COVID-19 and the Executive Protection

“Well, that is going to- leave a mark”. The first time I heard that statement, I was watching a NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing) race.

The television commentator was referring to how close the participants were driving to each other and of the possibility of the racing automobiles bumping each other on the sides of the vehicles or the front or rear bumpers.  In much the same way, this COVID-19 pandemic has definitely left “a mark” on our industry as a whole.

As practitioners,  our responsibilities  are  many:  protection  of  the  client  from  physical  harm, protection of the client from self-embarrassment, etc. Now, that the restrictions in the post COVID-19 era are starting to be lifted in some areas, Clients, and other high-net-worth individuals will be more aware of the area in which they are located, lodging, and traveling to.

Before the pandemic hit, it was a standard practice for a security detail to conduct a security briefing covering all security aspects of the detail. Be it an “A-list” celebrity,  or a high-net worth executive, the detail had to establish a three-ring layer of security (outer, middle, and inner). With this level of security in place, the “P” had a protection level that was not easily penetrated.

Some of the updated major changes are a basic level of understanding for the general public/workforce. Having a understanding of the five “W’s “ ( Who, What, When Where, and How) will present a clear advantage of understanding how the post COVID-19 environment will evolve. Key considerations to reduce COVID-19 risks would be to have a concert/ venue scaled down, so that fewer people would be attending an event. Also, to pre-order sufficient supplies and materials, including tissues and hand sanitizers for all participants. To provide a health care number that participants (worker, fans, etc.) can call for advice or to give information to. And to display dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub prominently around the venue.

In the US, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has established guidelines for business and employers that shows recommendations to follow. Some of the updated strategies are:

  • Conduct daily health checks

  • Conduct a health hazard assessment of the space (venue, hotel)

  • Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the venue/space.

Another organization to reference for the most up-to-date information on the post COVID-19 efforts is the World Health Organization. The WHO was the leading agency, that in January 2020 declared the outbreak go be a public health emergency of international concern. At some point, we will get pass this COVID-19 pandemic. But, what exactly will normal look like post Covid-19? Will there be a “new normal “ when the world finally defeats this virus?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has published a guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. Now, switching gears into the post COVID-19 realm our profession will forever be changed. With the numbers spiking across the Southern states, the U.S. has set a daily record for new COVID-19 cases since late April 2020.

For the protectors who run their own firms with staff, we are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace as well. We must determine what types of controls or PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) are needed for specific job duties. Be able to select and provide the appropriate PPE to the staff at no cost, and to train the staff on the correct use.

Encourage your agents to wear a face covering at work. It is recommended that by wearing a cloth face covering as a measure to contain the wearer’s respiratory droplets and help protect their co- workers and members of the general public. Wearing a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Establish policies and practices for social distancing, such as the use of signs, tape marks, or other visual cues such as decals or colored tape on the floor, placed 6 feet apart, to indicate where to stand when physical barriers are not possible.

Our equipment, (personally and professionally) has to be updated with the latest gear to ensure protocols are in place. A protector’s medical bag has just expanded. Besides the standard medical equipment (bandages, tape, quick clot, tourniquet, etc.) The medical bag must now include:

  • A non-contact Infrared thermometer

  • A supply of surgical/cloth masks.

As the CEO/Owner of my own firm, I understand the importance of our tasks as protectors in providing a safe and secure environment for our clients. Entering into the, “new normal,” we must now, more than ever, make sure that the health or both ourselves and our clients are being factored into the protective equation as we are dealing with an invisible attacker.

COVID-19 and the Executive Protection/Secured Transportation ProfessionBy Carlton D Smith PPS, PSD, CPO

Carlton D Smith PPS, PSD, CPO is an executive protection specialist and a law enforcement officer in a major metropolitan area.  You can contact him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlton-smith28519b34

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