Enhancing Household Safety: The Importance of Teaching Security Awareness to Household Personnel

How many times throughout history has an entire army successfully protected their ruler from repeated assassinations, attacks from foreign armies, and attempted coups, only to have their leader be killed by a close and trusted aide?

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When a decision is made to provide security for a principal, (regardless of who makes the decision), the process eventually involves a professional security expert providing an overall assessment of risk and liability exposure and offering some thorough, upgraded plans for implementation using a combination of personnel, vehicles, technical equipment, etc. After a couple of weeks (Or sometimes longer) of planning, interviews, route studies, communications enhancements, and team coordination exercises, the new team is ready.

Every contingency is planned for, all the implementations in place, and once every family and household staff member investigated and interviewed, the principal is safe….Except for the gaping hole in the plan that somehow missed the maid’s addiction to gossip, or the butler’s gambling habits, or the house manager’s jealousy of anyone who is closer to the principal that he/she is. Additionally, the principal’s wife has never been coached on using caution when posting on social media, or the itinerary/ travel plans she discusses with her friends, and the nanny has no clue how to avoid exposure to risks in public or how to identify a suspicious person or environment.

Nobody considered the more reasonable expectation of teaching the family and staff to read the environment, recognize potential risks to the principal or household, avoid the risks, and properly communicate the conditions to the security team. Household personnel, including domestic helpers, babysitters, gardeners, and maintenance workers, play an integral role in our clients’ daily lives. And because of this close, or intimate, relationship that the family and household staff have, their innocent lack of security awareness can unknowingly expose their homes and loved ones to potential risks. By drawing attention to the numerous security threats faced by households today, we emphasize the need for comprehensive training programs.

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Highlighting common risks such as burglary, trespassing, identity theft, and medical emergencies, we can illustrate the potential consequences of negligence or ignorance. Attention-grabbing statistics, news headlines, and real-life examples can effectively emphasize the relevance of security awareness for household personnel. In 2008, we created Nannyguards because we saw the gap between the nannies of the UHNW families and their security teams, and we wanted to educate nannies in security and situational awareness. Over the years, the program has received so much attention and has been so effective that even principals and their spouses are attending the classes with members of their childcare staff.

Think it is too difficult or time-consuming to train the household personnel?

Ask yourself….Are you aware of how much of your principal’s information is available to family members, staff, friends, employees, clients, service people, and even social event attendees?

Valuable and sensitive information about the principal’s personal life, movement, business-related details, finances, health, and various other exposures are all at risk of disclosure by anyone who might benefit from doing so. Even the best security team can’t control all the exposure points, but a well-trained staff and supportive family can significantly lessen the risk of exposure. Comprehensive education is a must to recognize the signs of someone who, with the means and motivation, might take advantage of their knowledge of the principal.

Another important consideration is that, in many cases, the protective team or an individual Close Protection Operative is not part of the inner family dynamic and therefore required to live outside the principal’s home resulting in not only being out of reach but out of earshot of the domestic conversation.

Lastly, a maid, butler, cook, nanny, or driver can inadvertently sabotage an otherwise perfect security plan with the click of a mouse or the tap on an app of a cellphone. Social media enables the most innocent or mundane photograph or statement to compromise the principal’s safety or security. Photographs can show not only addresses, clothing styles, identifying tattoos, license plates, and habits but, through analysis of the image, can identify locations through geo-tag, and even times and dates of photographs. As you are becoming aware, proper vetting of the staff is only part of the security equation.

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Engaging the interest of household personnel is crucial in fostering a sense of responsibility towards security matters. By highlighting the positive impact their role can have on maintaining a safe household environment, we can motivate them to actively participate in security training initiatives. Nurturing a desire for security awareness training among household personnel involves emphasizing the valuable skills and knowledge they can acquire through such programs. By highlighting how training can enhance their competence and professionalism, we tap into their intrinsic motivation to excel in their roles. By illustrating scenarios where security awareness training could have prevented mishaps, criminal activities, or enabled quick, effective responses can help them recognize the importance of being prepared.

Establishing a structured training program that covers all the necessary security-related topics, such as access control, emergency response, surveillance systems, situational awareness, cybersecurity, etc., is crucial for household personnel. Quite often, they are blissfully unaware of the potential dangers and risks that they are surrounded by and merely need some clear instruction on the topics to become efficient.

The security of your clients’ homes and their loved ones relies not only on advanced technological systems and physical security teams (and RST) but also on the awareness and preparedness of household personnel. By investing in their security education and training, you can create a safer and more secure environment for your clients.

Looking for specialized security training for household personnel? Contact LeMareschal today!

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