Empower your domestic staff to be safe

A LOCAL private security company has urged home owners to ensure anyone who works on their property is aware of the basic principles of personal safety, so that they are familiar with how to act in an emergency.

Fidelity ADT’s KwaZulu-Natal district manager Ivan Govender said domestic workers play an integral part in any home security system and it was critical that they are empowered and equipped to look after their own safety, as well as the safety of anyone else on the property such as children they may be looking after.

“Everyone wants and deserves to be safe, no matter who they are and where they work. In the same way that you should share safety tips with your friends and loved ones, you should also share it with anyone that works on your property,” said Govender.

He urges domestic workers to ask themselves – what would you do if someone tried to break into the house that you are working at? Do you know where the panic buttons are, and how to call for help? If not, they should discuss this with their employer as soon as possible.

When it comes to personal safety, Govender said a cellphone could be both a friend and a foe. “It can assist you by allowing you to take a photo of a suspicious person or vehicle you have noticed in your community. However, it could also distract you from what is happening around you if you pay too much attention to social media updates or text messages.”

Govender said home owners should consider enrolling any employees who may be working for them for an extended period of time, in local crime-prevention forums which take place in most neighbourhoods every month. These are often arranged by the SAPS or community members and teach valuable crime-prevention and safety tips.

Lastly, Govender believes there are five key things to remember.

“Be careful of having unguarded conversations about your employer or the property you are working at. You never know who might be listening. Be observant and speak up if you see something suspicious anywhere in the suburb. Use the camera on your cellphone. If you see something or someone that appears to be out of place, take a photo, but don’t let you phone be a distraction, and always pay attention to your surroundings,” he said.

He said domestics must never allow anyone onto the property or indoors unless they have an appointment or if they have a legitimate reason to be there, and their employer confirmed it for them. “If you have any doubt about someone trying to gain entry, call your employer or call the police. Don’t fall for impersonators,” he said.

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