Measured Security

Monday, October 28th, 2019

As an organization that serves children and youth, one of your goals is to make sure parents and others feel safe dropping off their children and youth when they attend activities. This includes physical security as well as proper vetting of staff and volunteers.

But there’s a balance between having dedicated, thoughtful security measures in place and locking down areas like a castle with a moat. In addition, many organizations do not have a large security budget. How can organizations achieve a good security balance? Here are 5 ideas for your security checklist that will give you peace of mind:

  1. Door greeters. People don’t want to be interrogated as they walk in your doors. But to someone looking to do harm, a handshake and eye contact from someone at the door can be a real deterrent. In all likelihood, they will move on to another facility. Seek out volunteers who are warm but not pushy.
  2. Established check-in policies. Whether it’s matching bracelets (parent/guardian and child), ID cards or other means, the key word here is “established.” The policy should be written down, shared with all staff and volunteers and followed EVERY time. When it comes to safety, there should be no exceptions.
  3. Lanyards, team shirts or other identification. Matching shirts are cool, but they aren’t always practical. Consider lanyards or inexpensive nametags that identify a person and their job or volunteer function. These measures are an immediate identifier that the person belongs in that part of the facility.
  4. Off-duty police officers or a volunteer security team. When security is present, people do feel more confident. They also have a sense that your organization cares about their well-being. In addition, criminals are more likely to move on from places where there is identifiable security.
  5. Training. Staff and volunteers should be trained that if they see something, they should say something. Make sure they know what to do in any type of security incident, and that they have a means to report or ask questions if they aren’t sure.