Security Officers and Ebola
Security officers in many organizations are often the first to respond to security or medical incidents, providing first aid in many cases. As we know security officers can be found working in malls or shopping centers, places of worship, schools, hospitals, airports, recreation centers, hotels, and many other places.
Due to the nature of their jobs, and what they often encounter while working, security officers are often exposed to persons that have medical conditions not readily identifiable. Take for example those security officers in medical centers that if they do not practice proper hand washing during their shift, they will likely be exposed to a number of different viruses or diseases. As an example, in years past we have seen entire security departments come down with serious respiratory illnesses and the flu that was passed from one officer to another.
Ebola is fast becoming a global concern, and with the recent case where a healthcare worker that was exposed to Ebola in Texas, and then traveled on a commercial flight from Ohio to Texas, we may soon see a significant spike in Ebola cases.
Regardless of what industry you work in as a security officer, it should be becoming clear that you need to know what to do, and how to respond to this potential crisis.
Employers Response to Ebola
We have already seen several cases where schools in Ohio have closed due to the fact that the school staff members were on the same flight from Cleveland to Texas that the nurse was on that tested positive for Ebola. Other places in Ohio have asked anyone that may have been exposed to not come to their campus as well. However, insuring that that does not happen is not a sure thing.
So what should businesses and schools do? First, they need to fully understand the potential risks and learn how to identify a potential carrier of Ebola. Unfortunately in the Ohio case they learned that their staff was exposed after the fact, and after those staff members were already back to work.
Second they need to insure that staff, such as security officers, have the proper training to know what they are supposed to do per their employers instructions. Without a solid plan in place, and properly trained staff, an employer cannot be certain how the security officer or staff person will respond. This is certainly one of those cases where you want them responding in a prescribed manner.
And finally, once you know your threat level and have implemented a plan and trained staff, you will want to continuously monitor your business or school to insure that it remains safe. With the fast developing conditions and updates from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that seem to be coming out several times each day, you need to be updating your plan and training based on recommendations from the government and/or CDC.
Although Ebola is not yet a widespread disease across the United States, it is a highly contagious disease that employees, faculty, and security officers may come in contact with at work. It can be deadly and at this time there is no vaccine. However, the CDC has issued emergency protocols and steps that we can take in order to minimize our risks and insure the best outcome should anyone come in contact with a person who may have the virus.
Security Expert Interview on Ebola
Securitysource.com recently interviewed healthcare security expert security expert John M. White, CPP, CHPA for an article titled, Hospital Security Departments Bracing for Ebola Impact.