Civil unrest can create unique challenges for businesses. Specifically, business owners face the risk of vandalism, stolen or damaged goods, and extensive property damage. It’s crucial to take steps to mitigate these risks.
The following guidelines can help keep your business protected in periods of civil unrest:
First and foremost, stay informed of potential events or issues that could lead to civil unrest within your community via local authorities, news outlets and social media. This will allow you to take a proactive approach to protecting your business.
Assess Property Vulnerabilities
It’s important to assess your business property for potential vulnerabilities so you will be able to best determine where to focus your mitigation efforts.
Be sure to conduct a thorough inspection of both your own property and the surrounding area, including neighboring businesses, parking lots, alleys and streets, for specific risk management issues (e.g., gaps in security measures, potential traffic or crowding concerns, type of property at risk, employee and customer safety concerns).
After assessing potential vulnerabilities, implement adequate security measures to keep your business fully protected. Potential security practices to consider include:
- Utilizing security cameras
- Implementing an alarm system
- Boarding up property windows and doors
- Ensuring proper locks on all windows and doors
- Installing motion-sensing external lighting and glass-break sensors
- Hiring security guards
Protect Your Property
Setting trash containers on fire is a common act by vandals, and that fire can easily spread to your building or other property if in close proximity. Since trash receptacles are often stored very close to the building and may be filled with combustible material, they should be secured or moved away from your building.
Confirm that all exterior/public accessible sprinkler and water supply equipment is operational, tamper proof and monitored. Any external risers that are chained should be in the open position or monitored remotely.
- Move company vehicles inside your security perimeter or in a safe place off of the premises.
- Lock up propane and oil tanks onsite to keep protesters from igniting them.
- Remove any loose items that could be used as projectiles.
Remove as much cash, merchandise and high-value supplies and equipment as possible from your property. If your business has a fleet of vehicles, consider moving them to a temporary, secure storage location. Further, consider using signage to communicate that money and high-value items have been removed from the premises to help deter potential thieves.
Alter Business Hours
Consider temporarily altering your business hours (e.g., opening later or closing earlier than normal) to avoid putting your employees and customers in a dangerous situation. However, make sure you properly communicate these changes with your staff and customers to prevent any confusion. In some cases, it may make sense to temporarily close your business.
Avoid Unnecessary Conflict
It’s crucial to educate your staff on how to respond appropriately to civil unrest and to avoid unnecessary conflict. Establish an evacuation plan that allows for employees and customers to safely leave the area. Designate specific staff to be responsible for securing the property (e.g., locking doors and boarding up windows) before evacuating.
If a potentially dangerous individual confronts any of your employees before an evacuation can occur, encourage them to react calmly and avoid using violence or responding aggressively. Designate specific staff to be responsible for contacting the local authorities or emergency services, if necessary. If the individual attempts to loot or rob your business, allow them to do so; no item is worth the risk of an employee or customer injury or fatality.
Consult Local Authorities
Express any concerns you have regarding civil unrest to local authorities, including the police department, fire department and government officials, and utilize any resources or guidance they provide. Consider requesting additional police presence or temporary street closures near your business if you are particularly concerned.
Secure Proper Insurance
Apart from these risk control methods, you can ensure ultimate protection during periods of civil unrest by securing proper commercial insurance coverage. For additional risk management guidance and insurance solutions, contact a member of our team today.