Feeling safe and secure is of paramount importance for everyone, but this is perhaps especially true for the vulnerable. Whether in a private residence or adapted environment such as a care home, nursery, hospice, or space for those working with disabilities, safety and security should be a primary concern.
Below, we list six steps that you can take to help ensure safety and security for those who may need more assistance.
Step 1: Install Reliable Fire Alarm Systems
Fire alarm systems that are robust, reliable, and noticeable in a variety of ways (i.e. not just audible, but also visible with warning lights) are an essential aspect of safety on a premises.
Not only should your fire system be appropriate for the premises — covering all necessary areas and connecting to the relevant authorities — but it should also be accompanied by other safety features such as warning signs, fire doors, and safety leaflets.
Consult a professional on the best fire system to suit you, your building, and your circumstances, undertake regular drills, and ensure that your evacuation routes are always clear and accessible.
This is important for all personnel, but is imperative for those who may be unable to evacuate unaided.
Step 2: Add Warnings & Safety Signs To Key Areas
It is important to ensure that everyone on the premises is well-informed about safety. But for some, important details and areas can be difficult to notice or remember.
In such cases, high visibility warnings and safety signs can be important. Ensure that these are in a variety of colours and textures, while paying particular attention to the size and clarity of the font. For those with reading difficulties or sight impairments, seek professional advice and keep things as large and clear as possible.
Marking areas as secure access, hazardous, or off-limits can help everyone to remain safe, secure, and under close observation. This is true also for children and visitors — not only vulnerable residents.
Step 3: Use Secure Access
If you are housing or working with vulnerable people, it can be important to consider using secure access. This means knowing who is on the premises at all times, and ensuring that it is only authorised individuals - never trespassers.
Knowing who is on-site does not simply refer to trespassers and would-be thieves. It is also a vital part of fire safety to know the number of people on-site at any one time, so they can be accounted for following an evacuation.
Consider using a secure access gate or one that requires ID cards, and ensure that there are regular checkpoints; this will keep everyone on the site safe, as well as protect against other hazards such as theft.
Step 4: Define Off-Limits Areas
It is important to define certain spaces as off-limits to guests or visitors, and hazardous areas as off-limits to anyone without the relevant safety equipment or training.
This is especially vital in areas of the site that use heavy machinery, chemicals, or are under construction, for example.
The vast majority of people who are in off-limits areas had no intention to be there. The boundaries were undefined, and they would have instantly turned back had they realised.
Avoid this problem developing and create a safer and more secure experience for all by politely and clearly defining which areas are off-limits and which are available. This way, everyone is clear on what is expected of them, and mistakes will be minimal.
Step 5: Consider CCTV
CCTV is a powerful tool in security — for both deterring criminals and carrying out any necessary investigations. But it is also a valuable safety tool, especially when protecting vulnerable people.
CCTV that is sensitively placed and publicly acknowledged means that everyone can feel safe and seen. This is especially important in the event of an accident or emergency, when anyone ill or injured can be found and helped quickly.
Ensure that everyone knows exactly where the CCTV is, so that their privacy is maintained but everything necessary is still visible and protected.
Step 6: Ask For Suggestions
It is important to foster an atmosphere of collaboration, support, and communication with your team – and especially with those who are vulnerable. They will wish to maintain as much of their independence and autonomy as possible, so make every effort to involve them in the discussion around their safety and security.
Consult carers and family members on what would also give them greater peace of mind, and try to regularly implement updates, suggestions, and improvements.