Office Security and Emergency Procedures

Security awareness is an important issue for all of us, within our day to day personal and business activities. It is requiring constant vigilance and practice to minimise the opportunity for others to take advantage.

For H&R Block, all associates and all office activity needs to be conducted within an environment adopting security practices. Management must monitor & ensure that security practices are implemented, promoted and followed.

Security Leadership

One difficulty of introducing any instruction for security, and required subsequent emergency procedures, is it can promote an atmosphere of unbalanced emphasis towards the darker side of life within today’s society. It is important – firstly, security practices are implemented by all as a normal part of day to day work practices no different than any other function, and secondly, emergency procedures, when required, are known and are implemented ensuring desired outcomes are achieved.

District Managers, Office Managers and Franchisees are key conduits for effective security practice implementation. Their lead will strongly influence the habits and practices of others within their area of responsibility. Good – or bad, practices are easily replicated!

Security Practices

Detailed below are practices required to be adopted by Associates:

Office Entry doors: At all times ensure any door, other than the client entry door, is locked. The key to the locked door must be internally accessible for emergency exit.

Additionally, during periods of night trading, ensure the client entry door is locked as soon as the last client appointment arrives at the office.

Security Light: After office closure, leave an internal security light on.

Cash Display: Whenever cash transactions are made within the office, never display accumulated cash. Separate accumulated cash and keep reserves of cash sufficient for ordinary change requirements. Accumulated cash should be separated and safely secured.

Daily Reconciliation and Cash Count: At the end of each shift, always reconcile daily receipts and cash in an unobservable area within the office. Where an office does not have a suitable unobservable area, arrangements should be made to procure a suitable screen for the office.

Banking Frequency: Bank all takings on a DAILY basis – never allow takings to accumulate.

Banking Patterns: Vary banking times. Do not establish a set banking routine or pattern. Additionally, do not carry banking in a manner which may promote awareness to others that valuables are held (walking along the street with a cloth style cash bag is not a recommended practice for instance).

Client Files: All client files, including hold and files that are being worked on are to be locked in filing cabinets, at all times when the office is unattended, and the keys put away.

All personal information to be discarded must be done through a secure destruction service.

All client file archive boxes: Must be stored offsite with our secure offsite security provider.

Staff Handbags and Other Valuables: Always store out of sight.

Staff Car Parking: Night staff – at some time during their shift, should move their motor vehicle closer to the office whenever ordinary parking constraints have passed.

Staff meeting: At the annual July staff meeting in each office, office security and client privacy should be discussed and our policies displayed.

Emergency Preparedness

Detailed below are emergency preparedness aspects requiring adoption.

Telephone Speed Dial: Key into speed dial the local police telephone number.

Police Liaison: Ensure the local police office/station have current record of contact person or persons to be contacted in case of out of office hour office emergency (break in or smashed window). Additionally, seek guidance of recommended procedures to be followed during any hold up or other experience.

Spare Office Keys: Have a master set of keys available remote from the office.

Remote Storage of Office Computer Back Up Data: Always store back up data remote from the office.

Install Door Deadlocks: Ensure deadlocks are in place for all doors, except emergency exit doors that have push bar opening.

Tradesman Contact Detail: Have in place contact numbers for plate glass replacement tradesman, locksmith and electrician.

New Offices: The Office Security Review Form should be completed for all new offices using form no 2220.

Office Notice Board: Display emergency evacuation procedures.

Out Of Office Break Ins Or Damage

Office break ins do occur. Wherever such incidents occur the following is required;

Ensure office is secured

Don’t touch anything and avoid contact with property until police advise otherwise

Arrange emergency repairs

Change locks if required (discuss with Regional Director)

Report incident to National Office

Discuss with local Police and seek guidance and understanding for break in trends within the locality and act according to advice given – repeat incidents are not uncommon.

Complete our Injury and Illness Report form no 2522 and or Loss And Potential Claim Report form no 2328

Emergency Actions

Wherever an incident including fire, threats, hold ups and any other office emergency occurs, the office should be secured or evacuated according to the emergency.

Should there be an incident such as a robbery or hold ups, first priority is the care and wellbeing of effected individuals. In such unsettling circumstances immediate medical assistance, where necessary, is to be sought. Additionally, it is extremely important staff be offered and provided with counselling.

Medical Assistance: Immediately dial 000 and request an ambulance – medical assistance must be restricted to trained individuals.

Counselling: Each State and Territory has a victim support facility.

Management Awareness: At the earliest possible moment make the District Manager aware of any incident who in turn should immediately advise the Regional Director and/or Managing Director.