Security Staffers often overlook one of the most basic elements of their job: THE GEAR. Unfortunately, the importance of the gear that you carry is not often realized…until you need a particular piece of gear at a particularly important moment. What follows is a breakdown of recommended gear for Security Staffers, from the ground on up.
SHOES & INSOLES
I often hear Staffers complain about how sore their feet are at the end of a night. Then I look down and see them wearing dress shoes with paper-thin soles or heavy steel-toed boots. Your shoes have to match your environment and no matter what they have to be comfortable for at least 6 hours of standing.
My recommendation is either some comfortable dress shoes with Gel inserts, orthotics, or some type of hybrid comfort/support shoe. If you are going to be doing a lot of standing, you might want to wear the shoes for an entire day and see if they will get the job done. The socks that you wear are just as important. Remember to wear socks that breathe. And ALWAYS break in your shoes before you wear them on shift.
Regardless of how you are dressed, you should be wearing a belt. Not only does it make your look “cleaner”, but you need somewhere to clip your gear, no? A sturdy leather belt will work wonders. A utility belt will definitely work, but depending on your uniform it may not match.
Besides your radio, your flashlight is the most important piece of gear you can purchase. You can use it not only as an illumination device, but as a means of signaling your co-workers (if, heaven forbid, you are radio-less) or pointing out trouble. If you buy a flashlight with a high lumen output, you can also use it to temporarily blind an assailant or troublemaker. I suggest FENIX. They make a solid product in a variety of shapes and lumen outputs.
Remember, a flashlight need not be gigantic to do its job. Pick one that is a manageable size with a solid light output.
This is for you cold-weather workers. NEVER show up to a shift when it “may” be windy/rainy/snowy/cold without proper cold weather attire. Worst case scenario, you remove some layers. Worser (is that even a word?) scenario: frostbite or pneumonia. Wear layers, invest in a waterproof coat, and don’t be a tough guy: stay warm!
Some Staffers like to wear gloves as part of their “look”. Don’t. Just…don’t.
PEN & NOTEPAD
The most basic reason you need these items is to gather information after Incidents. Any notes that you take prior to filling out an Incident Report will be extremely helpful when you get to the paperwork stage. They are also helpful for writing down directions, phone numbers, descriptions, etc. Two of the most overlooked pieces of “gear”.
WATCH & CELLPHONE
Many people don’t wear watches. Now that most of our society uses cellphones to tell time, they find watches unneccessary. While wearing a watch is a matter of personal preference, looking at your watch to tell time is always faster than pulling out a cellphone. And what if your cellphone dies?
You should ALWAYS have a freshly charged cellphone with you. ALWAYS. This is your lifeline to 911/Law Enforcement/off-site Head of Security/Management. The phone numbers for Police Dispatch (or in some cities Nightclub Patrol) should be pre-programmed into your phone. 911 is already pre-programmed, but in many jurisdictions 911 does NOT send you directly to the Police/Fire/EMT. A quick push of a button should get you in contact with whatever Department or service you need. And remember to have your Head of Security/Manager’s phone numbers as well, for both work and emergency related calls.
Work in a noisy dance club or live music venue? Buy earplugs. Simply put: they will save your hearing. Wear a single earplug if you have a radio in your other ear. You’ll be amazed at how much more manageable your loud environment will become, especially if you are stationed in front of a speaker.
If you own a bar or nightclub, you owe it to your Staff to purchase radios. They could literally save the life of one of your employees or Patrons. If you work in a bar or nightclub as a Security Staffer ALWAYS wear a radio. Yes, they can get heavy or uncomfortable. Yes, it can be hard to understand what people are saying on occasion, but it is this is the price you pay for being safe.
Staying in contact with your co-workers allows you to see the action if you are not in it, advise others of your status, and most importantly CALL FOR HELP. Put on your radio the second you get to work and TURN IT ON. Test the mic and volume level and call out a “Test”. Many Staffers put their radios on, but don’t turn them on, only to find out an hour later when calling for help that their radio is non-functioning. Don’t take that chance.
GUM, LIGHTER, CONDOMS
Without going into detail, the gum is the only thing on this list that is for your personal use…at least while you are on the clock. Many Patrons will ask you for one of the three and you will always be the hero if you can magically produce them.
Ultimately, having the proper gear is a matter of keeping you and your Patrons safe. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared!”
Until next time…