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In every construction site, tools and equipment are one of the necessary assets. These construction items are important to adhere to the schedule. Of course, no one wants to encounter delays especially when you are under a tight budget.

Safeguard Your Tools and Other Construction Materials

  1. Allocate an area for equipment storage, or perhaps, build secure sheds for storage purposes. If not, you can always rent storage.
  2. It is important to have an inventory of all equipment, tools, and materials. This is particularly important for heavy duty equipment and expensive construction tools.
  3. There should be a uniform system for the checking in (and out) of tools and equipment. Place a visible sign stating that, “ALL TOOLS MUST BE CHECKED OUT!” Securely store the tools in locked storage facilities.
  4. Seal gas or oil tank caps because would-be criminals can use these to their advantage.
  5. Provide parking for heavy equipment, and make sure there is enough lighting to secure the area. Aside from that, install anti-theft devices to important construction equipment.
  6. All heavy equipment should have a unique identifier and put a warning sign that these ID numbers are monitored.
  7. There should be an on-site inventory of everything, including the materials, tools, and equipment. For the lighter tools and equipment, lock them during non-working hours. Store these items in a closed room or secure them using lockable gates.
  8. Designate a spare key (or a supervisory key) to control the use of motorized equipment. Not everyone should have access the main key and only supervisors can get a hold of emergency keys.
  9. If you no longer need equipment or materials, remove it from the construction site. You are inviting would-be criminals. Refrain from storing too many items in the site storage.
  10. Lastly, monitor even the trash removal because you will never know what the perpetrators hid in the trash bin.

Security solutions for your small business

Time is money, and if many hours are wasted because of construction site crimes, this could mean loss of resources, and more importantly, loss of profit.

At Echelon Protection & Surveillance, we have security experts that will assess your construction site, and help you develop stringent security protocols with the aid of modern technology.

If you choose Echelon Protection & Surveillance as your business’ security partner, we will give you the daily security records, and even digital records such as photos and video footages. Moreover, we will also assign you a security account manager, free of charge, so that you can easily know the site’s status and other relevant updates.

Working hand in hand with the local police

Your security is our utmost priority! That’s why we are continually coordinating with the local police to enforce strict security measures on the construction site. For more details about Echelon Protection & Surveillance, kindly call us at 1-610-831-0277 or email us at sales@epsagents.com.

Whatever the nature of your business, whether you are from the retail industry to the airline industry, you need a specific policy for handling visitors at the jobsite. The policies are there not just to consider the welfare of the visitors, but also the employees and the business in general. Visitors, at an unfamiliar workplace, can injure themselves, harm others, and even damage the property.

Moreover, there is also a possibility of theft, sabotage, and scare tactics. Each organization may encounter distinctive and varying problems. Of course, multinational companies are expected to have more visitors than small and mid-size enterprises.

An organization should develop a visitor access policy to prevent unauthorized visitors. These people can steal construction materials, tools, and equipment. You can even protect intellectual property through adding clauses to the policy. In order to safeguard your business from a potential hazardous situation, a policy needs to be written to look after the visitors and the employees.

  • Visitors must check in and check out.

    • Before anything else, a visitor must sign up and state the purpose of this official visit. Additionally, the other details that should be included are: visitor’s name, affiliation, and duration of the visit.
  • Visitors must wear their badge at all times.

    • After checking in, each visitor should have a photo ID badge. The ID should come with a photo if possible, and it should visibly show visitor’s name. The visitor’s badge should be worn at all times.
  • Visitors should be accompanied by an employee.

    • All visitors should not be left unattended. An employee should escort a visitor within the company premises. There should be a security director to oversee such visitor and employee arrangements.

Strictly no photographs

Remind all visitors that they are not permitted to take photographs of the site without approval. Even if such photographs are allowed, the visitor cannot publish it without the approval of the company officials.

Sign an NDA

To ensure a strict policy, visitors should sign a non-disclosure agreement when entering the site.

The Importance of Having Certified Security Officers

Encourage employees to report visitors, who are not wearing badge. The visitors should be immediately reported to the security guard. The first thing the security personnel should do is to enact the visitor access policy. In an emergency situation, the security guards should help the employees evacuate the premises.

If you choose Echelon Protection & Surveillance as your security partner, we will deploy officers in order to effectively keep the trespassers and would-be criminals away from company premises. At Echelon Protection & Surveillance, we truly understand that theft and vandalism are pervasive in the country.

Before coming up with a detailed security plan, a security expert will have to conduct an on-site assessment first. The preliminary construction site evaluation will help identify major security flaws that could be used by criminals. If you want to know more, please give us a call at 1-610-831-0277, or you may send a message to sales@epsagents.com.

Keeping Records and Documentation

As a volunteer fire fighter for over 45 years, I wanted to share my fire watch experience to benefit other business owners like me. So, when I founded Echelon Protection & Surveillance in 2001, I personally developed all of our fire watch procedures.

Although the law varies by state, a fire watch should be performed by a trained fire safety officer with at least a few of the following credentials:

  • Basic fire prevention training by the security company
  • Fire safety school classes with training in occupant and fire department notification
  • Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) classes
  • At least 1 year of experience as a fire fighter, regional fire police or similar experience

As I said in my previous blog, after the property owner or building manager has vetted and scheduled the fire watch, it’s all up to the security company. They are responsible for making sure thefire watch officers have their directives and know exactly what’s expected from a documentation and reporting perspective. Ultimately, the goal is to protect the property, people and surrounding area from fire, hazard and liability.

An Effective Fire Watch Means Careful Record Keeping

All fire watch officers are responsible for record keeping that documents all patrols and activity. The records may be digital or written in an old school log book. The fire watch officer on duty must report any risky or hazardous conditions to the security supervisor, building owner, and Fire Marshal so they’re fully informed at all times. In most cases, the fire watch report must be sent to the Fire Marshall’s office at the end of each day. Up-to-the-minute security companies will have the ability to monitor fire watch officer patrols via GPS technology in real time. It is also possible to set up temporary scan tags at each patrol stop that work in tandem with the officer’s smart phone to verify fire watch tours in real time. Temporary camera surveillance is also an option so officers can view multiple areas of the property right from their smart phone. Echelon uses aApp called Officer Reports that combines GPS sign-in/sign-out, patrol scan tags, and fire watch reporting capabilities with photos all in one place. Below is a check list of the bare minimum record keeping that should be required:

  • Property address, owner and all related contact information
  • Date and time of each patrol with a detailed patrol report
  • Name of the security company and a copy of their license and certificate of insurance
  • Names of all security personnel conducting the fire watch
  • Documentation of all communications with all stakeholders, including the fire department, property manager and general contractor

It’s Not Just About Fire

Keep in mind that a fire watch is not exclusively about fire. To get the most value from your fire watch detail – your security officer’s protocols should be comprehensive and take a wholistic approach to the overall security, safety, protection and well-being of your property and people. This means the security guard should be vigilant at all times — looking for any type of illegal or unwanted activity such as hazard, vandalism, emergency or theft. This includes awareness of any unusual activity at adjacent structures or lots that could affect your property.

Echelon uses real world experience and the latest technology to document activities and keep records in order to guarantee an effective, professional fire watch. Build a relationship with a reliable fire watch security services company — Contact Echelon Protection & Surveillance to guide you through your next fire watch. Call 610-831-0277 or email sales@epsagents.com.

No matter the size or experience of your company, security policies are a necessary part of any smart construction plan. A good rule of thumb is to have security protocols in place as soon as equipment and materials are delivered. So, even in the very early stages of the building process, the construction site should be protected from vandalism, theft, and liability if you want to mitigate costly delays.

Tested and proven jobsite security policies will assure employees, visitors, and contractors that you are doing your best to keep your construction site safe and secure for all stakeholders. Security policies are designed to avoid damaged or stolen tools, equipment and materials. Moreover, policies can include data privacy, and physical security.

7 Quick Tips to Secure Your Construction Site

Implement an ID system with a strong security password

First, you need to make sure that everyone has a unique identifier. It is not enough that employees wear their ID cards. Also, there should be personal identification number (or PIN code) for accessing certain tools, materials, storage trailers, and equipment. Avoid using easily guessed PIN codes, like birthdays.

Control access to high value materials and equipment

Tools and equipment should be locked in a safe place when not in use. Access cards should be granted to authorize personnel only. If employees quit their job or have no background check on file, the access should be revoked. All employees should be reminded to protect their PINs from others. At the same time, you should assess whether employees need to access what tools and equipment.

Restrict usage of smart phones

Limiting personal cell phone use at the construction site will help stop accidental security breaches, such as taking photos of unguarded access points, where valuable tools are stored, what type of materials are on-site, or sharing other sensitive information – especially on social media. As you develop jobsite phone policies, try to strike a balance between employee needs and common-sense construction site security. Most employees need to contact their families sometime during the day. However, any jobsite photos should be seen as proprietary information that is not to be shared.

Report losses and damages to support all stakeholders

Develop, explain and enforce clear steps for reporting any jobsite vandalism, loss or damage. Managing an organized jobsite includes documentation for accounting, legal issues and security purposes.

Maintain a visitor access control policy with physical security

When subcontractors, deliveries, or visitors enter the construction site, proper ID verification and documentation is a must. Visitors policies should include check-in and out with security guards at access control points. The guards should be supplied with a current checklist of all those who may enter the site. This list includes: materials to be delivered, subcontractors, equipment, or any other visitors you anticipate. If someone is not on the list and requests entry, the security guards should be provided with a “call down list” of who to contact to gain permission to enter, including the Foreman, Construction Manager or Supervisor.

Empower your workers buy getting buy-in.

For on-site security strategies to be effective, it is important to engage and empower your team by explaining why these procedures are important and how they affect the real-world bottom line. Make it easier for them by writing clear and practical policies. Mandating unrealistic policies that are too strict or time consuming may encourage employees to do the exact opposite. Good security plans need practice and oversight — until the practice becomes standard operating procedure.

A Detailed Construction Site Security Plan for Your Business!

Remember, unwatched construction sites are easy targets for vandalism, arson and theft. Damaged equipment and stolen materials can lead to costly delays, affecting your reputation, business operations and bottom line. At Echelon Protection & Surveillance, we work with you to develop a tested and proven plan for your construction site security in order to deter unwanted and illegal activity while mitigating risks, threats, hazard and liability. For more information, please contact us at (610) 831-0277 or sales@epsagents.com.

Fire Watch Duties

As a Volunteer Fire Fighter and later Fire Police Captain of Worcester Township, I’ve been first on the scene more times than I can count, have fought hundreds of deadly fires, been injured on the job by falling through the floor during an active fire– and sadly have seen too many people die. So, when I founded Echelon in 2001, I wanted to use my (then) 30 years of firefighting experience to help other business owners like me navigate the uncertainties of a fire watch. To that end, I personally developed and directed all Echelon’s fire watch policies, processes and directives.

Although it varies by state, according to the law, a fire watch must be performed by a specially trained fire safety security officer. Training should include a few of the following credentials; basic fire prevention training by the security company, attending fire safety school, Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) classes, and training in occupant and fire department notification. As I said in my previous blog, after the owner has set up the fire watch, it’s the security company’s job to ensure their fire watch officers are on task and have the latest patrolling and reporting technology. Use the list of duties below as a check list to be sure your fire watch covers all your bases to protect you from risk and liability.

Fire watch officers should be trained to perform the following duties

  • Follow all Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
  • Maintain conditions and requirements stated on fire and safety permits.
  • Continually patrol the construction jobsite or area of concern a minimum of once every 30 minutes and document your activities.
  • Inspect all areas of the property or building(s) that are affected by the fire alarm or sprinkler systems.
  • Document and report any risky or hazardous conditions to the security supervisor, building owner, Fire Marshal and local authorities.
  • Be trained to use a fire extinguisher and have access to all fire safety equipment on site.
  • Have a priority call-down list and be able to communicate effectively and clearly with the owner, building occupants and the fire department in case of fire, emergency or hazard.
  • Be familiar with the entire jobsite, including: site map, floor plans, building occupants, potential hazards, on-site materials, emergency shutdown procedures, fixed fire alarm systems, and access to portable fire protection gear.
  • Work with your general contractor to be sure your fire watch officers are knowledgeable in all aspects of the jobsite and maintain all fire watch records for inspection by the Fire Marshal.

In my next blog installment of How to Establish Construction Fire Watch Security, I’ll layout how Echelon uses real world experience and the latest technology to document activities and keep records in order to guarantee a professional fire watch. Build a relationship with a reliable fire watch security services company — contact Echelon Protection & Surveillance to discuss and advise on your next fire watch. Call 610-831-0277 or email sales@epsagents.com.

Property Owner Obligations

As a volunteer fire fighter for over 45 years, I’ve seen a lot of tragedies that could’ve been avoided with a little planning, common sense or basic maintenance. When I founded Echelon Protection & Surveillance in 2001, I was confident I could utilize my firefighting training by offering fire watch services to our growing list of clients. In the past 20 years we’ve performed fire watch projects of every shape and size for clients who needed a reliable security partner. Some were large properties that required services for many months after the fire, many were city  mandated building fire watches, and some were smaller public or private watches that lasted only a few weeks. Reliable fire watch companies are hard to find because they need to be specially trained, respond immediately, be well organized, extremely flexible and know how to work in tandem with all sorts of clients, the local Fire Marshal and county authorities.

Philadelphia has mandated fire watch services.

In September 2020, our home city of Philadelphia issued a Code Bulletin from the Department of Licenses and Inspections mandated that all active construction sites must maintain a fire watch on building construction and demolition sites.The Code was enacted because unattended jobsites present a real potential risk to the people and properties in the surrounding community.

A fire watch is required on a construction site if a building’s fire alarm, sprinkler, or suppression system is compromised, including special hazard conditions or planned impairments as determined by a Safety Manager or local Fire Code Officials.A general rule is that if any of these fire safety systems are down for more than 4 hours in a 24-hour period the building must evacuated or begin a fire watch. The main duty of fire watch personnel is to perform frequent patrols watching for signs of fire. Fire watch responsibilities may be performed by state licensed security guard firms in addition to their regular security duties.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to establish the fire watch during building and construction anytime fire safety systems are not working properly. If a proper fire watch is not in place, you will likely be fined or issued a citation by the local Fire Marshal. If you do not comply, the fire department will facilitate a fire watch for you — and bill you for the services.

Key steps the property manager should take to avoid liability.

  1. Notify the fire department when a fire safety system is being installed, not working, and after it was been repaired.
  2. Hire a licensed contractor to install the fire safety systems, to make repairs and to pull the required regional permits.
  3. Contact a state licensed security partner that has experience with fire watches.
  4. Work with your general contractor to be sure your fire watch officers are knowledgeable in all aspects of your jobsite, including:site map, floor plans, building occupants, potential hazards, on-site materials, emergency shutdown procedures, fixed fire alarm systems, and access to portable fire protection gear.

Once the owner or property manager has completed their due diligence in setting up the fire watch, it’s the security company’s job to be sure their officers are on task and accountable using the latest patrolling and reporting technology. In my next blog installment, I’ll layout the tested and proven practices Echelon uses to guarantee a successful fire watch.Build a relationship with a reliable fire watch security services company. Contact Echelon Protection & Surveillance to discuss and advise on your next fire watch. Call 610-831-0277 or email sales@epsagents.com.

In Part 1, we reviewed keeping your construction site well-lit and strategically placing security cameras. Here in Part 2, I will share additional tested and proven tips to improve construction site security during the current building boom.

  1. Keep a daily record of tools and equipment

Documentation is important in tracing who has the equipment and when it was checked-in and checked-out. Also, assign a reliable employee to be responsible for keeping a main inventory of the materials and equipment. For insurance purposes, take photos and list serial numbers of every tool, making it easier to identify in case an item gets lost or stolen.When employees know items are being inventoried each day, they’re less likely to try to walk away with something.

  1. Post highly visible “No Trespassing” signage

Having a “no trespassing” sign may seem outdated, but it’s still an effective deterrent that sends a clear message that only authorized personnel are permitted to enter. My security company posts multiple highly visible signs at each of our construction sites that read: This Site is Patrolled by Echelon Protection & Surveillance. We choose to add our contact information so the public can alert the police if anything looks suspicious.

Based on factors such as the regional crime rate and community access, most construction companies know that security fencing is an important part of risk mitigation and access control. It’s a good idea to limit access by assigning only one entry and exit point. A high 8’ to 12’ fence with locking gates heightens security during overnights when contractors have left for the day.

During working hours a security guard can easily monitor everyone that enters and exits the site. A good strategy is to post a guard that documents each person as they enter. Clients may also provide lists of contractors and materials are to be delivered each day that are checked-off as they arrive. Posting signage also protects against the liability of trespassers accidents on your jobsite.

  1. Schedule delivery of materials

Do not use the construction site as a storage dump. Instead, you should plan ahead and schedule the deliveries in tandem with your security partner. Develop a timetable and determine what materials you will need for the week. When they arrive, they should be documented by a security guard posted at the entrance. Having less building material and tools sitting around on the jobsite means less temptation.

Do not leave the materials and tools lying around. At the end of the day, tell your workers to organize and secure them in the designated storage areas. If you cannot store them on the site, rent a trailer and take it home with you. Park the heavy equipment in well-lit areas facing the street. Add chains to lock them in place, and most importantly, do not leave the keys in the ignition.Organizing your jobsite will not only help manage inventory, but will also lessen the chances of theft. If you want to catch up the previous post, you may refer to Improving Your Construction Site Security (Part 1).

Choose Echelon Protection & Surveillance to secure and protect your construction jobsite from unwanted and illegal activity like loss, theft, fire, vandalism, hazard and costly delays. Call 610-831-0277 or email sales@epsagents.com.


For many contracting businesses, construction equipment vandalism and theft are rampant problem in the industry. It is a major concern because the number of stolen construction equipment and materials amounts to $1 billion each year. The risk is different depending on many regional factors and overall industry losses include costly work delays that also hurt reputations.

Surprisingly, only 25% of stolen construction equipment is reclaimed by local authorities. Construction site theft is a lucrative business for thieves because building tools, materials and machinery are often left out in the open or poorly secured. Moreover, there is no DMV database for construction equipment, materials or tools. Easy access, low security, no records and ready to sell high-value items create the perfect environment for thieves.To reduce the potential threat, we’re providing these tested and proven security tips to follow in order to prevent it on from happening on your construction site.

  1. Light up your site at night.

Did you know that most construction site theft are inside jobs, perpetrated by employees themselves? This is because they’re already familiar with the jobsite layout, work schedule, tools and equipment. Thieves, vandals, and yes, even union activists see unsecured construction sites as opportunities. If a worker knows the layout of the construction site, they know where to go, what they’re looking for and how to slip past less secure areas by taking advantage of blind spots.

If bad actors are not confident that their illegal activity can go undetected, they usually move on to an easier target. The best deterrent for this problem is to keep your site well-lit. If the bad guys know they may be seen by security patrols or nearby properties, they’ll often think twice. A simple idea like lights, make the site more visible from the road and less desirable. A well-lit site also helps security guards and local police patrols keep eyes on your jobsite.

  1. Make surveillance cameras part of your security plan

One of the most effective solutions is a temporary surveillance camera system that is backed-up to the cloud. After strategically placing a few cameras at the construction site, let everybody know that these cameras will be monitor the site 24/7. When buying surveillance cameras, there are a few key things that you should know:

  • You’ll need a power source. There are solar powered cameras, which is a convenient choice if the construction site is located in a remote area. You maynot need power to operate it during the day, but you will need the batteries during overnights. Especially if the site is unattended.
  • Sophisticated surveillance camera models are equipped with additional features such as high definition, infrared, motion sensor, Wi-Fi connectivity and SMS notifications, giving you real-time update to a monitoring facility or right to your smart phone by text alerts.
  • A more affordable option is the installing motion sensor only lights. It uses less power consumption than cameras, but it will still be sensitive to movements. When the motion sensors notice movements on the construction site, a light will turn on to draw attention to that specific area. Some systems include a audio warning, alarm or immediately alert the monitoring or security guard company.
  • Whatever surveillance camera you choose — the placement is equally important. You need to place the lights near the storage trailer, equipment or materials.
  • Remember, it’s not much good if the camera only shows a blurry bad guy in hood after all the damage is done. The main idea is to deter or stop incidents before it happens. More tips to be discussed on Improving Your Construction Site Security (Part 2).

Build a relationship with a reliable and responsive security guard company.

Choose Echelon Protection & Surveillance to secure and protect your construction site from unwanted and illegal activity like theft, hazard, fire, vandalism, loss and costly delays. Call 610-831-0277 or email sales@epsagents.com.

As the number of fully vaccinated Americans increases and the country begins to reopen, the issue of how we stay safe looms large. Many of the original public health concerns still apply as new risks arise. As a top security, protection and surveillance company, we try to anticipate how to assist in securing the industries we serve. While clients like construction site security may decide they do not need vaccine passports, hospitality, education, events and property management clients may determine it makes sense, in order to encourage consumers to return with less anxiety.

The current administration recently stated that although private entities have the right to develop vaccine passport systems, the federal government will not be involved and there will be no federal vaccination credential database. With the current political climate, terms like “passport” should be carefully considered because it naturally brings up fears about personal liberty, forced vaccinations, government overreach and a host of conspiracy theories. As security professionals, Echelon agrees that a laissez faire policy is better for our country in general. However, when clients request any type of common sense Covid compliance enforcement, we’ll provide our best personnel, guidance and support.

At the time of this blog [April 2021] approximately 30% of the country is fully vaccinated and clients are already requesting additional Covid related access control. What was basic enforcement of masking and social distancing compliance,will likely soon add some sort of access control credential check. So, how will the security guard industry play a role in this next step of Covid risk mitigation?

First, remember that systems like hand written cards have been used for decades to prove people have been inoculated against diseases. However,previous cards were on paper and easy to falsify. The most likely solution is an electronic record of vaccination, such as a QR code accessible on your cellphone. An electronic record will need to show which vaccine a person received, what batch, and date of vaccination. Unfortunately, the current system was designed for healthcare professional access, not consumers, so there is no universal way to prove anyone has been vaccinated. However, many governments and organizations around the world are developing and testing digital vaccine credentials in order to bring them to market first.

From a security operations perspective –too many alternate checking systems will cause confusion, making it difficult to access someone’s vaccination status in a real-world access control situation such as an airport, concert or sporting event. Another challenge is that any vaccination status requirement maybe considered discrimination against those who do not have equal access to the shot or those unwilling to get a shot. There also remains doubt about the transmission of the virus after inoculation.

Another industry-wide difficulty is that security guard companies are still recovering from the overwhelming economic impact of the pandemic. As clients cancelled security contracts, firms lost employees who took other jobs, or decided not to return to work until their unemployment and stimulus checks run out. Other security personnel do not want to take the risk of exposing themselves to virus while on duty. Regrettably, some clients assume that security guard companies have guards “sitting on the self”, ready to jump right back in where they left off over a year ago. The reality is that guard inventory will continue to be sporadic as security companies endeavor to meet the growing and immediate need ofold and new clients.

You may be surprised to learn that the United States security guard industry is comprised of over 1.2 million people, but there are no statistics available on how many have died due to Covid-19. However, according to the Office for National Statistics research, security guards in the U.K. (specifically males in this study) have died at one of highest rates of any profession.

It’s interesting to note that even with all the inherent risks, security guard work is still sought after because it remains a steady industry and a good road to a decent paycheck. No matter what the national climate –businesses depend on security guards to stop, deter and deescalate unwanted or illegal activity. Although public security and private protection is typically underappreciated,the pandemic and civil unrest have highlighted the essential role security guards play in the hierarchy of public safety and law enforcement support.

Security guard work isn’t easy, although It’s sometimes tedious with shifts on nights and weekends and assignments that are subject to change weekly. The best guards are flexible, reliable, alert, follow directives and practice good common sense.According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, security professionals often work without benefits at an hourly rate of $12.00 -$15.00. In 2019, security guards earned a median $29,680 annual wage with some positions offering health benefits and higher hourly rates from $15.00 to $25.00 for specially certified guards. In short, the security and protection industry is experiencing a hiring boom that has created over a hundred-thousand jobs over the last year, with the largest security companies leading the way.

The hiring frenzy is fueled by big businesses and national chains that don’t want their own untrained employees confronting customers about mask-wearing and social distancing. As clashes between personnel and patrons became common place, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, requested that businesses institute safety measures, including hiring contracted guards to implement compliance control. During the pandemic, security guards have been requested to act as per say public health officers law enforcement, often without having the experience or actual authority to do either.

For liability reasons, guard training and protocols often focuson what not to do, including no physical contact unless it’s self-defense. The most buttoned-up security companies train their guards in public safety andthe management of aggressive behavior, but many less professional security companies don’t. The best strategy to limit everyone’s liability is to develop clear directives for guards to enforce the client’s policies and call local police as backup as needed. When you consider all these on-the-job security challenges and add in extended unemployment and stimulus checks, it’s no wonder security companies continue to struggle with recruitment and industry turnover is so high.

Before the pandemic, a security officer’s main duties included, front desk posts, property patrols, directing deliveries, preventing vandalism, and deterring loss prevention.During a pandemic,a security presence is badly needed in retail, construction, property management and other industries for compliance of public health regulations such as wearing a mask and social distancing.

While there have been no national numberson instances of security officers attempting to enforce pandemic protocols, there have been many documented accounts of violent and deadly encounters with anti-maskers, Covid hoaxers, and virus-related conspiracy theorists. Unfortunately, many security guards find themselves at the center of a culture war where they risk infection, plus violent extremism. To help mitigate these additional risks, states like Pennsylvania have introduced legislation making it a felony to assault any employee tasked with Covid compliance enforcement.

With all that security officers must worry about and navigate every day, it’s time to give them more respect, a living wage, and a little compassion when you encounter them in public. Remember, they’re on duty to at the business owner’s request to keep their customers and property safe and secure.

As a security guard company grows, it often expands its footprint. In our case, that means being licensed in four states and having reliable strategic partners in several others, in order to serve our security partners. With dozens of security locations running at the same time, our Scheduling and Operations platforms empower Echelon to accomplish what used to be impossible — to be everywhere at once. We know exactly what each of our security guards is doing whenever they’re on duty. Our guards know they’re accountable for their time and our clients have confirmation that they’re getting what they paid for. Here’s a brief rundown of what platforms we use and how they benefit all stakeholders.

Our scheduling platform keeps everyone informed

Echelon’s uses a security guard scheduling platform called Humanity that let’s our employees know what shifts are available, where they need to be, what time and when, all in real-time. The platform helps guards stay on point by sending automatic alerts and reminders about their shifts. On the backend, it helps our office staff advise guards of any shift changes or new information while also allowing them to review shift hours. The platform is loaded as an app on the guard’s cell phone, or any device they choose and the entire staff can access it anytime, anywhere.

Geofencing keeps security guards honest

Our security officer scheduling platform also comes equipped with Geofence technology which allows us to specify a virtual boundary on a map using GPS. It’s basically an invisible fence that allows security companies to monitor the check-in and check-out of their security guards at jobsite locations. When a guard enters the geofence zone for their shift, the app sends an automatic report which documents the time spent in that location. If the guard leaves the jobsite during his shift, our Operations and Scheduling staff gets a GPS notification of the guard’s location.

Echelon uses Geofence for clients like construction sites, property management, institutions and other industries, which require shift confirmation. It’s an easy solution that allows us to document and file reports that are useful when issues or inquiries arise. The technology is affordable, user-friendly and doesn’t require complex setup or training.

Time cards provides shift records

In addition, our Humanity platform supplies a time card feature that can be crossed referenced to the Geofence reporting to make certain the guard who was scheduled showed up for his shift on time and at the right location. The time card feature confirms shift hours and the data is used to evaluate guard performance and double-check payroll numbers internally and externally.

Officer reports keeps guards on task

Echelon also utilizes an Operations platform called Officer Reports, which lets guards easily document their foot or vehicle patrols in real time. When we develop security directives with our clients, it includes specific posts or patrol schedules. Once the guard’s security protocols are finalized, Echelon can attach QR Code Tags at each check point of a guard’s tour. A QR code is a readable time-stamped optical label that informs us when the officer has performed his rounds as instructed. The guards simply scan the QR Code Tags with their cell phone as they make their rounds and the report is automatically sent to Operations for review. The guard also has the ability to take notes and photograph anything out of the ordinary; such as mechanical issues, jobsite hazards or unwanted activity.

Supervisor site visits build rapport with guards

Although our Operations and Scheduling platforms are nearly fool-proof in terms of verifying check-ins, reviewing hours, and confirming guard patrol duties — nothing beats an old school supervisor site visit. If something doesn’t look quite right on a report, or the client has any concerns, we send a Supervisor to the location to assess the situation. A site visit may be in the middle of the night, scheduled on-site, or a surprise. It’s not always to solve problems; sometimes we just observe them for a while or offer them a 15-minute coffee break. Once a Supervisor has firsthand knowledge, they can either mitigate the problem immediately or discuss the challenge with our team to determine the best solution. When you consider all the built-in redundancies in our process, platforms and people, we can actually supervise and manage all our security locations at once.

Clients sometimes ask why our hourly security guard rate is higher than industry competitors. The short answer is: we pay our security guards more because you get what you pay for. Behind the scenes, providing professional security services requires around the clock management of a full-service infrastructure. Operations works closely with accounting so every expense and guard hour are accounted for, so our clients know exactly what they’re paying for. To that end, we’d like to present a look at the unseen costs behind providing the best in professional security guard services.

Licensing Costs

To conduct business as a security guard company, you must be licensed as a Private Detective by the County, plus have a separate Business License authorized by the Township. To obtain a license, you must have a minimum of 5 years criminal justice or law enforcement experience. The application and licensing feesa re a few hundred dollars each and must be renewed every few years. Without these licenses, you cannot employ security guards or open satellite offices. Technically, security guard employees work under the business owner’s license to operate.

Insurance & Bonding Costs

Due to the inherent risks involved in security guard services, our biggest single expense is General Liability and Worker’s Compensation insurance coverage. Our insurance premium rates are examined annually and paid monthly based on our full-time payroll. Our insurance costs alone run about six figures annually and are subject to rise if law suits are filed. With clients like construction site watches, school security, warehouse patrols, and retail establishment posts, security companies are occasionally named in law suits that have nothing to do with our performance or services.

Healthcare Costs

Federal law requires that security firms offer healthcare to all full-time employees. In our case, only about 10% of our employees participate in the plan. We offer vision and dental plans that basically split the cost of healthcare with our employees. We promote our healthcare as part of our benefits package, which includes paid time off and national holidays. This expense is always changing based on the political climate and tends to climb each year.

Recruiting Costs

Our security guard hiring process uses new technology, combined with old school recruiting expertise. Posting on multiple job boards comes with a monthly fee, but creates a steady flow of hundreds of resumes each month that are carefully reviewed by our salaried HR Director and support team. Our video interview platform also comes at a monthly cost and facilitates a more streamlined approach to face-to-face interviews. Even when the pandemic is over, we’ll continue paying for the video platform because it has enhanced efficiency. Each candidate is thoroughly vetted, including State and Federal background check certifications paid for by our company after a brief guard probationary period.

Training Costs

Once a guard is hired, they’re trained by our experienced in-house Operations, Security and Human Resource team. The curriculum includes, classroom learning, instructional videos purchased from prominent national security organizations, proprietary materials, reporting and shift scheduling technology instruction, general orientation,plus on the job management and supervision. All staff and materials are not billable. Specialized training, such as SORA, NASRO or ACT 235 Armed, is paid for by the officers, since they retain the certificate. Add in the cost of branded uniforms, radios, officer reporting software, and the expenses for guard training are substantial.

Operations & Supervisor Costs

In order for guards to perform well, they need the proper training, direction, technology, discipline and motivation. This management is made possible by our full-time supervisors. Supervisors make the initial job site visit, develop security assessments, write security directives for the guards to follow, review shift check-in/check-out times, oversee job training, respond to guard questions, fix problems and make surprise location inspections.

Finance Costs

Every hour a guard works is accounted for by our Finance department with support and confirmation of hours from our full-time Operations and Scheduling staff. Like nearly every business with a large number of employees, we retain the services of a national payroll company to be sure our people are paid correctly. Since Scheduling is a 24/7 task, we maintain a staff of 3-4 schedulers at all times.

The Value of Peace of Mind

We all know how frustrating it is to have a question or complaint and not be able to get a real person on the line to resolve it in a timely manner. When you hire Echelon, you’re not just paying for security guards – you’re paying for the value of an experienced security solutions team that understands business and respects our clientele.

When we peek behind the curtain and add up all the unbillable expenses, it’s easier to understand the actual cost of providing truly reliable and effective security guard solutions. In an effort to be transparent, Echelon often takes the time to outline these unseen costs to our clients. In this way, they understand the benefit of paying a little more for the peace of mind that comes from working with a true security partner.

In the U.S., construction site crimes are quite common. However, not many contractors and builders implement strict security measures. A construction site should be protected from any form of vandalism, theft, and anything that can delay the business operations.

As a general rule, in order to avoid trespassers and thieves, there are security measures that you should enforce. Here are some safety tips to follow on site:

  • First, you have to secure the perimeter and enclose your construction site. Build a security fence along your property of business.
  • Next, there should be enough lighting especially at night. Provide lighting to specific areas of the construction site.
  • Do not just allow anyone to enter (and exit) the premises. There should be limited access to the construction site. If you can, install lockable gates to certain areas allocated for storage.
  • Speaking of lockable gates, invest on high quality locks so that trespassers cannot easily tamper with the locks. Additionally, never leave keys anywhere. Never keep the locks open at all times. It is very counterproductive if you install high quality locks, and then, you just leave the gates open for everyone to enter.
  • Clear the area near your security fence, and place warning signs to refrain unauthorized persons from entering the construction site.
  • After a long day, inspect the construction site before locking the gates to make sure nothing has been tampered or stolen.
  • Limit the vehicle access to the construction site, and if they need to, visitors should park outside the site. Allocate certain areas for visitors and other guests to park, and they should only enter through a designated entrance.
  • If the scope of the site is too big, you might want to hire security guards to ensure the safety of the location. These guards can patrol the construction. Additionally, you should be able to coordinate with them using a communication device.
  • Have a CCTV monitoring system installed in order to capture every visitor or guest entering the premises. Everyone, entering and exiting the construction site, should be monitored.

A Construction Site Security Plan to Help You Save Money

The price of lost materials or damaged equipment can have a huge impact on your business. Delays, due to vandalism and theft, would mean work delays. This will hamper the operations of your business, and it will lead to the damage of your brand’s image.

Bigger companies can implement a forceful construction site security protocols because they have the budget. However, small contractors, more often than not, neglect these security measures. This is where we can help you!

At Echelon, we will let you choose from a variety of construction site security options. We can even customize your security protocols depending on your allocated budgetary demands and changing needs. To inquire for a quote, you can call us at 1-610-831-0277 or email us at sales@epsagents.com.  Visit the Echelon Protection & Surveillance website for more information.

When you own a business, the first thing you need is, of course, to protect it. Knowing how to protect your business, along with your employees and equipment, can ensure that your business will grow. Hence, it is necessary to take construction security very seriously.

Yes, there would be risks involved. After all, each construction site will have its own problems. However, I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that there are some practices that can lessen construction site hazards.

General Safety Measures for a Construction Site

Below, I have listed a number of tips to implement a better construction security. This way, you can plan better, and eventually, develop a construction security plan that perfectly fits your specific business:

  • Start with writing a security policy for the construction site. Make sure to put it on paper and everyone involved has a copy.
  • As I have said early, each construction site will encounter specific risks. You have to identify these unique threats in order to formulate an effective construction site security plan.
  • In any business, there should be a hierarchy to follow. You should assign certain people to supervise the site. Appoint someone reliable for the organizational security responsibilities.
  • Just because you have assigned an administrative security personnel, it does not mean that other employees will not do their part. There should be security awareness from the top to the bottom.
  • Coordinate with the local police and fire departments before starting a construction. Moreover, get in touch with the businesses located in your property. Inform them to report if they noticed anything suspicious on the construction site.
  • Encourage all your workers to report theft and vandalism immediately, and they have to report all the losses to the police.
  • Lastly, you should always keep a log of all security records. Whether minor or major incidents, there should be a record of it.

Need Help with Your Security Plan?

At Echelon, we provide solutions to your problems. Echelon Protection & Surveillance is dedicated to secure your business. We understand that each business is unique so we will formulate a specific construction security plan that fits your needs.

Echelon Protection & Surveillance can guarantee highly-trained guards because we are members of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Building Owners & Managers Association, and many more.

Before implementing a security plan, Echelon Protection & Surveillance will conduct an on-site inspection of the site. A preliminary site evaluation is a crucial step for us to develop a comprehensive and robust security plan.

Once we have identified the key points, we can discuss with you a detailed security plan based on our initial observation. If you want a price quote, please do not hesitate to call 1-610-831-0277 or email us at sales@epsagents.com. You can also get in touch using the contact form on our website.

The minimum wage dispute goes back to the 1938 New Deal legislation that established the first minimum wage, and the endless fight over the government’s economic role in regulated capitalism and corporate influence over public wellbeing. Today, workers making minimum wage earn less per hour than their counterparts did half a century ago, while CEO’s average 320 times as much over the same period of time. You don’t have to be an economist to know that’s not right.

An apolitical look at decades of evidence shows raising the minimum wage is essential to the economic wellbeing of tens of millions of Americans, and even worst-case studies suggest a net neutral effect. The bottom line is that raising the U.S. minimum wage is not a magic bullet or a recipe for economic collapse, but it will help solve some serious issues for Americans of all parties. In short, Echelon decided to ignore political ideologies– and raise our employee starting rate to $15.00 per hour. Here’s how we did it and what we learned.

Watch the Market

Over the past several years, Echelon struggled more than ever to hire security guards. In many industries, hourly workers will jump jobs for less than a dollar per hour increase. We noticed that big brands like Walmart, Costco, Starbucks, Target, Best Buy and Wayfair had raised their hourly wages to $15.00 and knew that if we wanted to remain competitive in our recruiting, we had to pay our guards more. In addition, promoting our new starting rate on job boards help lift our resume responses.

Pay Attention to Retention

We noticed that our guards, on the lower end of the pay scale $10.00 – $12.00, were less reliable and generally unmotivated. They worked a full week, often overnights and weekends, and still weren’t making ends meet. When we raised our starting rate to $15.00, it created greater loyalty because guards valued their job more. They also knew our rate was higher than most other security companies, which created better retention.

Merit Based Advancement Policy

Creating a $15.00 starting rate put us ahead of the minimum wage curve. However, we were concerned that existing guards may be upset that they had seniority, but were being paid the same as new hires. As a result, we changed our internal policy to explain that pay raises are merit based, not time based. This meant all guards start at $15.00 and if you perform well, you’re eligible for a raise after a year. Of course, guards who obtained special certifications could be paid more.

A Few Dollars More

The current pandemic upended the entire economy and changed all the status quo in many industries. We turned this negative into a positive by reassessing every aspect of our operations. This ultimately led to raising our client rates. Now, it cost us more to recruit, pay and insure guards and we let our clients know this translated to a higher quality security services. During times of great uncertainty, civil unrest, elevated stress and record unemployment – people need security services. We decided that clients that can’t pay a few dollars more for better service are not a good fit for us anymore. The outcome was that no clients left due to the rate increase and all were more satisfied overall.

Research Studies Support our Decision

The latest research on the effects of raising the minimum wage by leading experts in the United States and Brittan in 2019 found that even if some workers lose jobs, those costs are greatly surpassed by increased wages for those who keep their jobs. If employment does fall, it’s by less than wages rise by, and benefits low-wage workers. The real danger to lower-wage hourly workers is the technology that will ultimately replace them… but that’s another blog.

Recent national economic studies show only about 5% of the American workforce currently earn less than $9.00 per hour. Consider that states like New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, DC, Maryland and Illinois are all steadily increasing their minimum mages to $15 an hour, while pastoral lower-wage states like Maine, Missouri and Arkansas are slowly increasing their minimum wage to $11.00 or $12.00 per hour.

This wage data disproves the old talking point that “raising the minimum wage will hurt small and midsize businesses” because the increase is neither too much or too fast. The current Raise the Wage Act lays out a plan to slowly build wages to $15.00 by 2025. The Act will lift pay for almost 21% of the U.S. workforce and be the first federal minimum wage increase in over ten years.

In addition, states without a $15.00 minimum wage, pay more for public support programs for underpaid workers and their families. Social welfare programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, cost federal and state taxpayers over $107 billion a year. That’s why more and more industry organizations representing thousands of small businesses support a $15 minimum wage.

Studies based on decades of research also show that there is no correlation between tax cuts and deregulation benefiting low and medium-income earners. Who wants a “trickle” anyway? Smart companies realize that a successful hiring strategy includes finding and keeping good people, because better employee retention means less turnover, satisfied customers, and more focus on growing your business.

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