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  • John Hardiman

COVID-19: 5 Tips to keep your business safe and secure

With another lockdown at our door (in Auckland at least), it’s time to check in again to make sure your business is on track to manage the special risks that come about during lockdowns.

Each business is different but there’s one universal truth – as a business owner/manager, you have to do everything that’s reasonable to protect your staff and property in these challenging times.

Here are 5 tips to help ensure your business is protected during lockdowns:

Put someone in charge or take ownership yourself

Here’s an easy one that’s often overlooked. Everyone at your business should be very clear on who is in charge of managing the logistics during lockdown.

If Bill is in charge of security and Sandy is in charge of the office, does anyone really know who’s checking the fire protection is working properly? Things can quickly fall through the cracks, especially when lockdowns are often announced mere hours before they come into force.

Talk to your neighbours

It’s pretty common for Kiwi businesses to operate in commercial areas where there are other companies next door or nearby. Make use of this where possible. Lots of businesses need to remain open during lockdown, so get your neighbours to look out for each other. Tell your neighbours if you plan to be closed for the coming period and to call you if they see anything suspicious. They will be able to spot something out of place better than anyone, so take advantage wherever possible.

Check your physical security

Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well yes, but lockdowns mean a break in routine so basic things can easily be overlooked. If you’re expecting to close your premises for an extended period, consider taking additional steps in your security. Examples include: - Add an extra padlock (preferably closed-shackle) to key external entrances / access points - Lock all windows irrespective of what floor they’re on, wherever possible. Burglars often take advantage of less obvious entry points when breaking into a building - Conduct a sweep of all fencing and external barriers for damage or access breaches - Check all CCTV links are working and recording appropriately - Test any alarms installed to ensure they’re working appropriately, including reed switches, PIR sensors and electronic locks - Utilise any chains or bollards that can be installed – often these are left lying in the corner of the premises unused – now is the time to dust them off and get them installed

Contact your fire and security monitoring company

It’s always best practice to let them know your circumstances might be changing for a while – particularly if you have a guard-response arrangement. The possibility of unnecessary callouts during the day increases as there may not be anyone present to manage the situation. These can be expensive, so check that the current arrangement is the best fit for your business. Conversely, the guards responding should be made aware what to expect if indeed there is a valid callout made.

Fire Protection System Check

It’s best practice to have your fire protection systems checked annually at a minimum, irrespective of lockdowns. You can check this has been completed easily if you aren’t sure – all fire hoses and extinguishers should have a sticker showing the latest date it was checked by a professional. If it’s been more than a year, get them checked as soon as possible, depending on servicing availability during lockdown.

Likewise, for any heat/smoke detection or sprinkler protection systems, these should be regularly tested and checked by a qualified professional. Contact the manufacturer or installer for advice if you’re not sure how to check your particular system. If you have a sprinkler system in your premises but have no idea if it’s on or works properly (this is quite common), it’s highly recommended that a sprinkler engineer comes and assesses the situation. Old systems can fail, leading to burst pipes or worse, inaction in the event of an actual fire. If you lease the premises, ask your landlord for information.

The Insurely team are here to help. Insurely are fully independent commercial insurance brokers that tailor insurance programmes to your exact needs. Get in touch with us via our website, LinkedIn or Facebook

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