Prior preparation and planing prevents p*** poor performance
Simple question with a simple answer. This year has been crazy. Normally we would have been able to sit down in January and review the previous year and Christmas period. This year things like weather events and busy January sales and trading periods made that difficult.After that we had storms Ophelia and Emma. Then in May we had GDPR come in and many businesses were focused on that. The point is that a lot of the time and money that could have been spent in reviewing and improving for this year were used on other stuff. With businesses expecting a busier Christmas than we have seen in the last few years we might be in for a busy, stressful few months. If we haven’t prepared early then it will be even harder.
Preparation starts at home. Take an hour this week to take a look at yourself. Your training certs, your daily habits, your vehicle ,your equipment. Are they all winter ready?
Firstly your certification and licensing. Is your PSA licence due for renewal like a huge amount of people in the next few weeks? Very easy to forget in silly season only to find your self face to face with an inspector and getting a fine before Christmas. Is your first aid or SafePass due? Some of these have the consequence of finding yourself out of work coming up to Christmas if you aren’t checking it now. Many training providers for these types of courses are booked through November already not to mention the backlog in the licencing authorities coming up to Christmas.
How about your daily habits? Do you walk/cycle to work? Is this still feasible once the winter weather hits? Do you have hi-vis gear for when the dark mornings and evenings begin. Do you have a patrol vehicle to use for work and if so is it setup for winter. Remember there is no such thing as bad weather just poor clothing. I know the terrible feeling of getting to work soaked from the rain and facing into a 12 hour day/night shift. Just as you dry out its time to head back out in the rain to go home.
Have you checked your equipment. Batteries all checked and all in good repair.I opened up my work bag during the week and even with the limited amount of operational work I now do I had stuff I needed to replace. Enough uniforms for when it takes 4 days to get some clothes dried. Not just in work either. What about at home. Have you checked things like your smoke alarms and fire extinguisher? A short nights sleep after a long day at work interrupted by a beeping smoke alarm is not ideal but avoidable.
For those of you in charge of teams. Have you started recruiting for Christmas cover yet? Have you started talking about time off and who can take which days? None of this costs anything but can save some grief later on if planned in advance.
Have you reviewed your procedures in light of last year. What types of issues did you encounter? What’s the plan for this year? How did you deal with the extra crowds and can you do it better? All things that can be planned now before we are in the thick of a busy period and freaking with it on the ground. I wrote an article previously on planning for emergencies that you can read here.
Have you considered security briefings for the non security staff? In retail it could be stock-loss awareness training. In the pub or hotel sector it could be responsible service of alcohol training. Once mid November comes there won’t be much opportunity to do it then. Many staff will be new for the busy period and may not be aware of security procedures.
Have you gotten all of your fire drills and emergency planning done. Do you require CCTV moves for better coverage of risk areas with larger crowds. Do you have enough security equipment in terms of radios, PPE, tags (in retail)?
Do you have plans and resources in place for adverse weather? Do you have access to rock salt, extra wet floor signs and other weather contingency equipment. The weather can make life difficult for us as we all know. Our own poor preparation for it can make its impact much worse. There is no excuse for this any more and we cant say its unexpected considering how regular it is now.
Have you had all of your plant and equipment serviced and ready for the winter? Have you checked and re-stocked all of your first aid equipment. I say all of this because in the second week of December when you run out of rock salt and try to order it we all know what the situation will be.
I say all this not to be patronising. I know that there will be lots of you out there who are well ahead of the game on this. It is all easy stuff to plan and prepare with a little forethought. It is also easy stuff to forget. Not due to incompetence or any negative. We just get caught up in the busy day to day firefighting and we forget to plan for the future until we are in the midst of it. November and December are no time to be planning as we all know and we end up struggling through Christmas period unprepared and getting from week to week. This adds risk and stress to us all and it really is unnecessary. Do your self the favour of taking an hour this week and going thorough your own personal checklist. Make a list of what needs to get done in preparation and take action on it. You will thank yourself in the coming months.