Use These Guidelines to Safeguard Employees, Customers & Operations
An NPA Certified Parking Professional (CPP) Core Competency
By Heather Sieber
While most parking operators and managers usually have procedures in place to handle various emergency situations, it’s always important to reinforce the basics for your team members.
Parking professionals have the ability to reduce the number of emergencies in the parking facility through good maintenance practices, training, information and safety programs, and attention to safe employee work behavior. The following is a checklist of steps and guidelines to follow during different safety situations.
Although specific procedures will vary among parking facilities, here are some general precautionary procedures to follow in an emergency:
• Always attend to the safety of customers and employees first.
• Ensure that all employees are familiar with safety and emergency procedures at all times. Every parking facility safety program should include a periodic review of the safety and emergency procedures for fire, robbery, injury and damage, etc.
• Develop and follow a schedule for conducting routine safety inspections of the facility and safety equipment.
Parking professionals should be prepared to deal with fires, missing vehicles, robberies, collision or injuries, elevator and manlift malfunctions or damage to the facility.
In the event of a fire, every employee in the parking facility should be familiar with, and ready to follow, emergency fire procedures. While some fires can be readily and easily extinguished by on-site personnel, in case of any fire, you should:
• Call the fire department.
• Assist customers and employees in evacuating the facility, if necessary.
• Alert the main office.
• Complete a report of the incident.
Should a customer’s vehicle appear to be missing:
• Verify that the vehicle is missing.
• Report to the main office that the vehicle is missing and ask for instructions.
• Contact the vehicle’s owner if the owner is unaware of the problem.
• Advise the vehicle’s owner to call the appropriate authorities immediately, such as the police and the owner’s insurance company.
• Cooperate with police and insurance company investigators.
In an effort to prevent robberies, train employees to stay alert at all times while on duty. If necessary, remind employees to look up from their work frequently and keep their eyes open for suspicious behavior. Advise employees to call the police if they notice suspicious-looking individuals loitering near the facility.
In case of an actual robbery attempt, advise employees to follow these procedures:
• Stay calm and do what you are told to do.
• Do not put yourself at risk in any way.
• Sharpen your powers of observation. Watch carefully. If possible, make a mental picture of details of the robber and the robbery.
• Call for help as soon as it is safe to do so.
• Call the security staff or the police, and then the main office.
Collisions & Injuries
Collisions or injuries are probably the most common occurrences. If a customer or employee is injured, follow these procedures:
• If the injury is severe, do not attempt to move the victim.
• Call the fire or police emergency response numbers and describe the conditions of the victim and the accident scene.
• Keep the victim quiet and protect the area from any intrusion.
• Try to determine events leading to the accident or injury and record details, including witness names, addresses, etc.
• Complete all necessary reports.
Elevator & Manlift Malfunctions
• Use the intercom system to inform customers in the elevator that help is on the way.
• Notify the elevator service contractor that there is an emergency.
• Depending upon response time of the elevator service contractor, notify the fire department to rescue persons trapped in the elevator.
• Stop the manlift.
• Give immediate assistance to any employee on the manlift.
• Call emergency services, if necessary.
• Call the manlift service contractor.
• Keep the manlift inoperative until repairs are made.
Damage to the Facility
Damage to a parking facility may be caused by weather, equipment malfunction and stress to the structure or by vehicle collisions. A parking professional should act immediately to contain the damaged area and prevent further damage or injuries. Among other things, the parking professional should:
• Call for emergency assistance, if necessary.
• Control the damaged area immediately by blocking customer and employee access.
• Inform the main office immediately and follow their instructions.
• If appropriate, contact the appropriate service contractor to schedule immediate repairs.
An entire chapter in the NPA’s Certified Parking Professional (CPP) Study Guide is devoted to these same safety guidelines. The CPP program – a practical, comprehensive curriculum designed to assist managers in performing their duties in an effective and professional manner – sets performance and service standards at the point where the parking industry and the customer meet. The CPP credential is the standard against which excellence and professionalism are judged.
For those of you who may have your CPP but are interested in the latest security designs for parking facilities, consider reading “Security Design for a Parking Facility: Enhancing Safety for Patrons and Employees,” available in the Research & Publications section of NPApark.org.
Also, in November, the NPA will offer a live webinar on safety and security. Industry experts will examine ways in which improvements in closed-circuit TV, security gates, signage and lighting to better both safety and your company’s bottom line.
Consider earning your CPP or encourage your team members to do so. NPA members and non-members are welcome to apply. For more information, go to Professional Development at NPApark.org.
Heather Sieber, CAE, VP, Marketing & Communications for the National Parking Assocition. She can be reached at HeatherSieber@npapark.org
Article Abstract from March, 2012