Coronavirus: The security and fire sector

The impact of coronavirus can be seen across the world. At the time of writing, there has been three million confirmed cases of COVID-19, causing governments to take drastic action in the form of ‘lockdowns’ and implementing strict social distancing measures, in an effort to combat the spread and ensure their medical and emergency services are not overwhelmed. This has, inevitably, had a dramatic impact on the economy, with global markets slumping – more than eight years of gains since the last recession were wiped out in one month – to levels not seen since 2011. Every sector has been hit in different ways, and at IFSEC Global, we’ve been covering as much information as possible related to the security and fire sectors since the outbreak began. The role personnel play in these sectors is often key to ensuring safety, so particular emphasis has been put on reporting on ‘key worker’ status in the UK, but there have also been more wide-reaching ways in which the industry has played its part in responding to the threat of a global pandemic.

Below, you will find links to the vast array of stories we’ve covered so far, with a few useful guides available to download on the right-hand side, which may offer some supporting advice to the changes the sector has had to make due to the virus.

The impact of coronavirus on the security and fire sectors

‘Key’ or ‘critical’ worker status was an issue that dominated the discourse of the early weeks of lockdown in the UK. Associations from both the security and fire safety sectors made continual efforts to campaign for their members to be included in the ‘critical’ worker status guidelines issued by the Government, highlighting how important the industry is to safety and security in these challenging times. Installers, too, have been affected. Many installation companies fall under the SME category, with owners often self-employed. Due to social distancing measures and for the protection of themselves and their families, it was clear that many were having to cancel jobs unless the work was an emergency, as we asked installers and engineers how they’d been impacted and their reactions. We also spoke to firms such as International SOS, to offer some returning to work advice for security professionals. Find out all about the FireSafety-Coronavirus-20campaigns by following the links below:

Indeed, in a recent article from regular contributor, Sarb Sembhi, he highlights just how crucial professionals in the security sector are to the protection of people, businesses and assets, while also asking how COVID-19 is set to impact the industry going forward. Hunter Seymour also put together a similar piece, but focused on fire safety professionals and the impact of coronavirus.

Security and fire associations responses to COVID-19

Once again, while a little focused on the UK (only natural as IFSEC Global is based in London), it is likely the efforts shown by the various sector association were mirrored across the world. Support and advice have been abundant from all throughout the pandemic, covering everything from online training courses, through to remote audits and general messages of support for members.

The work from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), Security Industry Authority (SIA) and ASFP, alongside others, has also been covered in the key worker status stories found in the section above.

The use of surveillance in the containment of coronavirus

On a global scale, there have been numerous reports highlighting how surveillance technology has been used to contain or combat the virus. Initially most prevalent in China, where mass surveillance is already used, stories included facial recognition software and CCTV integrated with AI to track people’s movements from areas that there were known to be outbreaks from, therefore measuring the risk of the potential spread of contamination.

These reports have since seen other nations adopting similar measures, with the additional usage of thermal imaging technology. However, it does raise the question of where this will leave us in terms of privacy following the pandemic? If mass surveillance measures are introduced with the initial goal of public safety in mind, would it lead to more ‘intrusive’ measures further down the line? This debate is not new, of course, but the impact of coronavirus has reignited the discussion in the security and privacy fields, once more.

Cyber security

Coronavirus-CyberScams2-20Home or remote working has suddenly moved from the occasional to the regular for the majority who are not on the front lines. The nature of this varies from business to business, of course, with some already set up for such an event, while others were forced to change their entire working practices. Amongst other issues, cyber security is likely to be a major concern for security managers and IT departments. There has been a significant rise in cyber security scams related to the coronavirus, while protecting sensitive data and ensuring privacy laws are maintained when employees are working remotely is a much more challenging process.

Industry response to coronavirus

The response from the security and fire safety sector has been impressive, to say the least. Whether it is installers offering remote support to their customers, guards working on the front line to protect critical assets and ensure public safety, or manufacturers providing free training support and enhanced technology support, there’s been plenty of stories coming from the industry. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to cover everything, but some of these are outlined below:

VideoSurveillance-Monitoring-19

Additional stories

International SOS ensures safe and COVID compliant travel via ICC AOKpass app

The business believes the pilot project using the ICC AOKpass app provides an exciting look at how travel could resume in a post COVID-19 world.

Back in the game: How the return of spectators to sport may affect security and fire professionals

How the return of spectators to sporting venues may impact on the roles of the security and fire safety professionals working in the grounds.

Things to consider when using thermal imaging for temperature screening

What do you need to consider when implementing thermal imaging solutions to undertake temperature screening of individuals?

Security threats escalated due to COVID pandemic

According to a new report from Sibylline, organisations should look to be prepared for a wide range of issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BSIA calls on retailers and local authorities to promote cash as a ‘safe choice’

The BSIA is calling on businesses across the United Kingdom to recognise, acknowledge and to promote the use of cash as a safe choice of payment during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Using COVID-19 to revamp fire and security protections at your business

COVID-19 has provided business owners with the opportunity to upgrade and revamp the fire and security protections at your premises, says Dakota Murphey.

FIA reports on the impact of COVID-19 on the fire sector

The FIA has released the findings following its survey of industry professionals on the impact that COVID-19 has had on the fire safety sector.

Fire Fighters Charity launches urgent appeal for support

The Fire Fighters Charity has launched an urgent appeal for new donors after its usual fundraising income fell by around £200,000 a month during the lockdown period.

Summer of illegal raves and squatters could lead to “security nightmare”

There are signs of significant increases in squatting activity and flash illegal raves springing up across the UK, according to the data reports from security company, VPS.

Talking contactless entry and security post-COVID, with Proxyclick’s Gregory Blondeau

We sit down with Gregory Blondeau to find out more about the company’s new Touchless Check-In solution, as well as why he believes security professionals are now so much more than simply ‘guards and gates’.

Growth in global mass surveillance linked to COVID tracing measures

IFSEC Global reports on the growth in global mass surveillance linked to COVID tracing measures, highlighted by the mass media during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surveillance in modern society: where next?

Gerry Dunphy, Strategy Director for IFSEC International, explores the role of surveillance technology in modern society, and why the conversation has been highlighted once more with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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