If you own a bar or club in South Florida, you know the importance of a good security plan. Your security plans enable your establishment to be a safe place where people can have a good time. If you don’t have a good security plan in place, there are a few guidelines you should follow. Many bar and club owners don’t know how to develop a security plan that works. Your establishment’s reputation relies on your security plan. As the owner of a bar or club, you will be faced with challenging situations such as intoxication, age verification practices and enforcing your policies. There are other issues such as employees, physical assaults and hiring security personnel.
Your establishment must have a strict policy in place regarding serving patrons who are intoxicated. Employees should be trained to stop serving alcoholic beverages to patrons who appear to be intoxicated. Symptoms of intoxication includes slurred speech, inability to walk straight or combative behavior. Employees should not serve these individuals and security should be notified. Intoxication can cause fights to break out, sexual assaults to occur or a variety of other problems.
It is important that employees recognize the symptoms of intoxication long before it becomes a serious issue. Employees should watch these individuals to be certain that no one else is buying them drinks. It is the responsibility of the bar or club to establish strict policies regarding intoxication. You should hang professional-looking signs in your establishment that clearly states your policies. Patrons should understand that you have the right to refuse to serve anyone in your establishment who appears intoxicated.
Age Verification Practices
Your establishment should have strict guidelines on verifying the age of your patrons before they are served alcoholic beverages. This should be done at the entry door of your club or bar. The only acceptable method of identification should be a state driver’s license or state-issued identification card. You can also accept a valid passport if the picture looks like the person trying to gain entry into your bar. Many establishments that serve liquor use identification scanning machines.
These machines can verify the validity of an identification card. However, they cannot detect an ID card that is used but belongs to someone else. It is up to the security personnel at the door to match the photo ID to the person. These machines can store the information in a database that can be retrieved at a later time if needed. If an incident occurs in your establishment, the identification cards in the machine can be useful to police. Make sure the scanning machine you use can retail identification card information for at least two weeks.
Digital surveillance cameras should be date and time stamped for your protection. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure there is no underage drinking in your establishment. The fines and penalties for this are steep. Most police departments have a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking. You could even go to jail for serving an underage patron. Establish strict policies for underage drinking to avoid any legal problems.
Surveillance Security Systems
The surveillance camera system you use should cover the entire bar or club. These cameras should also be mounted in entry and exit points. Choose a surveillance system that can be monitored in real-time for the best security practice. If you have security guards in place, then you may want to purchase a system that records images that can be viewed later if needed. Use a variety of camera styles in your bar or club. You can use domed cameras in certain areas of your establishment that you don’t want people to notice.
The benefit of these cameras is the fact that you can’t see the angle of the camera. These are good for monitoring employees as well. You can find security cameras that are intended to be hidden. These types of cameras work well on cash registers. Surveillance of your employees will result in reducing employee theft. Any establishment that deals in cash should monitor their cash drawers. Choose a surveillance system that can be monitored on your computer.
You can monitor your establishment while in your office. This is a great way to keep a watchful eye on everything that is going on. Some of your security cameras need to be in plain view of employees and patrons. This lets everyone know that they are being watched. Post signs all over your establishment about the use of video recording equipment. High-tech surveillance systems should be installed by a security professional. Purchase high-quality surveillance equipment instead of cheaper versions.
Hiring Security Personnel
Most establishments that sell liquor hire a minimum of one licensed and trained security guard for every 75 patrons. If you have a larger establishment, you will need to hire more security personnel. Security guards offer instant response to situations that could escalate without their presence. Make sure they are trained well and know how to respond to a variety of situations. They should also know when to call the local police department.
Establish guidelines for your licensed security guards and enforce them. You can also hire a security guard from a firm that trains and certifies their own guards. This will save you time because you won’t have to interview security guards. There are a variety of security guard companies that do an outstanding job of protecting establishments and businesses around the world. Hiring security guard personnel will cost you less than hiring an off-duty police officer.
However, if you have the budget for it, then this would be an ideal security situation. If you don’t go through a security guard company, you will have to perform a background check on security guard applicants. Don’t skip this step because you need to be able to trust your employees. You can easily find companies that specialize in background checks online. These background checks are very inexpensive and well worth it. You may also want to run a drug test. Contact your nearest laboratory that offers drug testing. These tests cost a little more than a background check but are well worth the effort.
Physical assaults sometimes occur in bars and clubs that are often contributed to alcohol. Train your employees to recognize the signs of trouble such as loud arguing, pushing or shoving. Your employees should contact a security guard in your establishment as soon as possible. This will reduce the chance of physical violence that can hurt people. If the situation is allowed to escalate, you could be facing more serious violence issues such as weapons being used during the fight. Don’t allow fights to happen, and make sure your security guards are alert to potential problems. Offenders of your policies and rules should be banned from entering your establishment in the future. You should call the police if patrons are disturbing the peace of your establishment. Reacting quickly to these situations can save you from serious consequences. Security guards should be trained to handle violent confrontations in a safe manner.
Every restaurant, bar or club should have a clear evacuation plan. Employees must be trained in evacuation procedures. These procedures should be practiced when your establishment is closed to the public. Make frequent evacuation drills a strict policy. In the case of fire or other emergency, employees can assist your patrons to safety. Post your evacuation routes in plain sight of patrons and employees. Preparing your employees with these practice drills will help them remain calm during an emergency.
Panic will only make the entire situation much worse. A controlled exit plan can save the lives of your employees and patrons. The local police should also be notified when you must execute your evacuation plan. Make sure your smoke detectors are in good working order at all times. You should have a maintenance crew who is responsible for smoke and fire detectors.
Consider installing a fire sprinkler system that can diffuse a fire before it can spread. It is important to maintain your capacity limits. Once your establishment has reached its capacity, strict orders should be followed to not let anyone else in the club until a few patrons have exited. This can be a serious issue of concern if an emergency evacuation is issued.
Employees should be trained in filling out an incident report for criminal incidents that occur in your establishment. You should keep the forms located where every employee can find them. It is important that employees look for detailed information while observing the incident. The incident report will also be required by local law enforcement. Training your employees on how to fill out an incident report will make them more aware of important details that are needed by the police. They should pay attention to details such as what the suspect was wearing, their height and approximate weight. Other identifying features such as tattoos, color of eyes and hair are also important. Keeping your establishment as a safe place to visit is the goal of every establishment owner.
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This post was written by Damon Delcoro