Parking structure and parking lot risks are numerous and need to be mitigated or removed altogether. So, here are 6 areas of secure parking facilities that you can take into consideration to mitigate or eliminate risks and protect yourself and your business. These apply whether it’s your structure or lot, or whether you are contracting with a third party to provide these services for you. Some potential issues might include:
- Slip and fall hazards
- Auto accidents
- Harassment and assault
- A lack of good security
You want to be known for caring about your employees and clients, but your bottom line is also important. It all begins in the design.
Secure Parking Facilities Design
An effective and efficient design will enhance safety, it won’t detract from it. It doesn’t matter if you are the owner or if you are contracting the facility/location out to a third party, being involved early in the process will benefit everyone involved. Therefore, ideally, it’s during the design of the structure or lot where you would want to address the majority of these issues. In the long run, it will save you time and money.
Here are 4 areas where you can promote overall safety:
- Access Control
- Surveillance and security
Read on for more detail about these critical areas to pay attention to in order to mitigate risk in secure parking facilities.
Lax security can make protecting employees and clients difficult within secure parking facilities.
Another good idea to watch out for in the design phase is to have cylindrical concrete supports. These make it easier to see around corners and also tend to not get clipped as much by vehicles.
One other good measure to include are speed bumps. You want these positioned in straightaways; anywhere where a vehicle may tend to ramp up their speed. Slower speeds mean less accidents.
Now, let’s dig into these 4 design areas that will help us to promote safety and lessen risk.
You want to make sure to include signage that is clearly visible. Think large letters and bright colors.
For the vehicles, stop signs are good to have placed in strategic areas. These will help control speed and limit accidents.
For pedestrian safety, you want to have very clearly marked signage that points them to various places and things around the facility. For example, signs to point them to stairs, elevators, exits, fire extinguishers, emergency phones, etc.
Once again, remember that signs should be clearly visible, appear in plenty of locations and be very easy to read.
The next area to pay attention to is lighting.
Proper lighting greatly minimizes or eliminates theft, harassment, and assault, not to mention hiding places or dark places where someone could be lurking. For this reason, the importance of more than adequate lighting cannot be understated.
To eliminate the possibility of dark spots or hard to see areas, consider a few of these suggestions:
- Try to cover all areas with at least 2 light sources. This way, even if one light is out there will be coverage.
- Add glass or windows to elevators and stairwells for enhanced visibility. This will make it easier for security personnel and the public in general to easily see into an area.
- Use lighting that is easy on the eyes but sufficiently bright, perhaps something like metal halide or something similar.
- Uniformity of lighting will help avoid shadows and dark areas. Don’t forget to light up structure perimeters as well.
You want pedestrians to feel safe in this environment, where they can easily assess their surroundings. Adequate lighting moves you in the right direction.
One non-electronic aspect of access control is limiting the number of ingress and egress points to the facility; we are talking about doors and driveways. This applies to both vehicular and pedestrian access points.
Then there are the more traditional points of access control, such as automatic gates, ticketing systems, card access systems, etc.
Ticketing systems help in 2 ways. First they can create a paper trail for authorities should an investigation be needed. Also a ticketing system usually facilitates paid access to the parking structure. This paid access can be a deterrent in and of itself.
If you are going to use a card access system, be sure to not only include it in the drive-up but also in any pedestrian access through doorways.
An additional aspect of access control comes in the form of perimeter fencing as well as fencing off potential hiding areas like under stairwells and alcoves.
Surveillance and Security Measures
One of the best options available for you to mitigate your risk, is to utilize 24/7 surveillance. This can be electronic or physical surveillance.
A number of different systems are available to you depending on your unique circumstances. These can be broken down into 2 main categories, active and passive.
Active security systems:
- Security personnel – having live, uniformed security on-site can be a major deterrent for criminals. Make sure they frequently walk the site and their schedule is varied.
- CCTV – being able to record events on camera can also create a huge deterrent. Of course, good coverage depends on good layout, which depends on good design. Consult security professionals with a good reputation to accomplish good coverage. Having CCTV also requires good equipment and good lighting. Make sure security personnel know what to do when something happens.
Passive security systems:
- Emergency phones and intercoms – clearly visible communications systems such as these can be lifesaving when someone is threatened or under attack. They should be installed in easy to reach, well-lit areas and dotted throughout the facility for ease of access.
- Surveillance signage – Clearly visible signage that the area is under surveillance can add to a complete systems that uses multiple systems to deter a crime from taking place.
Finally, another consideration during the design phase is to make sure that stairwells and elevators are easily visible to security personnel.
Secure Parking Facilities General Upkeep
Regular cleaning and up-to-date maintenance make a clean location look active and “lived-in”. Also, make sure to have maintenance personnel trim trees and shrubbery to keep open sightlines, both looking in and looking out of the facility. Obstructed views for parking structure clientele mean places to hide or to be hidden.
In order to reduce the risk of slips and falls, it’s necessary to promptly remove snow accumulation. Make sure to never store or pile the snow on top of the structure, as it is deceptively heavy and you could risk collapse. It’s better for you to have it removed from the premises completely.
If you have snowplows operating in the facility, watch out for damage to concrete, building joints and curbs from the sharp metal blades. In a worst-case scenario, this could cause structural issues. If an issue occurs, make sure to have it inspected by professional engineers to avoid future harm.
Finally, signage comes into the picture. Make sure ‘wet’, ‘slippery’ and/or ‘icy’ signage is placed in appropriate areas for pre-emptive warnings.
Mitigating Risk for Secure Parking Facilities Starts Early On
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We all know the saying, but the reality is that there couldn’t be more truth to it when it comes to taking steps to mitigate risk in secure parking facilities. Be proactive, not reactive.
If it is simply not possible to proactively design the structure with these steps in mind, proactively have a professional risk assessment done. They will identify major risk areas and can create a plan to help mitigate your risk.
Managing risk in secure parking facilities and parking lots is a continual process. We can help you. Contact us about this topic today or other areas of Risk Management; just call 909.466.7876. We’ll be glad to help. Also, if you’re interested in lowering and tracking your incidents visit our Incident Track Program to learn more.