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How Businesses and Government Officials Can Prepare for Potential Protests
December 8, 2020
In Today’s Digital World, Protests are More Organized Than Ever
2020 has been a year that challenged the collective health of the global community and our belief systems. Aside from traditional North American politics, which has sparked significant unrest, shared opinions and views regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have divided communities and prompted reactions from those who disagree with community health protocols.
As global health authorities and politicians enforce face masks and physical distancing requirements, many have taken to the streets to gather and protest as a group. Misinformation, fatigue, and financial pressures have pushed many communities, in both large cities and small towns, towards protesting implemented restrictions. Both businesses and institutions should plan for any spontaneous protests that could put both people and property at risk.
Begin Planning For Political Demonstrations Before They Happen
Those who wish to protect their assets should begin to prepare well in advance of any protest. Rallies and large gatherings can happen in a flash, move to different sites, and disperse instantly. Technology allows anyone with a like-minded ideology to unify and coordinate a crowd through one social platform. Reinforce your property now and remove loose items that can be torn off or thrown back at the building.
Next, consider creating an internal evacuation plan for your staff in case of political unrest. This plan should include several practice rounds and feedback from staff to ensure everyone is familiar with these procedures. Similar to a fire drill, these plans should speak specifically to potential political demonstrations that include safe zone locations for staff to gather. Businesses can also provide contingency plans in the event employees can't leave the building along with emergency supplies that can be left in predetermined locations.
Protect Your Staff and Property During Political Unrest
As an employer, you have a continued duty to provide your workforce with a safe work environment, and asking your employees to enter the building could put them in harm’s way.
In the event you are expecting a political protest, it’s best to employ physical security. Rotating guards can maintain peace, prevent damage to your property at any time of day, and call the police if protesters cause property damage.
Remote work options are a safe alternative to asking employees to enter a building during a political protest. If there are instances where employees are considered essential and must return to the workplace, shuttle buses are an appropriate alternative. Busses can safely move groups of employees to their workplace from an external lot. Many security partners can offer protective driver services and close protection bodyguards for more complex security challenges.
Leverage the Technology Behind Social Listening Tools
While protesters have made good use of social media to organize themselves, the public nature of these platforms leaves them highly vulnerable to social listening tools. When groups of protesters convene together, they reveal endless amounts of information regarding their movements and whereabouts.
Many external agencies collect public information from public forums like Facebook to help predict protests and monitor potentially dangerous protestors. These social listening efforts can tip off staff and leadership to act accordingly if pending political unrest has the potential to turn violent.
Prepare for Political Unrest with AFIMAC
AFIMAC is highly experienced in providing the security needs for both government agencies and businesses of varying sizes. Offering a wide range of strike and work stoppage solutions, AFIMAC can help navigate a company through events of political unrest with shuttle services, close protection, and protective driver solutions.
In addition, our social listening offerings can ensure that a company can respond correctly and mitigate continued risk during the most complicated political demonstrations.
Contact us directly to learn more.