In a previous post about preparing for protests, I discussed the various ways that protests can cause harm to business and do damage to people and property. In light of the latest protests in Baltimore and other cities, I sat down with Jon Fried to talk again about the dangers that can be a concern in and around protests, and what business owners and corporate leaders can do to avoid or minimize damage – both direct and collateral.
Prepare in Advance of Planned Protest Activity
Prepare and ready your business as soon as possible when you are aware of protest activity in your area. Just like weather preparedness, being ready for protest activity helps you keep your business and personnel safe. During a protest is not a good time to be reactive – use your awareness of any event to your advantage and prepare accordingly.
Stay in Contact With Law Enforcement
Stay in close contact with police and law enforcement personnel. Use all available sources such as local television and radio news information, Twitter feeds, police radio, and direct communication with officers to help keep your business safe and aware of any potential risks and hazards to avoid.
Additionally, be sure to follow any police instruction, especially pertaining to evacuation information around your area. You want to make sure that your people are safe, and that your business is following the law in what may be a very unusual situation and time of crisis.
People First, Property Second
When it comes to safety around protest environments, always remember to secure your people first, and then secure your property. Property can always be replaced or fixed, but people in potentially dangerous situations are a huge risk and you should take every precaution to keep your personnel and clients safe from harm.
Limit access to Your Facility
During protests there is an increased risk of unauthorized access – so be aware of who is in your facility and restrict access to anyone who does not have the proper credentials.
Keep the Exterior Safe
Remove objects, benches, planters, and other objects that can be used as projectiles indoors to secure them.
Review and Practice Emergency Action Plan Procedures
Review EAP procedures so that you are prepared when such a time comes that you need to implement them. Don’t get caught unprepared in a state of emergency.
With these simple guidelines, you can greatly reduce risk for your business and your clients. While the vast majority of protests are peaceful in nature, there are some that have rogue elements that can cause problems and destruction. Taking these steps can keep the damage to an absolute minimum.