Many United States businesses do not have a crisis management plan, let alone an integrated physical security plan. While some establishments believe in preparing for disaster, many believe that it will never happen to them. Regardless of personal opinions concerning emergencies, the development and implementation of an effective physical security plan is necessary for any organization. The effectiveness of a physical security plan can be assessed through a checklist.

Vulnerable Areas

A vulnerability assessment should be a part of any physical security evaluation. The assessment should identify and repair weaknesses within the infrastructure of the company. The most vulnerable locations at any business facility are public areas. Since a company cannot refuse service to individuals based on profiling alone, public locations such as parking facilities and lounge spots should be examined for organization and crime prevention methods. If a facility has experienced previous criminal activity in its parking structure, proper lighting, surveillance cameras and security officer presence should be implemented to prevent further activity. In addition, public areas should have some mechanism of order associated with them; even if it's no more than assigned parking or reserved seating.

Critical Facilities Restricted

Critical facilities are locations in a business that must remain open at all times; even during emergency periods. Examples of such areas include surveillance monitoring stations and crisis management centers. During hours of regular operation, these facilities should be restricted to authorized personnel only. The location should be secured with locks, fences and signs that inform the public to keep out. In addition, individuals desiring to enter restricted areas should be identified by human or computerized security. Wearing badges and other forms of identification should also be mandatory in the restricted area.

Alarm Systems

Businesses that select the security of an alarm system should test it daily for proper operation. An alarm system that does not work is no use to the owner. Individuals should also ensure that the system has an automatic generator in case of power outage. Good alarm systems will either report emergencies to the company's security station or to a police agency. Such systems will also be insured by the selling company or manufacturer.

Designation of Keys

Office keys should not be given to everyone. Only staff whose job duties require office keys should be given access. Individuals in charge of key disposition should be responsible and keep record of all administered keys. Office keys should also read "do not duplicate," and be collected from all employees upon termination or resignation.