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  • April 23, 2019 2:40 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management

    ​The Notre Dame Cathedral fire’s destruction impacts the cultural arts community, as well as the world at large. While this iconic structure and Paris’ symbolic center took centuries to build, a fire on 15 April horribly damaged the medieval Catholic cathedral in a matter of hours. 

    While firefighters focused on containing the fire’s spread, frantic rescue efforts were launched by the culture ministry and others to safeguard the cathedral’s masterpieces and relics. These irreplaceable artifacts include the cathedral’s renowned 18th century organ (with more than 8,000 pipes), and the crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus during his crucifixion—one of the world’s most priceless relics, which was brought to Notre Dame in August 1239. The ministry is transferring other works across Paris to the Louvre where they will be dehumidified, protected, and eventually restored.

    Although currently considered an accident related to renovations, an ongoing investigation aims to determine the cause of the fire. In the meantime, however, security practitioners should ask if best practices were in place to prevent and respond to the incident.

    Frédéric Létoffé, the co-president of a group of French companies that specialize in work on older buildings and monuments, spoke to The New York Times and said Notre Dame had fire detectors that functioned continuously and was equipped with dry risers—empty pipes that firefighters can externally connect to a pressurized water source. 

    Létoffé added that the cathedral did not have automatic sprinklers in the wooden framework of its roof, where the fire started, and that its attic space was not compartmentalized with fire-breaking walls, which could have prevented a blaze from spreading.

    Notre Dame’s rector, Monseigneur Patrick Chauvet, said on 16 April that fire monitors routinely inspected the cathedral. “Three times a day they go up, under the wooden roof, to make an assessment,” he told radio station France Inter.

    The Notre Dame fire is not a unique incident. Several cultural heritage sites around the world were either completely or partially destroyed by fires, including The National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in 2018, La Fenice opera house in Venice in 1996, the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in 1994, and Windsor Castle in Windsor in 1992. 

    Not only cultural institutions but all facilities should have a risk management plan in place. Risk can be defined as “the chance of something happening that will have a negative impact on our objectives.” Security professionals must consider both the chances of happening and expected impact. The impact of risks can be expressed in terms of the expected loss of value to the heritage asset.

    Although terminology is often interchanged, there are five basic steps in the risk management process: 

    1. Identify the risks (potential causes)

    2. Analyze the risks (probability of occurrence)

    3. Evaluate the risks (magnitude, priority)

    4. Solutions (select best options)

    5. Monitor (risk management is an ongoing process)

    Security managers of cultural properties should consider the following questions as they conduct their risk analysis and develop their risk management plan: 

    1. What are the possible imminent risks to a cultural property?

    2. What are the risks of highest probability?

    3. Which of those are expected to cause greater and wide-ranging damages?

    4. Do damages differ from one cultural property to another?

    5. Do these damages suddenly occur or are they accumulative over time?

    6. How can these damages be well understood and assessed for sound decision making relevant to mitigation and prevention?

    7. What are the priorities, given available human capital and budgets?

    To mitigate the risk of fire at their respective institutions, security professionals need plans in place for minimizing legacy loss and finding ways to protect valuable cultural heritage. Particularly in the cultural environment, they need to strive to find innovative ways to prevent fires and avoid, where possible, fire-fighting techniques that might cause inadvertent destruction of the artifacts they are seeking to protect.

    As evidenced by the scores of Parisians and tourists who watched, cried, sang, and prayed for Notre Dame during the fire, cultural heritage is not just about monuments or traditions, but about the people who identify with the underlying culture. When security professionals understand this concept, they can help reduce invaluable losses and effectively manage the economic consequences.

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  • April 23, 2019 2:32 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from IFSEC Global

    The Notre Dame blaze has been described as a “wake-up call” for the guardians of the Palace of Westminster, with restoration works on the crumbling structure not due to start until the mid-2020s.

    MPs and peers voted last year to vacate the venerable building while a multibillion-pound programme is carried out.

    But the fire that ripped through the 850-year-old Parisian cathedral on Monday, devastating the roof and causing the spire to collapse, will surely have spooked those responsible for protecting historic buildings the world over.

    Fires in heritage buildings are at once enormously costly in cultural and financial terms and uniquely vulnerable to myriad fire risks. Often built hundreds of years ago, any fire engineering they might have is unavoidably bolted on rather than built in from the outset.

    This article collates advice on this fiendishly complex issue from the Fire Protection Association, Fire Industry Association and Devon and Somerset FRS – as well as a characteristically ill-informed suggestion to avoid from the current occupant of the White House.

    Blame game

    The Notre Dame blaze, believed to have begun just below the roof, is believed at present to have been accidental.

    Some officials have suggested extensive renovation works taking place at the cathedral might have been involved – with one expert in fire science noting a long history of churches, synagogues and temples going up in flames while under repair.

    A lengthy, complex investigation will also examine the suitability of fire prevention systems and frequency and thoroughness of maintenance work at the cathedral.

    A spokesman for Notre Dame insisted fire detectors had been installed “all over”, together with a computerised security system equipped with 24-hour surveillance.

    Round-the-clock fire safety patrols have saved the Palace of Westminster from catastrophe countless times in recent years. Forty fires broke out, and were promptly extinguished by wardens, between 2008 and 2012 alone.

    Given an ageing electrical system and lack of fire compartmentalisation experts have warned that fire could spread quickly and unpredictably through the neo-gothic building’s maze of shafts and corridors.

    “Heritage buildings offer a unique challenge to the fire risk assessor and fire engineer,” according to an article on the Fire Industry Association website. “Historic buildings seldom have any significant fire engineering in them and are frequently used for a purpose completely different to their original intent. Often they are open to the public, which means we have to concentrate on means of escape.”

    Older buildings also often have hidden voids and cavities supported by dry timber construction through which fire can travel undetected.

    Firefighters also face formidable challenges if fire breaks out.

    Said Paul Bray, community safety protection manager at Devon & Somerset FRS: “The challenges of fighting a fire in a terrace of ‘heritage’ or buildings of substantial age are substantial. The fact that the fire is hidden also makes it almost impossible to tackle internally and externally without a major dismantling of the building fabric.

    How to mitigate fire risk in heritage buildings

    So how can you mitigate fire risks in heritage buildings?

    Said Paul Bray: “Even with the most attentive fire prevention and protection measures (such as fire alarms and fire separation), it cannot always be guaranteed that a fire will be contained and prevented from causing destruction. It can be significantly reduced through by the development of a comprehensive pre-survey of the impact on surrounding buildings during the construction phase.

    “We therefore advise that a full set of records, drawings, photos and other information is stored and is made available to us for use in any heritage building in the event of a fire. This would contribute to forming the basis of how the service will deal with each building in the event of a fire.”

    Devon & Somerset FRS notes that there is no standardised format for recording or presenting the findings of a fire risk assessment. However, those responsible for protecting heritage buildings should always produce and regularly review clear and comprehensive documentation. Once the risks are identified and assessed, they can then set out to reduce them.

    The Fire Risk Management in Heritage Properties handbook from the Fire Protection Association (published 2014) provides comprehensive guidance and advice on managing the risk of fire, fire risk assessments and complying with legal requirements. Aimed at all employees of heritage, traditional or listed buildings, it balance the imperative of preserving historic aesthetic features with the requirements for fire safety.

    The Fire Industry Association wrote that “The fire industry understands the sensitivity needed to preserve the aesthetics of historical buildings and has provided solutions compatible with these environments.

    In an article covering Fire Detection and Alarm, Emergency Lighting and Signs, it continued: “Above all, it is most important that heritage premises, like any other commercial building, comply with UK fire safety law to protect the staff, visitors and structure itself from fire.”

    FIA on alarms: The BS 5839-1 “Code of Practice takes a broad brush approach and doesn’t give specific advice for heritage buildings. Neither the law nor the Codes of Practice say how fire detection and alarm systems can be installed and remain sensitive to the historic nature of these buildings. We clearly don’t want red cables or conduit visible on lovely facades and wireless systems offer an obvious solution.”

    FIA on emergency lighting: “It is worth bearing in mind that required emergency light levels have increased dramatically since the late 1990’s. Regrettably, enforcers and installers were slow to realise this, which means that most emergency lighting systems in heritage building are lamentably poor.”

    FIA on signs: “Operators of heritage buildings are often tempted to put extinguishers out of sight. Most people see extinguishers every day in workplaces and public buildings and, for the most part, develop a blind spot to them. If you’re tempted to hide them, you must still indicate their location with signs.”

    Fire systems manufacturer Advanced Electronics has published a brochure aimed at specifiers, installers and persons responsible for fire safety management.

    Fire Systems for Historic and Heritage Sites offers advice on assuring orderly, safe evacuation and eliminating unwanted alarms to minimise visual or auditory disruption to the experience of tourists and visitors.

    Advanced systems are installed in Hagia Sophia, Istanbul; Durham Cathedral; The Magna Carta at Lincoln Castle; Iona Abbey; the Natural History Museum and Trinity Episcopal Church, Rhode Island.

    Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service developed Guidance and a Guidance Note providing information on fire safety precautions and management for historic buildings and damage control/salvage of priceless artefacts.

    Marking the one-year anniversary of a fire that destroyed the UK’s oldest hotel – the Royal Clarence Hotel – Protection of historic buildings from fire emphasised the importance of conducting regular fire-risk assessments.

    (In the wake of the Royal Clarence Hotel blaze, fire safety consultant Alan Cox posed a series of questions that need answering if lessons are to be learned.)

    Devon & Somerset FRS cited the following risks as warranting close attention when mitigating fire risks in heritage buildings:

    • Sources of ignition and fuel
    • Potential for fire to spread through the building
    • Adequacy of the fire alarm system
    • Means of access and escape
    • In rural areas: Water supplies and access for fire appliances
    • Any valuable contents you wish to prioritise...

    See Original Post

  • April 23, 2019 2:28 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from WNPR

    According to a new study, there's been a rise in the number of fatal workplace shootings that are unrelated to robberies. Workplace shootings aren't uncommon, but they don't always make headlines unless multiple people are killed. 

    It was 1998 when a Connecticut Lottery employee shot and killed four of his co-workers, angered by his salary and not receiving a promotion. Meanwhile, the controversial term "going postal" reflected a series of fatal shootings at post offices across the country by employees.

    "Workplace homicides really peaked in the mid-1990s and have been slowly declining over the last two-plus decades," said Dr. Mitchell L. Doucette, a health sciences assistant professor at Eastern Connecticut State University.

    Doucette and a team of researchers wanted to identify whether or not the causes of workplace homicides remained the same in recent years. They used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from 2011 to 2015. Law enforcement deaths were excluded from the analysis. During that period, there were 1,553 firearm workplace homicides. Many of the shooters were armed at the time of the incident.

    "What we see more recently now is that these crimes are more often committed as part of non-robbery events," he said. "This includes things like arguments, both arguments between employers and employees, arguments between customers and employees, as well as other types of crimes [like] intimate partner violence, mass shootings and other types of circumstances."

    Prior to this study, mass shootings weren't included as a type of workplace homicide so incidents like the 2010 Hartford Distributors shooting where the gunman killed eight co-workers and then himself, would've been excluded.

    Doucette is in the process of looking at state-level data to determine if states with less restrictive handgun laws have higher rates of these types of fatalities.

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  • April 17, 2019 11:00 AM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Vox

    The fire that engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral Monday, causing its roof and its 300-foot oak spire to collapse, was extinguished Tuesday morning. But the damage is severe: The fire destroyed almost all of one of the oldest surviving timber frames in Paris.

    Officials are still uncertain about the cause of the inferno. But the cathedral, an 850-year-old exemplar of French Gothic architecture, was undergoing renovations, and officials say something may have accidentally ignited amid the construction.

    Even though there’s a lot for fire investigators still to unpack, fire experts say there are a number of explanations for why the cathedral was at risk and why, once the fire got going, it was so difficult to fight.

    To find out more, I called Thomas Gernay, an assistant professor of civil engineering at Johns Hopkins University who studies how fires affect structures. He described four big hazards that combined to fuel the destruction.

    Notre Dame hasn’t been in great shape for a while

    Built in the late 12th century, the cathedral was beginning to show its age. Pollution, weathering, and acid rain stained and pitted its walls and gargoyles. And there were conflicts over who should pay for its upkeep, delaying much-needed maintenance, like removing flammable dust or waxing the wooden roof structure to prevent it from drying out.

    That’s a big reason extensive renovations were underway when the fire broke out.

    The renovation process introduced new fire hazards

    Bringing power tools, electric lamps, and welding equipment in close proximity to a centuries-old building increases the risk of ignition. This is a hazard that comes with any kind of renovation at this scale, but it’s especially risky with a structure that wasn’t designed with fire prevention in mind. The scaffolding structure also provided fuel for the fire.

    “There are lots of construction fires. It’s quite a common situation,” Gernay said. “If you combine that with a building that was built at the time where there were no fire protection codes, that’s the situation we are observing.”

    There was a lot of available fuel to burn

    Though most of what we see from outside Notre Dame is stone and glass, much of the inside is buttressed by timber. Builders harvested more than 5,000 oak trees across 52 acres to build the beams, trusses, and reinforcements for the stone structure and to hold up the roof’s 200-metric-ton lead cladding. The trees themselves were three to four centuries old when they were harvested.

    The roof’s latticework used so much wood, it’s been nicknamed “la forêt,” or the forest.

    “The roof structure, for instance, is made of thick timber beams, which obviously can provide some of the combustible material and participate in the overall stability of the structure,” Gernay said.

    By Tuesday morning, it was clear that almost all of the interior wooden structure had been lost, but most of the stonework survived.

    The fire was difficult to extinguish because it was out of reach

    Much of the combustible material in Notre Dame was in its roof structure more than 100 feet off the ground. The cathedral’s spire reached up more than 300 feet. That means the fire was far from the firefighters when it ignited.

    “The hose streams could not reach the top,” Gernay said. “At the same time, it’s very difficult to access if [firefighters] wanted to climb up on foot because of the very narrow and winding steps. ... They could not really act efficiently to fight the fire at that stage.” And air-dropping thousands of pounds of water all at once on a burning, fragile building in the middle of a dense city would have been counterproductive. “It would be dangerous for structural stability,” Gernay said. “Any sudden loading like this could be the triggering point that triggers the whole [structural] collapse, and of course we want to avoid that.”

    As far as we know, most relics and much of the art was rescued. However, The Guardianreported that some artifacts did sustain damage and others were lost. No fatalities were reported from the fire, but two police officers and one firefighter were injured.

    French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to restore the cathedral. “We will rebuild Notre-Dame,” he said. “Because that is what the French expect.” French billionaire François-Henri Pinault has already pledged €100 million to pay for its reconstruction.

    But builders will have to mind the delicate balance between preserving history and preventing future disasters. “Hearing that reconstruction is being proposed, that should give an opportunity to consider fire protection options for the structure so as to avoid another catastrophe of this magnitude,” said James Milke, chair of the department of fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland, in an email.

    There may not have been sprinkler systems and fire-resistant cladding in the 13th century, but they may be necessary to ensure Notre Dame survives. Yet even the best fire prevention techniques can only do so much for church prized for its antiquity. The same vaulted ceilings, wood framing, and classical building techniques that make Notre Dame so valuable also make it harder to prevent and fight fires.

    “A structure as large and old as this is difficult to protect from fire. The rooms are large and high with tons of exposed wood and flammable roofs,” said Peter Sunderland, a professor of fire protection engineering at the University of Maryland, in an email. “Consequently, there are many exceptions in fire codes for places of worship.”

    Notre Dame is a survivor

    Like the ship of Theseus, Notre Dame has suffered damage, repair, and reconstruction over the centuries.

    It was damaged by rioting Huguenots in the 16th century. It was nearly destroyed during the French Revolution as angry crowds sacked the building and decapitated statues. The cathedral has since withstood two world wars, including bullet damage during the Nazi occupation of Paris. The cathedral has also undergone numerous renovations in its history. Its bells were recast and restored in 2013.

    The recent fire, however, is a reminder that for this — and for every ancient monument — we still have to prepare for once-in-a-century events.

    See Original Post

  • April 08, 2019 2:48 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Washington Post

    An air conditioning unit was the “primary cause” of a fire that destroyed Brazil’s National Museum and most of its 20 million artifacts, police experts said Thursday.

    The larger investigation into the Sept. 2 tragedy is still ongoing, but experts released their findings on the origin and location of the blaze.

    “There was various pieces of evidence that allowed us to conclude that the (air conditioning unit) was the primary cause of the fire”, expert Marco Antonio Zatta said during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro.

    Temperatures rose above 1,000 degrees centigrade in the museum auditorium where the fire began, experts said, creating such damage that it wasn’t possible to determine why the air conditioning unit caught fire.

    But Zatta said the units there were receiving a stronger electrical current than they were designed to handle.

    Federal police experts also stressed that aside from fire extinguishers, the museum lacked most recommended fire protection devices, such as hoses, sufficient water sprinklers and fire doors.

    According to the Open Accounts nonprofit that tracks spending, the museum had spent only $4,000 on safety equipment from 2015 to 2017.

    The museum held Latin America’s largest collection of historical artifacts. After the fire, researchers retrieved a fraction of the museum’s collection, including skull fragments belonging to “Luzia”, the name given to a woman who lived 11,500 years ago.

    Efforts to reconstruct the facility are underway, beginning with the restoration of the facade.

    See Original Post

  • April 08, 2019 2:45 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from Security Management

    Security guard forces, ​and the methods used to manage them, have seen transformational change in recent decades. Twenty years ago, the tools of the trade were a notepad and a pen, and the required technical skills peaked with the ability to use a handheld two-way radio. Guard force security was not viewed in a professional manner; guard jobs were often considered “no specific skills needed” entry level positions. Recruiters frequently told applicants, “If you can stay awake, you can do this job.”

    Now, advances in technology and market forces have significantly changed how a guard force works and is managed and have also changed the role of the individual guard. These changes, which in turn have helped transform the employment economy at large, have ushered in a new business model for many guard forces. ​


    Security guards are no longer limited to positions like overnight officers conducting patrols in empty buildings, Checkpoint Charlies sitting in booths, or watchmen hidden away in a back room monitoring security cameras. Many security guards are now stepping into the light to serve in more customer-facing positions. 

    This trend is due in part to the spillover effects of market growth. The frequency of mass shootings in public places, continuing concern over terror attacks, and increasing crime rates in some major cities have all spurred growth in the security guard force industry. Due to this growth, guards are more commonplace in corporate offices, residential facilities, and schools.

    With more guards in these settings, it’s not unusual for security guards to fill in as receptionists or concierges—often the first point of human contact for visitors. This new role brings with it a new set of skill requirements, such as customer service ability, proper phone etiquette, and a certain level of computer proficiency. Requirements for the latter continue to rise as the available technology continues to develop. 

    Guards serving as concierges and receptionists will typically be responsible for access control and visitor processing. But the visitor processing protocol has changed. Today, most access control systems offer a visitor management option or the ability to interface with a third-party visitor management system. 

    Rather than record visitors in a log book and issue paper passes, the technology is now available for visitors to be registered and recorded in a database. Guards may need to use digital cameras to capture photos and print temporary passes. Scanning IDs to perform instant background checks is becoming more common. These tasks require the guard to have a higher level of technical proficiency than was needed in the past. 

    These access duties are just one example of how technological advances have transformed guarding. Token-based touring systems, which record data electronically into hand-held units that are downloaded into a central database upon completion, have been the industry standard for decades. But with new technological innovations, hand-held downloadable tour systems are quickly being replaced by smartphone-based tour systems.

    These new systems allow for real-time reporting and have enhanced reporting features, providing greater detail than the download systems. They use either QR codes that interface with a smartphone’s camera or near-field communication (NFC) technology, which allows the smartphone to scan tokens around the facility.​


    With these changes in technology, managers must realize that not every guard will be able to gain the needed skill sets. For instance, after starting in his current position in early 2018, the author began to evaluate the tasks being performed by contracted security staff. At the time, they were still almost exclusively providing pen and paper reports and logs.

    The author implemented some modest changes such as moving to typed and emailed incident reports and allowing the guards use of the access control system to check employment status of individuals, issue temporary badges, and do some low-level troubleshooting.

    Most of the guard staff were able to take on the new tasks, but two individuals ended up lacking computer proficiency to adapt to the changes. Although the guards were reliable, well liked, and had other positive traits, their inability to adjust to the new technical requirements forced a change in staffing. This was not a decision made lightly, but in the end the guard service provider recognized that requirements now exceeded the individuals’ abilities and that changes were necessary.    

    Technological advances can also create other types of challenges for those managing a guard force. Take, for example, the diverse smartphone touring systems, many of which incorporate GPS tracking and geofencing to ensure that the guard conducting the tour is in the proximity of the token (or QR code) being scanned. 

    In one instance, a guard force manager set up a QR-code-based tour for a client site.  Unfortunately, the manager did not fully understand the functionality of the system, so he did not activate the GPS features. A resourceful security guard working for the manager realized that he could conduct his entire tour by taking photos of all the QR codes and then printing them onto a single page. Using that single page, the guard then scanned the codes one at a time—all from the comfort of the office. 

    Since the reason for the tour was to inspect the areas of the facility for hazards, including potential chemical leaks, the guard’s decision to improvise and skip the tour was risky. As it happened, a leak did occur at the site, which is how the guard’s malfeasance was discovered. Fortunately, the leak was minor, and no damage occurred. Still, the guard company was penalized and required to pay the cost for the modest cleanup. 

    Once the problem was discovered, the manager came up with a solution. The QR codes were all replaced with NFC tokens, which require the smartphone to be placed just inches from the token to record the scan. This eliminated the possibility that another guard might conduct stationary tours.​


    As the prior example makes clear, innovative technology alone does not solve all issues. The technology must be understood and used correctly to bring about process improvements. 

    Many other areas of guard force management have seen advancements due to new technology. Software applications, smartphones, and various other pieces of hardware and software have all become essential management tools.

    Timekeeping. Timekeeping apps for real-time attendance allow managers to know exactly when guards report to duty. This has several benefits. It is important for wage and hour compliance, and it helps supervisors manage cold start positions, positions where the arriving guard is the first on duty and is not relieving another officer, by sending an alert if a guard does not arrive on time. 

    For example, a guard company with a significant national presence in the high-end retail market operated cold starts at most of its locations. To avoid client-imposed penalties for late arrivals or open guard posts, the guard service company needed a system that would provide real time information.

    Rather than having every guard individually call into a central dispatch, the guard services company decided to move to an automated system. In the new system, guards would call into an application and enter a PIN code, which allowed them to either check in or check out. The system verified that the guards were on location by using GPS and caller ID. This meant that dispatchers no longer needed to take dozens of calls at the start of each shift; they simply had to monitor the control panel to ensure that each post had a proper check-in. Late and open posts triggered an automated notification to management. 

    As a management tool, this system proved effective. Guards could no longer call into dispatch claiming to be on site, while they were still 10 minutes away from the location. Dispatchers were not bogged down for 15 minutes taking an onslaught of calls. Guard arrival times were recorded more accurately because they did not have to wait in a queue for the dispatcher to take the call. And in the event a guard did not report on time, management was able to respond faster to meet the clients’ needs. 

    Tracking vehicles via GPS is not a new practice. But now, with the use of smartphone apps, guards inside a facility can be monitored in the same way vehicles have been tracked. With accuracy within a few feet, GPS can track a guard inside a facility, and an app can report back to management if the guard remains stationary beyond a designated length of time. 

    Although this option is often used to detect if a guard has fallen asleep, it can also serve as a health safety tool. Since many guards work alone, an alert indicating that a guard has been motionless for a certain amount of time can be valuable in the event a guard becomes injured or incapacitated while on duty. 

    Inspections. Another management responsibility assisted by technology is guard inspections. Management can visually inspect guards when they are not physically on-site using apps such as Skype or Facetime.

    The use of a webcam provides higher quality inspections versus simply checking in by phone. A guard’s appearance, uniform, and post can all be visually inspected to ensure compliance with company standards. This improves overall efficiency by eliminating travel time between facilities and allowing significantly more guards to be inspected during a shift. 


    In the past, guard force companies commonly took an assembly line approach to recruiting, with the next person in line assigned to the next available opening. But this put-a-body-on-a-post mentality didn’t significantly consider an individual’s abilities or the requirements of a specific job.

    This approach often resulted in a security guard shell game, with guards rotated from client to client whenever problems occurred. Rath­er than separate from problem employees, guard companies would simply transfer them to fill a vacancy elsewhere. Some guards passed through half a dozen sites or more before the company finally terminated employment. 

    The mission of today’s recruiter is to be more selective in identifying the right candidate for the appropriate position. Often, it must be determined whether a candidate has the technical skills to use the needed hardware, mobile apps, information databases, and various software applications. Besides technical abilities, security recruiters are also looking for customer service and communication skills. Many openings seek candidates with at least an associate degree, or equivalent work experience. 

    Overall, the emphasis is on making sure the individual fits the job requirements. A candidate with outstanding customer service skills may make a great concierge. But if he or she does not have strong computer skills, that same candidate may not be a good fit for a security command center position.  

    Complicating the security recruiter’s job is that other industries that have traditionally hosted many minimum wage jobs have begun changing their business models and increasing their base wages well above state mandated minimums. For example, Amazon has established a $15 minimum wage, Costco $14, and Target and Walmart are both at $11. This creates competition for employees as the wage gap between security positions and other entry level jobs closes. 

    Guard force recruiting is also affected by the low U.S. unemployment rate. In November 2018, the national unemployment rate held at 3.7 percent, the lowest jobless rate since December 1969. When unemployment rates drop to such historic lows, qualified personnel become more difficult to find and hire, especially with increased competition from other industries.  

    To contend with these difficult conditions, security recruiters are more aggressively developing internal talent pools, holding onto applicant résumés longer, and using online resources to proactively seek out candidates. As the traditional candidate pool shrinks, recruiters are looking toward recent college graduates and returning military personnel for skilled job candidates. 

    The author experienced firsthand how tight the labor market was in the scenario cited previously, when the two guards were let go because the job requirements grew beyond their capabilities. The author recognized that the additional job responsibilities should come with higher compensation, so when the changes were rolled out the company also implemented a 25 percent pay increase for the remaining guards. 

    When the company advertised the two open positions at the higher pay rate, it could not quickly find qualified replacements. Although the company still maintained its contractual guard requirements and never dropped coverage, it did so by absorbing non-billed overtime for several months. It took a significant loss to its profit margin. 


    Guard force management is, at its root, personnel management. And so, management issues that arise from human resource-related concerns deserve serious consideration. 

    In U.S. states such as California, which has extremely stringent wage and hour requirements, mismanagement can expose a company to class action litigation. In recent years, several guard service companies have had multimillion dollar judgments awarded against them for violations. Technological solutions like the call-in system discussed previously can help, but like any other tool they must be managed and used properly to provide a benefit.  

    In the #MeToo era, employees today are more informed and aware of their rights, and information and resources are just a Google search away. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and harassment complaints can bring with them significant financial penalties to the individual manager and company. In today’s business environment, good managers have a strong understanding of what behavior and conduct constitutes, or approaches, harassment from an HR perspective. 

    Just before the #MeToo movement made national headlines, one guard company was being served with an increasing number of EEOC and harassment complaints. In a meeting with the CEO and vice president of human resources, the CEO suggested increased training. This initially seemed like an excellent suggestion, because it would help managers in their interactions with employees and raise awareness of key HR issues. 

    But then the CEO clarified his suggestion: he indicated that the training he wanted was for the guards to understand “that it’s not illegal for your boss to be a jerk.” It became clear that there was a top-down management problem. The CEO’s attitude clearly did not fit with current thinking about sustaining a healthy workplace culture. 

    “The line between disrespect and harassment is very thin,” said Matt Verdecchia, a senior trainer with Health Advocate’s EAP+Work/Life division, during the Society for Human Resources Management’s 2017 annual conference. “We need to be more sensitive to insensitivity.”

    Clearly the CEO of the firm was not being sensitive to insensitivity. Managers must understand that their attitudes have consequences, and the more senior a manager, the greater the impact. Complaints against that company continued.    

    In the past, a guard force manager’s interaction with HR typically began and ended with recruiters. Today, a successful guard force manager should embrace the broader role that many HR managers have taken on in companies. EEOC education and antiharassment training should be a part of every guard manager’s core curriculum. Maintaining open communication with regards to employee coaching and performance evaluations can avoid costly situations.

    Guard force operations and management will continue to change. New technologies are developed, the economic landscape evolves, and new challenges emerge. But at the end of the day, a guard force consists of individuals. For senior managers down to the on-site guard, change will be continuous. In response, education, training, and learning from experience should be, as well.   

    See Original Post

  • April 08, 2019 2:38 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from USA Today

    The bad news: most people don’t give a second thought to their routers.

    This lack of know-how puts a lot of households in a dangerous position. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has issued an alert about Russian state-supported hackers carrying out attacks against a large number of home routers in the U.S.

    Some routers are inherently flawed and can never be fixed. To help beef up your router’s security, here are five tactics for protecting your home network, devices and files from hackers.

    First, check your router's admin page

    Before you start, make sure you can get into your router's administration console; this is where you manage your router's settings, including password management to firmware updates.

    First, make sure your computer is connected (either wired or wirelessly) to your router, open a web browser and type in the router's IP address. The IP address is a set of numbers, and the default depends on your router's manufacturer. The common ones are, or

    If you're don’t know your router's IP address or password, it’s on the internet

    1. Select the best encryption

    Criminals love unsecured home Wi-Fi networks. Securing your Wi-Fi network can also shield you from unwelcome connections that may be using your network for illegal activities.

    This is why it's important to protect your Wi-Fi network with strong encryption. If you are required to enter a password to connect to your Wi-Fi, you already have some encryption enabled on your router.

    There are different types of Wi-Fi encryption, and you have to make sure that it's the most secure one you can employ.

    The most widely-used Wi-Fi security protocol right now is still Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) encryption. However, this standard is over a decade old, and it is already susceptible to serious security vulnerabilities like 2017's KRACK attack.

    If you're shopping for a new router, look for one that supports the newest security standard called WPA3. These models have just started rolling out. Every router has a different menu layout, but you should be able to find encryption under the "Wireless" or "Security" menu. You'll have a number of encryption options: if you still have an older router, you want to select one that starts with "WPA2." If your router is not WPA3 compatible, then "WPA2-PSK AES" is your best option right now.

    However, if you have older Wi-Fi gadgets, you might have to select the hybrid option "WPA2-PSK AES + WPA-PSK TKIP" to get them working.

    Never choose Open (no security), or if it is using WEP, change the security setting immediately. An open network will make it easy for someone to steal your Wi-Fi, and the older WEP security is easily hacked.

    If the only encryption options your router has are WEP or WPA, tell your router to check for a firmware update. Look in your manual for the instructions.

    Don't have your manual anymore? Try ManualsLib or ManualsOnline, which both have hundreds of thousands of manuals, from routers to refrigerators to anything else you might need.

    If there's no firmware update or your router updates but you're still stuck with WPA or WEP, it's time to buy a new router. These encryption methods are too unsafe to use, plus it means your router is probably more than 7 years old.

    2. Pros set up an additional separate network

    A great tactic is to put visitor devices on a separate network. You do this by setting up a completely different Wi-Fi router or enabling your router's "Guest Network" option, a popular feature for most routers.

    Guest networks are meant for visitors to your home who might need a Wi-Fi internet connection, but you don't want them gaining access to the shared files and devices within your network.

    This segregation will also work for your smart appliances, and it can shield your main devices from specific Internet-Of-Things attacks.

    To avoid confusion with your primary network, set up your guest network with a different network name (SSID) and password. Please make sure you set up a strong and super-secure password on your guest network, as well. You still won't want crooks and strangers mooching off it for security reasons.

    Newer routers do this segmentation automatically. With this feature, it allows users to put Internet-of-Things appliances on a separate network, shielding your central computers and other personal gadgets from attacks.

    With this virtual zoning of your network, you can still allow all your smart appliances and hubs to communicate with each other while keeping your main computing gadgets safe in the event of an Internet-Of-Things attack.

    Also, if you're worried about "wardrivers" or people roaming around looking for Wi-Fi spots to hack, you can disable the broadcasting of your network and your guest network's name (SSID) entirely.

    3. Use the free parental controls

    To shield your kids from inappropriate sites, most routers have built-in content filters, parental controls and time-based restrictions.

    To enable these filters, visit your router's administrator page or app again and look for a section called "Parental Controls" or "Access Controls." Here, you can choose what type of sites to disable access to, set the schedule when the filters are in effect and set curfew hours for certain gadgets.

    You can even set filters for specific IP and MAC addresses. The downside of this method is the inconvenience and it takes a bit of technical skill to pull this off. The good thing about this is that you'll have a map of all your connected gadgets and their corresponding IPs.

    To take this a bit further, turn on MAC (Multimedia Access Control) filtering. With MAC filtering on, you can specify which MAC addresses will be allowed to connect to your network at certain times. Note: MAC addresses can usually be found in the gadget's settings, label or manual. Look for a set of 16 alphanumeric characters. (Here's an example of what a MAC address will look like: 00:15:96:FF:FE:12:34:56 )

    4. Turn on the VPN

    You have likely heard of a VPN (Virtual Private Network), which is an excellent way to boost your online security and privacy.

    With a VPN, your gadget's IP address is hidden from websites and services that you visit, and you're able to browse anonymously. Web traffic is also encrypted, meaning not even your internet service provider can see your online activity. It is a good way to hide your internet tracks from would-be snoops.

    VPN services are typically accessed via software, but some newer routers can be configured with VPN capabilities straight into the router itself. Instead of protecting each gadget protected with its own VPN service, your router will protect every connected device.

    Routers with this capability have open source router software support (such as DD-WRT), and they can be configured to use services like OpenVPN.

    Currently, there are a variety of open source and OpenVPN capable routers to choose from, but the most popular models are the Linksys AC3200 and the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900.

    5. Turn on and test the firewall

    One valuable tool that can protect your router from hackers is a firewall. With it, even if they manage to know your router's location and IP address, the firewall can keep them from accessing your system and your network.

    Almost every newer router has built-in firewall protections in place. They might be labeled differently, but look for features under your router's advanced settings like NAT filtering, port forwarding, port filtering and services blocking.

    With these controls, you can configure and specify your network's outgoing and incoming data ports and protect it from intrusions. Be careful when tweaking your port settings though, since a wrong port setting can leave your router vulnerable to port scanners, giving hackers an opportunity to slip past.

    To check if your router's firewall and your ports are secure, you can use an online tool for a quick test.

    See Original Post

  • April 08, 2019 2:34 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from KOAT7 ABC

    Investigators say a night of drinking and other bad decisions by a security guard led to a devastating fire last month at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

    Investigators say security guard Matthew Luxon not only left his post to go drinking with friends, but he brought them back to work with him, and that's when things really got out of hand.

    Investigators say Luxon and two friends were shooting a gun from the balcony.

    Next, they say Luxon and one of the friends, Lyle Thompson, rolled makeshift joints from plants on the balcony and smoked them in the maintenance room.

    But they started coughing.

    “During that coughing episode, the cigarettes fell out of their hands, igniting paper, which ignited the room on fire,” Mark Torres, with the Office of Superintendent of Insurance, said.

    Crews say the fire triggered the sprinklers and prompted the alarm-monitoring company to call the center.

    That's when investigators say the security guard made another mistake.

    “He waived them off or told them that fire would not be needed at that time and that the system was under maintenance,” Torres said.

    Crews say the guard then left without reporting it, meaning firefighters weren't actually called until security noticed the damage when they changed shifts hours later.

    Arson investigators say they were able to narrow down the possibilities pretty quickly.

    “There was no break-in, there was no smashed windows, so somebody inside the building had to know someone else was in the building,” Jimmy Vigil, with the New Mexico Fire Marshall's Office, said.

    Investigators say they tracked down Luxon and he admitted to the whole thing. 

    Both he and Thompson are charged with negligent arson and evidence tampering.

    Luxon is also charged with conspiracy.

    Investigators say the third friend was not charged because she was not in the room when the fire started.

    Meanwhile, adjusters are working to determine how much damage was caused.

    “We're looking at roughly a half a million, but there are several articles that still need to be scoped,” property casualty bureau chief Rod Crawley said.

    Adjusters believe any damage done to the artwork is minimal, but they expect portions of the center to remain closed for repairs for several more weeks.

    See Original Post

  • April 08, 2019 2:29 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from the Independent

    An American tourist was caught trying to steal part of the rail tracks at the former Auschwitz death camp in Poland, according to officials.

    The 37-year-old man faces up to ten years in prison after being charged with attempted theft of an item of cultural importance from the Holocaust memorial site.

    He is said to have tried to take a metal part of the tracks where prisoners were unloaded during World War Two.

    The man admitted his guilt, according to Malgorzata Jurecka, a police spokeswoman in the town of Oswiecim.

    Earlier this month visitors to Auschwitz were asked to stop posing for photos while balancing on its infamous railway tracks.

    It follows a series of thefts and incidents of vandalism at the site where more than 1.1 million Jews were killed.

    In 2009 the famous 16ft-wide sign bearing the Nazi slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Will Set You Free) was stolen from the front gate.

    It was later found cut into pieces and a former Swedish neo-Nazi was jailed for more than two years for masterminding the theft.

    Two British schoolboys were caught stealing artefacts from Auschwitz, including buttons and a razor, in 2015. They were later fined £400 each.

    And last year an Israeli teenager was fined for urinating on a memorial commemorating the victims of the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum. 

    Details of the latest theft emerged as 700 Holocaust artefacts were transported to New York for an exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

    The exhibits include a vintage German train car like those used to transport men, women and children to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

    See Original Post

  • April 08, 2019 2:16 PM | Office IFCPP (Administrator)

    Reposted from St. Louis Post Dispatch

    A rare manuscript library on Russell Boulevard caught fire Tuesday evening, sending at least two dozen firetrucks to the location and dozens of onlookers into the street, but leaving officials with hope that firefighters had saved much of the collection.

    St. Louis’ Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, at 3524 Russell Boulevard, housed some of California collector David Karpeles’ collection of original manuscripts, one of the largest in the world.

    “I’m thousands of miles away,” Karpeles said Tuesday from his home in Santa Barbara. “I’m very nervous at the moment. I don’t know what to say or think.”

    The St. Louis Fire Department received its first call to the fire at 7 p.m., and quickly gave the blaze four-alarm status. By 7:45 p.m., the back of the building was engulfed, flames were shooting 6 to 8 feet above the roof, and smoke poured out of the windows, the glow of fire behind them.

    At least 80 firefighters responded, officials said. They hauled out statues and old wooden model ships as the building burned, said Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson. “They knew they were in a museum,” he said. “It’s like, ‘Don’t leave empty-handed. Grab something and get it out of here.’”

    At one point, part of the second-floor ceiling collapsed while at least 20 firefighters were inside, Jenkerson said. “The entire ceiling came down around and on some of these guys,” he said.

    No one was injured. Flames were largely extinguished by 9 p.m.

    Kerry Manderbach, director of the museum, was on site Tuesday evening and said the manuscripts were largely housed on the first floor, and the fire, at least in the front of the building, was mostly on the second. Upstairs was a sanctuary or chapel, he said. Earlier in the day, a smoke alarm went off, and he ran into the museum and grabbed old manuscripts regarding Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara.

    The museum opened in 2015, the 13th branch in a system created by David and Marsha Karpeles, who made their fortune in Southern California real estate. Collectors of historic documents for decades, they founded the first of their museums in 1983.

    The building, a six-columned brick-and-stone church with arching stained-glass windows, sits just five houses off South Grand Boulevard, across the street from Compton Hill’s Reservoir Park, and on a block of mansions, luxury apartments and grand old St. Louis homes. Originally the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, the 107-year-old Greek Revival structure more recently housed the New Paradise Missionary Baptist Church.

    The St. Louis Karpeles location has displayed, among other things, St. Louis’ application to join the National League, a Gutenberg Bible, the Confederate Constitution, a map from the Spanish Armada, Babe Ruth’s first baseball contract, the first draft of the Bill of Rights, and Columbus’ handwritten letter describing the coasts of America in his last voyage of discovery.

    Exhibits are rotated among branches.

    “The extraordinary thing about the Karpeles collection is the diversity,” Stephen White, then the director of the Karpeles Museum in Charleston, S.C., told the Post-Dispatch in 2015. “What does he collect? Anything and everything, in the arts, mathematics, politics, science, religion, the whole range of academic subjects.”

    It was unclear which manuscripts were at the St. Louis location when the fire broke out on Tuesday. The museum’s Facebook page said it was exhibiting documents from Russia, from 1711-1963, and also a section on the St. Louis Black Media Experience. Manderbach said the museum had a yearbook from Fidel Castro’s time in high school, and military documents pertaining to Guevara, the Argentine revolutionary.

    Manderbach said the documents were all in protective cases or files, and the fire department tried not to soak them while fighting the upstairs fire.

    “I feel pretty devastated,” Manderbach said. “This is a wonderful resource for the community, and to think we might lose it — not lose the documents — but the exhibition space, it’s heart-wrenching.”

    Karpeles said he was on the phone with his assistant director in Seattle to make plans for the St. Louis museum’s collection.

    The museum also housed the St. Louis Media History Foundation’s collection, which includes archives, recordings, posters, photographs and T-shirts from the region’s radio, television, print and advertising history. Foundation Executive Director Frank Absher said the collection, in filing cabinets, wasn’t burned but may have water damage. He figured the museum building itself, however, could be beyond repair.

    “It’s terrible to lose a building of this historical significance,” he said.

    Absher was supposed to pick up some items from the museum Friday to display at a dinner Saturday celebrating the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, which the foundation maintains.

    “There will be a table,” he said. “But it will be sparse.”

    Neighbors gathered in the grass at Reservoir Park. Eric Ericson said the blaze was devastating to watch.

    Firefighters aimed water cannons at the windows and then “blew through the beautiful art glass,” Ericson said.

    “It’s really sad to see this,” Ericson said.

    See Original Post




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