During protests emotions run high; the balance between being a unified voice of a cause and a destructive movement of anarchy teeter a fine line. Regardless of your position on the cause of the movement, when all is said and done your business and personal life must go on. So what can you do to manage your risks in light of protests? Here are 5 considerations for protecting assets during a protest.
1. Assess your risk – Does your building house people or businesses that could be the target of the protest? Do neighboring businesses pose a risk based on there activities or occupants? Is your building in an area likely to be occupied by protesters? If so, in addition to communicating specifics with law enforcement, you will need to develop a specialized protection plan that reduces your exposure to the risk.
2. Relocate at-risk assets – If you are a retailer and have high value displays, or merchandise close to an exterior viewpoint or access point, relocating these assets can reduce the likelihood of your business being targeted should the protest turn unlawful. The same holds true if you are a commercial enterprise and have core assets or business functions that can be secured or relocated so that you can reduce your exposure.
3. Review your business continuity plan – If you could not use or access your facility for a day, week, or month what would you do and how would you operate? Where would your employees work? Having a well thought Business Continuity Plan can mean the success or failure of your business. What, you don’t have a plan?! The time of crisis is too late to develop a plan so start now.
4. Communications – Assigning a person responsible for monitoring social media, news media, and inbound communications, and having access to outbound communications to your organization is critical in detection and early decision making. Providing employees or occupants of your facility with information that could prevent them from being exposed to a protesting event that may expose them to delays, danger or harm is good business.
5. Facility Hardening – Every year there are numerous events like court rulings, hurricanes, blackouts, celebrations, etc. that are moments away from becoming a protest, riot, looting, or other crowd style disorder. If your facility is not hardened (without going overboard) for a reasonable threat, once the threat is present its too late to address. Taking reasonable precautions ahead of time may prevent thousands in lost business revenue or use of your facility.
Protesting should be a celebrated right of all Americans, but when protests turn unlawful and at the expense of people and property, no one wins, voices are no longer heard, and civility is replaced with contempt. But your not in control of a protest, you’re in control of your property and actions. So taking prudent and reasonable actions now is within your control.