Health Notes

Protecting Your Health includes Safeguarding your Personal Security

by Matt Shaw, Director of Public Safety on January 23, 2017

We all seem to make New Year resolutions that improve our physical fitness and happiness. But now that we’re winding down the last few days of January, how about adding to that list a few resolutions to improve your personal security?

Protecting your good health includes taking stock of your own personal safety both at home and at work. As Director of Public Safety here at Methodist, it’s something I take quite seriously, for myself, my family, my fellow co-workers and our patients.

Here are a few recommendations you should take to heart:

1. Perform a home risk assessment. Walk around your home and check windows and doors for easy access. Locks that are easily broken and are hidden from view make your home an easy target for burglary and theft. Take time to trim out tall trees and bushes that may conceal entry points into your home, upgrade poor exterior lighting, replace any bad locks and add track bars to sliding windows. Once those are complete, consider adding a home security system. If you don’t want to pay the monthly monitoring fees, consider do-it-yourself systems such as Samsung Smartthings or Wink. Even Apple TV and Amazon’s Alexa can be used for home automation and security purposes. Post signs in your yard letting everyone know you have a security system (and maybe even add a “beware of dog” sign). It’s also a great idea to reconnect with your neighbors and watch out for each other’s homes.

Matt Shaw, CHSP, Director of Public Safety
Matt Shaw, CHSP

2. Re-evaluate your entry and exiting procedures (at home and work). Make sure you have a ritual for locking doors and checking entry points before you leave the house, but when it comes to actually leaving, shake it up a bit. Vary your routes of travel and timeline when it’s possible. When you arrive at work, chose well lit areas and walk on clean surfaces so you don’t slip or fall. Walk with a buddy or make a new friend on the walk in – there is safety in numbers. As you walk, look up and at your surroundings so you always know where your closest place of safety is, even when there is not a threat present.

3. Lock your office door every time you step away and keep desk drawers locked at all times. To be the most safe, don’t bring personal items of value to work. Limit your valuables and lock doors and drawers to deter thieves, dishonest co-workers, and even outside vendors from rummaging through your things.

4. Re-familiarize yourself with visitation policies at work. In your office space, identifying visitors and vendors, and knowing what areas they are allowed to access protects everyone. Never allow anyone to piggyback off your entry into your work area. If you see another person trying to enter your secure workplace in this way always ask to see their company ID. If they don’t have it, don’t let them in. By focusing on who is in your building and checking badges, you’ll be more aware and able to protect yourself and your co-workers from theft and potential threats.

5. Review emergency plans. Does your work space have an emergency plan, and do you know it? In an emergent situation, you need to know exactly what your role is. Many of the people injured in workplace emergencies do not have a strong understanding of how to respond according to company plans. It’s also a great idea to have an emergency plan at home, so you and your loved ones know what to do when the worst happens, whether that’s an armed intruder or a disaster.

6. Have emergency phone numbers handy. Keep in mind, that in cases of disaster your cell phone may not be charged and ready or even handy. Do you know the phone numbers of your loved ones or people who can help? Take time to know those numbers by heart or keep them someplace easily found in case of an emergency.

Have a safe and secure 2017!

Matt Shaw, CHSP, is the Director of Public Safety for Methodist Health System.
Contact Matt at
Matt Shaw, CHSP, Director of Public Safety


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