Ask the Expert: Securing Retail Facilities to Protect People and Assets

Interview with Tim Shafer

Tim Shafer
Tim Shafer

Shafer is the marketing manager of Detex Corporation. He joined Detex in 2004 starting in the repair department where he gained vast knowledge of the various Detex products. In 2012 he was promoted to production supervisor, then marketing manager in 2014. He is experienced in assembly, technical support, product development, demonstration, and training.

In today’s retail environment, protecting people and assets is a vital role for asset protection organizations. We asked one physical security expert about options for securing the exits throughout a store, distribution center (DC), or other retail facility.

What physical security measures can increase a retail facility’s ability to protect against threats?

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Most facilities have addressed access control and the securing of main doors, but those should be measures of last resort. There are steps that you may not have considered to mitigate the threat before it arrives at your front door. Supplemental security measures, such as securing perimeter entrances and installing devices to warn when secondary entry points are compromised, can increase your ability to protect against threats in retail locations, DCs, or the corporate campus. Examining security and safety from a holistic viewpoint can help prevent threats from materializing. You can enhance life-safety and security measures on your property with the addition of cutting-edge technology that works in conjunction with your existing systems, such as:

  • Delayed-egress devices with alarms,
  • Perimeter fencing emergency exit and access control,
  • Door-prop alarms, and
  • Tailgate-detection systems.

Are delayed-egress devices useful in a retail environment?

By installing delayed-egress exit devices, you can prevent unauthorized exits and redirect foot traffic. When combined with electric latch retraction and automatic door operators, staff can move freely throughout the facility while controlling unauthorized foot traffic.

Where life-safety codes restrict traditional locking of certain exits in perimeter fencing around DCs or some retail locations, weatherized delayed-egress may be an acceptable application, depending on the authority having jurisdiction. Weatherized delayed-egress systems emit a loud local alarm encouraging a person to move away from the area while alerting staff that someone is attempting to exit. This provides the staff time to react before the exit unlocks and helps to avoid a dangerous situation. This type of system can be tied into a fire alarm override, providing safe, delay-free exit during a fire emergency.

How can retailers enhance their existing door security?

Supplementing existing door security with door-prop alarms is one way to enhance your security environment. A door left propped open, even for a few seconds, can provide an easy access point for threats. Door-prop alarm hardware will alert personnel to an unsecure door via audible alarm while sending an alert to any central security monitor. It helps prevent unauthorized personnel from entering and assets from exiting the premises.

Is tailgate detection useful for retailers?

Tailgate-detection technology can be used to control access in a variety of retail environments, allowing only authorized personnel access to restricted areas. Tailgate-detection systems will sound an alarm if someone attempts to follow an authorized employee through a secure door. It will also help secure areas that may contain sensitive material, such as personnel records, in computer rooms, or cash-handling rooms.

What other tips can you give a prospective retailer?

Ensuring all pieces of technology will work together is key. Manufacturers and some dealers will create a kit to fit your application that includes best-in‑class products along with wiring and riser illustrations to fit your application. Be careful of specification writers who supply only a list of products without a wiring diagram or information on how the items are integrated together. Failing to install the items correctly can create years of headaches and wasted money. Ensure the supplier understands your needs and offers time-tested products.

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