Atlanta, GA – Maintaining security above the first floor of a large, multiple-story office building can be a nightmare for Security Managers or building managers. Access control measures are the first and best line of defense for security because those floors above become a maze filled with hiding places for criminals to avoid detection by security guards. There are things that can be done to regain control of the facility and make it difficult for criminals to take advantage of the situation.
Effective Security Measures Begin with the Design of the First Floor Lobby Area:
- Security Guard Visibility – It is critical that your Visitor Access Control Person or Security Guard be readily visible and have clear line of sight to all persons entering the lobby. The traffic flow should be designed that everyone entering the building passes by the security guard. Visitors can be properly identified and directed by the Officer and they can watch for tag-alongs that try to scoot in behind a legitimate employee of the building.
- Access Control on Elevators – physical access to the elevators should be controlled during the day and at night a card access system can be used to prevent non-tenants from accessing the upper floors. Depending on the needs of the facility, this can be taken a step further to require access cards for each floor.
- Limited Access to Stairwells – Fire codes require easy access to the stairwells above the first floor. However, first floor access to the stairwell can be restricted since the only time someone must enter the stairwell is for first responders during a fire. Electronic locks wired into the central fire control system are ideal.
Security on Upper Floors of the Office Building
Once you’ve limited the access to the upper floors, the problem becomes stay-behind persons, those who have gained access to the building and then linger after-hours waiting for the building to empty and have free reign of the facility. Access control systems can severely impede the movement of these persons by making it difficult to access office spaces and even to move between floors. Today’s technology allows for access control systems with card access methods to keep a constant inventory of everyone in the building – tenants and visitors. At the end of the day, this system allows the security officer in the control room to know exactly who is in the building and where they are currently located.
Closed-caption Television camera systems monitored by a security guard in a main control room can watch for these persons moving in the public areas and dispatch another officer to investigate.
There should also be a roving security guard moving through the building in a random path to provide an additional deterrent to criminal activity. These roving security guards provide a secondary benefit as well, monitoring for environmental, physical or systems problems that may not be noticeable via CCTV. A guard on patrol will notice water from a leaky pipe, elevated temperatures from a bad thermostat, a burned out light or a fire extinguisher past its inspection date.
A reputable security company will have a management team that is experienced in developing these solutions to assist building managers in protecting their office buildings.