Checklist: General office security procedures

  • Provide fire extinguishers and flashlights (with replaceable batteries). Make sure all staff members know how to use them.
  • Provide an electricity generator if there is a strong possibility of power cuts. Power cuts can endanger security (lights, alarms, telephones, etc.), particularly in rural areas.
  • Keep a list handy of local emergency numbers for police, fire brigade, ambulance, nearby hospitals for emergencies, etc.
  • If there is a risk of conflict nearby, keep a supply of food and water in reserve.
  • Establish the location of secure areas outside the office for emergencies (for example, the offices of other organisations).
  • Nobody from outside the organisation must be left alone in a vulnerable area with access to keys, information or valuables.
  • Keys: Never leave keys where visitors might have access to them. Never “hide” keys outside the office entrance – this makes them accessible, not hidden.
  • Admission procedures: Security barriers offer no protection if a potential intruder is allowed to enter the office. The main points to bear in mind are:

o All staff are equally responsible for visitor control and admission.
o All visitors must be accompanied at all times while in the office.

  • If an unauthorised visitor is found in the office:

o Never confront someone who seems prepared to use violence to get what they want (for example, if they are armed). In such cases, alert colleagues, find a safe place to hide and try to get help from the police.
o Approach the person carefully or seek assistance in the office or from the police.

  • In high risk situations, always keep control of vulnerable things, such as the information stored on a hard drive, in order to make them inaccessible or remove them in case of an emergency evacuation.
  • Bear in mind that in case of confrontation with a potential intruder, the people working in the office are on the front line. Ensure that they have the necessary training and support at all times to deal with any situation, and without putting themselves at risk.