4/2009 By Chris Toliver How does one simply but effectively prepare oneself, one’s property and one’s tenants?  In the next few newsletters, we will offer tips on how to easily prepare for an unforeseen emergency. Do you think you are prepared to handle an emergency? Imagine: as you read this, the fire alarm goes off in your building.  You think, “Is this real?”  People start milling the halls. You ask your coworker, “should we leave?” You make your way to the closest exit, but it is blocked with people.  Smoke starts to fill the area and you can’t see any other exit signs. You wonder, “what other exit doors are there?” You have to rely on your memory, but how much do you remember? Is it right or left and how far down……..Do you feel prepared now? It is impossible to plan for every possible threat, emergency or danger.  Chances are that unless something has actually happened at or near your property in the last six months, you have not given much thought to planning anyway.  Most people unconsciously adopt a “nothing will happen here” or “nothing will happen to me” mindset.  However, this simply is not true.  Bad things happen to random people all the time. It is simply naïve to expect that nothing will happen to you.   So what can you do? First things first: Prepare your mind.  Sound odd?  Perhaps, but this is actually one of the easiest and most effective means of preparedness.  By preparing your mind, you are changing the way you think. This in turn develops creativity and heightens the ability to process your way through a situation.  Preparing the mind also means giving yourself the understanding that something bad can or may happen. Just recognizing this simple fact will greatly enhance your ability to react.  Here are some tips to getting out of your comfort zone keeping the mind sharp and challenged:

  • Evaluate your surroundings.  Anywhere you are, take just a few seconds to familiarize yourself with everything around you.  Be on the lookout for simple things such as locations of exit doors or paths of escape.
  • Have an alternate plan. If your escape route is blocked,  what is plan B?
  • Don’t just follow the crowd. “What everyone else is doing” is not necessarily the right or best thing to do. Listen to your instincts and review your alternate plan.
  • Exercise your brain. Our low-risk environment dulls the senses.  Take a new way home, use your non-dominate hand, learn a new language. Get out of your comfort zone and train your brain to think differently.
  • Trust your instincts. If your gut, intuition, sixth sense tells you something is wrong, chances are it is right. Taking immediate action can keep you safe.

By preparing your mind, you will be better equipped when that fire alarm does goes off.  You will be aware of your surroundings and ready with a plan. But most importantly, you will be mentally equipped to handle those stressful situations.  You have better odds of reacting quickly and effectively to an emergency.  That’s better for your building, for your tenants and for you.  Chris Toliver has approximately 20 years of security experience and training.  Outside work, Chris is father to a recent Eagle Scout and very active in the Boy Scouts program, focusing on teaching preparedness and life skills.  He may be contacted at ctoliver@actsecuritygroup.com or 512-420-9988.