John Briggs – Control and communication in incident management.

John Briggs, Operations Director of First Security
John Briggs, Operations Director of First Security

For security teams, the effective management of incidents is critical, and an essential part of providing a solid provision. As there are any number of incidents that could happen in any given environment, the only way to manage them effectively is to plan a response for each type of incident so you can be as prepared as possible.

It’s not possible to plan for every eventuality, but in the event of any incident security teams will need to exercise control. Incident management processes and procedures will be fundamental to the amount of control that can be exercised, and in turn, this affects the speed at which business can return to normal, and  facilitate a better learning process for the future.

With incidents ranging anywhere from a vehicle blocking building access to a fire, theft or explosion, the scope of incidents that can occur is vast. Therefore, effective management comes from being able to control and communicate; having robust strategies and processes, in order to equip guards and management with the tools they need to deal with the situation.

But how can organisations be certain that these procedures are followed correctly in the event of an incident?

Traditionally incident management systems have been quite laborious, with people recording incidents in logbooks and following processes that have been set out in a number of documents. The issue with this is that if the incidents are recorded incorrectly, or processes haven’t been followed logbooks may be subject to alteration so they don’t reflect the true event.

Technology is bringing software systems to the industry that are able to provide a much more advanced incident management system, offering features such as consistent report data, real-time guidance for guards on what to do, and messaging functionality that keeps all those involved up to date.

The first step when putting an incident management software system in place is to work with the stakeholder to discuss any likely events that could occur. Discuss what the best solution would be in these eventualities, and determine step-by step instructions for the security team to follow.

At this early stage it will not be possible to account for every incident, but compiling a process for the most common occurrences will provide a strong starting point. The processes can be amended if needed and added to in order to compile a comprehensive guide for managing all incidents.

Consideration needs to be given to the immediacy of certain actions, and with whom responsibility lies. Systems help with notifying the correct people, assigning tasks to them, and escalating incidents where necessary.

Using an automated system that can instruct guards on how to manage incidents allows the security team to focus solely on the situation without compromising the process; reducing the risk of human error, delivering a more effective security provision, and ultimately a safer environment.

Audit logs of each incident means processes can be reviewed, built upon and improved to ensure security teams are prepared for similar events when they next occur, driving continuous improvement.

Many systems currently on the market work in collaboration with a communication tool to allow security teams to communicate with the appropriate people at the right time. However, these communication tools are standalone systems, and must be engaged by an operator in order to send out any communication.

There are only a few systems currently on the market that offer a built-in mass communication tool, allowing automatic, fast, effective communication during the process as well as being able to instruct on processes and create an auditable log in real time.

In order to properly exercise communication and control in the management of any incident, it is important that the tools used can combine these two fundamentally important factors; control and communication. It is only by applying both that the incident can be managed, closed and business returned to usual, with continual communication at all stages, and finally with the ability to log and audit the process so that it can be improved for the future.

Ultimately, an incident management system, whether operated by a security provider or an internal team, should integrate seamlessly with business operations. Integrating an effective incident management system will deliver an intelligent and responsive service that protects people and property.

First Security WebsiteInterserve Website