The effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to be felt across all sectors globally with the rise in number of positive cases increasing daily as the number of fatalities escalate. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health have issued directives to stop the spread of the virus by stay-at-home and social distancing measures.
Many organisations have embraced remote-work-from-home strategies as part of the Business Continuing Planning (BCP) systems to ensure client service and office support remain uninterrupted. This means that most physical offices remain deserted, relying on private security providers to continue enhancing safety and security of their valuables. Retail stores, malls and commercial buildings require security around the clock. Government security is also playing a major role in protecting our borders.
Security guards are doubling up to ensure security and enforcing strict measures of hand washing, sanitizing and wearing masks by members of public before entering any building, they are also at risk of coronavirus infection as they interact with many people on a daily basis.
A recent move by Kenya National Private Security Workers Union (KNPSWU) and Protective and Safety Association of Kenya (PROSAK) appealing for collaborative efforts with the Ministries of Health and Interior to roll out special capacity building training programs for security officers as additional front-liners in the fight against COVID-19 is welcome.
While private security firms ensure adherence to occupational health and safety guidelines by training them on effective use of personal protective equipment, they could serve as primary informants for the government to assist healthcare workers in transmitting information to National Emergency Centre. Security guards can be a good resource in responding to emergencies through trucks, ambulances to facilitate their mobility.
With the capacity to facilitate communication through radio calls and satellite, security personnel could also play roles of logistics in distribution of food and medical supplies to vulnerable communities.
While the screening exercise in counties continue in detecting temperatures on anyone with Covid-19 symptoms, the security guards could also work with health personnel in commercial buildings and homes and assist refer the public for immediate medical attention. Training the security officers on how to use the digital thermometer for instance, will assist the healthcare workers especially by expanding in Nyumba Kumi communities and public spaces through which they guard, taking into account the increased population in Kenya.
With this acquired knowledge and skill, guards will help in detecting members of the public who may show any coronavirus symptoms and immediately alert the relevant bodies dealing with these cases. The use of walk-through metal detectors is much recommended for social standing compared to the hand-held metal detectors during screening in entry of buildings, equipping them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) will provide utmost prevention from the deadly virus infection.
In premises that may not require the physical presence of security guards, leveraging in advancing technology will supplement human efforts by ensuring security of your businesses through self-monitoring at the click of a button. Through the assistance of a private security solutions provider, business owners can choose from a variety of security systems such as geo-fencing, burglar alarms, fire alarms, CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision) cameras and cargo tracking devices on courier services, de pending on the nature of business. These installations have automatic notifications for any abnormal activities or intrusion at the premise.
As one of the authorized essential services by the government during the 7.00p.m. to 5.00a.m. curfew, most private security firms are playing a major role in remotely enhancing safety of premises with the help of personnel working in shifts from a 24-hour control room and call centre to monitor and respond to emergencies from the installed security systems.
While most organisations embrace the adoption of Business Continuity Plan (BCP) by working remotely for the sake of employees’ safety and quarantine, recognition and protection of those guarding our premises is also paramount. The security team is also part of an organisation’s effective service delivery at the workplace. Business owners should ensure that all security installations are in good condition and constant communication with the security team, an assurance that will bring a peace of mind that the physical office is safe while you work remotely from home.
During this period, let us allow our security personnel to not only continue to provide safety and security of premises and communities at large, but also join in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 through supervision and logistical support. We can only be optimistic that this pandemic is a passing cloud and we will all resume our respective normal operations.
The writer, Julius Delahaije is the Group CEO & Chairman of SGA Security.