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.

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.

Security Tips to Protect Your Retail Store

As profitable as your retail store may be, store owners lose a significant amount of revenue in theft every year. In fact, according to Business Insider, retailers lose approximately $62 Billion a year to retail theft, fraud, and other causes. With an increase in shoplifting, store owners and managers are left wondering how they can mitigate this. Here is a list to secure your business.

Lighting

Illuminating your store, especially at night, may discourage thieves from loitering or entering the premises. Having sufficient lighting in your store could make thieves visible from the outside. Additionally, clearing the front display windows of any obstruction would make any trespassers more visible. If you own a standalone brick and mortar store, make sure to install sufficient lighting around the exterior of the building to deter any break-ins. A study found that areas with sufficient lighting experienced significantly lower crime rates than areas without.

Secure all Stock

It’s a good idea to lock away any and all valuable equipment or stock before leaving the store at the end of the night. Invest in a safe or a storage that can be locked and is out of sight from the outside. Move the valuable merchandise away from windows and doors to make it difficult for thieves to target them in a smash and grab. Additionally, secure all windows and doors so that no one can easily enter the property. Don’t forget to remove cash from the cash register and lock them away in a safe for the night.

Turn on Monitored Alarms

Not only do you get a peace of mind knowing there’s a security system running in your absence, but some camera systems have an app where you can check in and monitor your property at a distance. Your security system could range from motion sensors, silent alarms, cameras, and more to discourage thieves from even trying to burglarize your business. Fire alarms protect your business from literally going up in flames and can notify local authorities to quickly respond. Make sure these are operational and meet local standards for further peace of mind.

Crowd Control

Hire a security guard for an extra set of eyes to monitor your store. Studies show that people behave differently when they feel they’re being watched. This serves as a great deterrent for thieves and prompts customers to behave in a way that may reduce damaged or lost goods. Security guards are there to observe and report, and if instructed to do so, can control the amount of people who are allowed to enter the store at a given time. This reduces large crowds which may allow thieves to easily slip in and out. You can find out more about security guard services here.

An Introduction to AFS

Armed Force Security is a fast-growing security company based in Fremont, California and serves the entire San Francisco Bay Area. We provide year-round armed and unarmed security services to a wide variety of property types and events. Also, support is always available and we pride ourselves in providing our clients with an exceptional response rate. Our focus on operational excellence means we are always looking for ways to improve our business model. This includes everything from enhancements to our staff communication to keeping close track of annual training and review procedures.

A security guard wearing the Armed Force Security uniform with a focus on the shoulder patch.

We employ top of the line, vetted, and experienced security guards who hold valid and current California guard registrations. Our armed and unarmed guards are screened, trained, and undergo background checks to ensure we employ the best candidates. Additionally, each security solution is fine tuned and customized to meet our clients’ expectations. You can rest assured with the use of daily reporting and incident monitoring via TrackTik, and with daily reporting. On-site guards provide an immediate deterrent for threats while maintaining safety and peace of mind for employees, guests, and patrons.

We secure a wide range of property types, small and large, near and far.

No matter the property type, we fine tune programs that will fit your security needs. A few examples of property types we often cover include the following:

  • Residential properties
  • Commercial offices and campuses
  • Warehouses and Storage facilities
  • Trucking and Freight forwarding
  • Industrial and Manufacturing
  • Construction Sites
  • Government buildings
  • Hospitality buildings
  • Healthcare campuses
  • Shopping and retail complexes

Special Events

Sometimes all you need is are on-site guards for a day or two or for certain hours. Our impressive special event portfolio encompasses city events, strikes and protests, conventions, hotel events and banquets, festivals, weddings, corporate events, and more. We have guards on standby for immediate implementation.

What type of security services do we provide?

Our flexible staff will work with you to ensure you’re getting the most value for your peace of mind. Whether you need 24 hour patrol services or parking compliance monitoring, we’ve got you covered. Our standard post orders include:

  • Specified hours of on-site security
  • 24-hour patrol services
  • Armed or unarmed guards
  • Guard booth implementation
  • Hourly rounds
  • Parking lot monitoring
  • Loitering and soliciting compliance
  • Lock-ups
  • Shipping and receiving monitoring
  • Employee and guest escorting
  • Noise ordinance enforcement
  • Property cleanliness
  • Daily reporting submitted to managers
  • Radio contact with managers
  • Supervisor check-ups (scheduled and unannounced)
  • Incident response
  • Parking compliance
  • Deliveries screening
  • Security lobby reception
  • Visitor screening
  • Loading dock monitoring
  • On-call services

What are the Advantages of AFS?

We utilize a leading edge software solution which integrates reporting, monitoring, scheduling and so much more into a single, easy to use platform. We place high value in employee motivation and culture by offering complete benefit packages, continued training, and ongoing support. Our staff is an incredibly important part of the success of Armed Force Security, and we are first and foremost a people company with a diverse workforce respects each of our clients and we place a high value on building relationships that last. With a hands-on approach to ongoing training and mentorships, we create a consistent level of knowledge across our armed guards and other service personnel. As a result, we boast high employee retention and low managerial turnover.