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How to protect your hospitality business against terror attacks

By Danny Schofield

- Last updated on GMT

Check all exit and entry points for your business as part of your security review. Photo: Thinkstock.
Check all exit and entry points for your business as part of your security review. Photo: Thinkstock.

Related tags: Business

Danny Schofield of Expert Security UK talks through the steps hospitality businesses can take to protect themselves against potential attacks from terrorists.

Guest safety and enjoyment are both top concerns for hospitality businesses, but with the UK terror threat level being elevated to ‘Severe’ in August 2014, we all need to be extra vigilant.

Hotels and restaurants, particularly those located in major city centres, are often considered to be potential targets for attacks by extremist groups, from physical attacks to threats and hoaxes.  

But there is plenty that hoteliers and restaurant owners can do to keep their premises, their staff and their customers safe at all times.

Read these top five tips on what you can do to defend your business:

1. Review what you already have​ 

As a business in the hospitality sector, it’s unlikely that you’ve given much thought to terror-proofing your business. But as we’ve outlined above, it’s essential that everyone is alert and prepared for every eventuality. 

Before we actually get to the task of defending your business, it’s important to take stock of what you already have in place at your premises. Start by checking if all entrances and exits are safe and secure. Who can access them? What security measures do you already have in place? Are they in good condition?

It’s essential that you explore all these questions before making any huge changes to your business or the building you work in. You could already be better prepared than you first thought.

2. Conduct a risk assessment​ 

Once you know what systems you have in place, it’s time to take an in-depth look at which areas could be the weakest. 

There are two parts to conducting an anti-terror risk assessment…

a) Identify the threats​ 

  • Determine which parts of your business could be most at threat
  • Could any of your clients or partners be potentially targeted?
  • Are you in a particularly vulnerable location, or have any of your locations experienced similar incidents recently? 

b) Determine which parts of your business need the most protection​ 

The most important parts of your business should receive the most attention. 

  • People, such as clients, staff, customers and those in nearby businesses. This is a top priority for those in the hospitality industry
  • Premises, including equipment, contents and machinery
  • Data, such as company finances, payroll, technology 

Having a well-rounded view of your business, as well as knowing your top priorities for protection, gives you a better chance of keeping your premises and people firmly protected. 

3. Get expert help where needed​ 

For any industry, the thought of preparing for the possibility of a terrorist attack may seem daunting but, just like everything else we want to prevent, the best strategy is to have solid plans in place. 

Once you have conducted a thorough risk assessment of your business and identified where any potential weak spots might be, i.e. an easy-to-access back exit for example, you will know where to focus your strengthening efforts. Calling on the security experts can help prevent any confusion, and will ensure that your security overhaul is managed well. 

4. Good housekeeping​ 

Regular maintenance of your property can go a long way. This includes ensuring good lighting throughout all hotel corridors, keeping restaurant walkways clear, and ensuring all fire exits are easy to access. In an emergency situation, being able to get to somewhere safe is crucial; every second counts. 

Why not incorporate weekly checks into your employees’ rotas? Giving different departments responsibilities allows the workload to be shared, bring the team together and helps to keep everyone safe and secure. 

5. Regularly review and rehearse​ 

It’s not enough to just have plans in place. Over the months and years your business will change; staff will leave and new ones will arrive, new health and safety laws may be introduced, building work can cause layouts to change, and communication systems may be updated. Because of this it is essential that you conduct regular checks and reviews into the measures that you have in place. 

At all times your plans should be up-to-date, accurate and completely actionable in case of an emergency. Make sure your staff are aware of any changes made and know exactly what to do, which leads on nicely to the final point. Be sure to conduct regular rehearsals of all safety procedures! Not only should these be done on a frequent basis for new members of staff, but also to refresh the procedures in place for those who may have forgotten. This includes who to contact in the event of an emergency, and any evacuation measures that you have implemented. 

This article was written by Expert Security UK. 

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