Well, as you might know Hurricane Season started June 1st 2015 and runs to December, 2015. The Hampton Roads area usually experiences storms during the months of September and October if we get one.

Just prior to and at the beginning of the season we hear the Local, State and Federal government emergency management agencies telling everyone to prepare themselves should a storm impact out area. To encourage everyone to prepare; Virginia has established a weekend you can purchase emergency preparedness supplies and other items and it is tax free.

In a previous article I wrote Water, Water I asked the question “Are You Ready?” That article was about hurricanes and tornadoes and you as a security officer being ready. In another article America, I wrote about preparing for today’s terrorist threats. You can see the common theme; prepare, prepare and prepare some more.

As a security officer preparedness should be something you should know and do all the time. It should be a subject you know as much as your assigned site/post. Just as you know your “Post Orders,” “SOPs,” and site emergency plans.

But what about YOU? Yes, YOU. However you want to say it I am referring to preparing yourself to go work your shift. Do you prepare the uniform you will wearing when you report for duty? Do you plan on wearing low quarter shoes or high top boots? If you are working an armed site, do you plan to take your weapon, is it clean, is it loaded?

Confused? Well let me give you an example to maybe help me to get my point over and you to understand the point of this entire article. I will use myself in the example which is a recent assignment I took.

I want to give you just a little information about myself to establish a backdrop to clearly get the message. I am what is sometimes called a “prepper” (sometimes called a nut case). I read all the survial books and maganizes. I am a fan of TV shows such a “Doomsday Prepper” and my favorite, “The Walking Dead.” I have alternate power, water and communications to my home should the infrastructure go down. My wife refuses to ride with me in my truck, which I have converted into my “BOV” (bug out vehicle). Well I think you get the picture . I am as prepared for anything that may come a long. But am I?

With my work schedule I am normally off duty Saturdays and Sundays. I had told my account manager that if he ran into a bind and needed an armed officer to fill in on some site to call me. Well he took me up on that this past Saturday. My account manager called me that afternoon and said that he was in a jam and asked me if I could work a site that day from 1500 to 2000. I told him yes and immediately drove home and got dressed in my work uniform and proceeded to the site. I was assigned the Norfolk Transit Transfer Station. I had not only never worked that site… I never knew it existed.

I arrived early enough to be given a very good briefing on the security tour area, location and use of the Guard Trax (a electronic post accountability system). He also showed me the “beat” to walk. He turned over the Guard Trax device, cell phone, keys to the officer/bus driver, and all the paper work.

I was now on my post and very quickly realized the temperature was around 97°F and a heat index in the triple figures. I walked the almost two block post, all of which was in the open sun and mostly walking in very dry, some times unpaved, bone dry power liked ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­dirt.

On returning from my first patrol, I was soaking wet with sweat, dust covering my uniform from my knees to the bottoms of my boots. I was so thirsty, I went to my truck and realized I had not brought anything to drink… no water! I messed up, I never even thought about needing water or other means of hydration. My uniform felt like I had been in it for a week. I didn’t bring any fruit, protein bar, nothing. This was only a four hour tour downtown, piece of cake. I looked at my watch and I had only been there fifty minutes.

Time to make my next tour of the site. As I walked down through the bus stops, I passed the closed doors of one of the buses when suddenly it opened and a lady driver behind the wheel said “Hi, it’s a real hot one today. Why don’t  you step up in the doorway and get some of this air condition?” I did not hesitate right in I went. Wow! This is great, I said think you so much, I needed it! The short, stocky female driver sitting in the bus seat, hardly able to touch the peddles said “Man are you red in your face!”

She then asked me if I had any water. Here I am the “prepper”… ready, equipped, stocked, supplied to meet “The end of the world as we know it” (TEOTWAWKI) and I have to tell this nice, sweet, gracious, little lady bus driver “No I don’t have any water,  I did not bring any”. Then to add insult to injury but bless her, she reached into a bag hanging behind her seat and pulled out two bottles of water and gave them to me. I thanked her, stepped of her bus an completed my route, returning and downing the two bottles of water.

Before my next round the QAO drove up and asked if I had any water. I said know and he, left returning with two cold bottles of water. This really hit the spot and I got through the shift. I was very appreciative of the QAO for making his rounds to me. Knowing it was hot out that day, I couldn’t have been the only one in need of water. The Top Guard team payed attention to the weather conditions and helped the officers.

Ok,  what did I (the one prepared for anything)  learn from this ?

  • Don’t worry about the small stuff, it is the big stuff that counts… WRONG!
  • It is the little thing that get you in trouble very quickly
  • Remember that dynamite comes in small packages
  • It all matters…. be prepared for large as well as small things
  • Always expect the unexpected
  • Your situation can change in matter of seconds
  • Know where you are going, when, how long you will be there, what are your surrounding, what factors can impact your stay there (heat, cold, allergies, physical efforts, equipment needs)
  • Remember Murphy’s Law – “If anything can go wrong , it will”
  • No assignment is to small to plan for
  • Do your planning ahead of time
  • What went right?
  • What went wrong?
  • Was my basic plan flexible enough to meet the needs of the assignment?
  • Am I capable of dealing with the unknowns?

Well, this may appear to be a lot of talking to get to the bottom line and that is, always be prepared to meet and sustain your self no matter what the assignment is or how long it is. Remember you are the security officer, large and incharge. Keep this in mind – It is better to have it and not need it then need it and not have it.

I learned two things during this very short, four hour assignment.

  • Don’t forget the small stuff; it can cause some big problems.
  • Among all the discontent, hate, troubles, and mankind at its worst, there are flickering lights of hope, kindness, goodness, and the little bright stars that come out no matter what. Some even in the form of a bus driver and a QAO.

Ken Murphy

Security Officer, Top Guard Security Services