recovery efforts of 9/11.

Rottweiler

The Rottweiler is a loyal, loving, confident companion who ranked 8 in the AKC Breed Popularity. These dogs typically weigh in at around 80-135 pounds and stand at 22-27 inches at the shoulder. Descending from Roman Drovers, these dogs are an ancient breed who served many purposes throughout time. Rottweilers are working dogs who are known for their size and strength. They were often seen pulling carts and herding animals before being used as guardian and police dogs. They can be silly and playful with their families but highly aloof towards strangers, making them one of the first choices for protection.

Boxer

The Boxer has a very distinct appearance of having a short snout and a strong, lean body. Like their namesake, Boxers are very dexterous and will use their paws in a boxer fashion. The bright, fun-loving, and active dogs make excellent family companions. This muscular breeds averages about 65-80 pounds and stands at 23-25 inches at the shoulder. The Boxer became one of America’s most popular dog breeds to their traits of being bright, active, playful, and protective. Despite their intimidating appearance, they can be quite affectionate towards those they’re familiar with. They take family guardianship very seriously and will meet threats fearlessly, making them excellent guard dogs. Though Boxers are not aggressive by nature, they are very devoted and loyal to their pack.

Great Dane

Great Dane’s are popular for their sheer size and weight and are not to be taken lightly! These dogs tower over most dogs with females standing at the shoulder at 28-30 inches, and males at 30-32 inches. When standing on their hind legs, these dogs are taller than most people! The Great Dane comes in at #16 on the AKC Breed Popularity list as these dogs are friendly, playful, and dependable. These dogs are a complete package of power and strength while being agile and elegant. Despite their sweet nature, Great Danes are alert and attentive home guardians. This breed is known as being a “gentle giant” due to their friendly and affection-seeking nature. However, any would-be intruders would think twice about entering a property without permission.

Bullmastiff

The Bullmastiff was originally bred to ward off poachers from the game lands of the English aristocracy. Known for being large, swift, and brave enough to chase off unwanted gusts, these dogs are perfect for guardianship. Bullmastiffs are strong dogs weighing in at an average of 110-140 pounds for females and 140-175 pounds for males. Despite being a smaller offset of the Mastiff, they still stand at about 28-32 inches at the shoulder. Despite their size and appearance, Bullmastiffs are intelligent, alert, yet sensitive, making them excellent family pets. Their natural drive to protect their pack and territory makes them one of the first choice as a guard dog.

Great Pyrenees

Also known as Le Grande Chien des Montagnes (the bid dog of the mountains), or Le Chien des Pyrenees (the dog of the Pyrenees) these dogs are believed to have originated from Central Asia or Siberia. Originally bred to guard flocks of livestock from predators such as wolves and bears, these dogs are naturals when it comes to being guardians. Great Pyrenees typically weigh an average of about 85-100 pounds and stands at 25-32 inches at the shoulder. Another “gentle giant” breed, Great Pyrenees are knwn for being smart, patient, and calm. They’re patient enough to withstand the cold of the snowy mountains for long periods of time with nothing to do but carefully watch over sheep. Despite their calm demeanor, they quickly spring into action to ward off any intruders. This Great Pyrenees is an ancient breed, with fossil deposits found from the bronze age.

Chow Chow

The first non-sporting dog on this list, the Chow Chow is another ancient breed originating from China. Originally kept as companions to the noblemen of ancient China, these dogs earned their keep as guardians, hunters, and haulers. Chow Chows display a large lions mane and a thick, muscular body. They’re more on the compact size standing at 17-20 inches at the shoulder and weighing an average of 45-70 pounds. Chow Chows are dignified, bright, and serious dogs who are aloof towards strangers but eternally loyal to their families. They don’t have any special dietary or exercise needs, making them an easy pet to keep for protection.

Chihuahua

Surprised? Hear us out. Chihuahuas, and other small dog breeds for the matter, make excellent guard dogs as early alert systems. Chihuahuas are a toy breed meaning they typically weigh no more than 6 pounds and stand at 5-8 inches at the shoulder. They come in a variety of colors and coat lengths but all share the same big-dog disposition. Imagine them as tiny Napoleons running around your home or workplace. They are one of the oldest breeds in the Americas and display a charming, graceful, yet sassy temperament. Small toy dogs are perfect to have around the house or a small apartment as an early alert system. They’re very attentive to their surroundings and will no hesitate to alert their families of any intruders.

How to Prevent Car Break-ins

Imagine you’re heading out to your car in the morning to head to work and you start noticing something suspicious. As you near your car you start seeing the tell-tale signs of something suspicious; broken pieces of glass on the ground, open doors, rummaged belongings, or worse – your car missing altogether. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of auto thefts in 2020 totaled 873,080, a 9.2% increase compared with 2019.

Shopping Centers

When you leave your car unattended, your car may be at risk to theft and break-ins. The most common advice given to vehicle owners is to either hide your belongings from plain view or take them with you when you leave. Valuables in plain view makes your vehicle a target for theft and break-ins. You may also want to park your vehicle closest to the store where there are more witnesses to deter crime. Avoid parking in dark areas of the parking lot or down side alleys where visibility is diminished.

The simplest thing you can do to protect your vehicle from getting broken into is to lock your doors and roll up your windows. Make sure to engage your car alarm before leaving.

At Home

When at home, park in your garage or closest to your home. Avoid parking away from your home or out of site. Lock your doors and windows, and remove all valuables. It’s a good idea to install surveillance cameras or a motion detector for your driveway. Studies show that installing cameras and sufficient lighting play a role in deterring theft or crime. A great addition to home defense is to own a dog that will alert you of strangers or guests arriving to your property. If your home is behind a fence, make sure the gate is closed and secured with a lock to prevent anyone from entering.

Job Sites

Job sites or work areas where company fleet vehicles are stored can also be at risk for overnight break-ins. Quite a few of our clients have had issues of trespassers entering their property and either vandalizing or breaking into their fleet vehicles. Business owners may want to consider reinforcing the fencing that surrounds their yard. Instruct the last person who leaves the property locks every gate and checks for gaps or damage to the fence. Install a camera system in key places around the yard to minimize blind spots. Many businesses with enclosed yards utilize guard dogs to protect the property in their absence.

Some business owners consider hiring security guards to observe and protect their property. Security guards are a great deterrent for crime and can provide real-time reporting on top of patrols. Additionally, they can check gates or blind spots to reduce the likelihood of crime and trespassing. If needed, they can alert the authorities if a crime takes place and remain on scene until the owner arrives.