Disaster aftermath – Security is an issue

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all in the Canterbury region trying to deal with the aftermath of the recent devastating earthquake. A trying time for all with this event impacting the entire nation.

Events such as this generally bring people together with a common goal of assistance and mutual support. Unfortunately though, for the criminal element amongst us it creates the ideal opportunity to do what they do…rip you off. I cannot fathom and get my head around how anyone can stoop so low as to take advantage of distressing situations such as this adding to the worry and concern by stealing from those in such circumstances.

However…there are those within our society who require more support than others…not only in disaster recovery but certainly in the area of basic safety and security. They are those with special needs.

Those with special needs are with out a doubt our most vulnerable citizens who require more support and assistance than those who are non-diasbaled…particularly in situations such as disaster recovery.

The recent burglary of a school in Christchurch that supports our special needs children is absolutely appalling. It is sickening to think that there are those amongst us who will take the opportunity to commit such an act. Having first hand experience with the disability sector I fully understand the struggle that these organisations have in trying to secure good resources to support the learning for our children with special needs.

Security of assets becomes a vital concern for us all after a situation such as this. There are a number of factors that increase risk during these times:

– Emergency services are stretched – especially the Police.
– The integrity and physical security of buildings is reduced or negated.
– Security company resources are limited.
– Security hardware such as alarms, cameras and access control systems are degraded.
– Situations such as this create desperation.

My suggestion to all as part of your emergency planning process is to discuss your specific security concerns with a licensed security company. Find out what they can do for you in terms of physical security for your property after events such as this. However, it must be realised that they too can have issues in getting security staff to your site under these conditions.

Having things in place before an event occurs certainly reduces risk.

I am currently in discussions with Philip Patston from DiversityNZ with the view of running a free workshop for the disabled focusing on disaster planning and the unique considerations they have, not only in surviving a disaster but certainly what needs to be considered after the event…security will be on the agenda. I will keep you updated on progress.

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