Securing Your Nursery for the Christmas Shutdown

As the festive season approaches, nurseries across the UK are gearing up for the Christmas shutdown.

As the festive season approaches, nurseries across the UK are gearing up for the Christmas shutdown. This year, with the need for better security increasing against a backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, it’s more important than ever to ensure the security of your premises. Empty buildings are prime targets for thieves, making the festive season a critical time to strengthen your nursery’s protection.

Understand the Risks

With staff away and buildings unoccupied, vulnerabilities can be exploited by opportunistic criminals. The risk isn’t just theft; vandalism and damage to property are also significant concerns. It’s crucial to understand these risks and take proactive steps to mitigate them.

Some questions you can ask yourself for your risk assessment:

  • Have there been any recent security breaches or incidents in the area that could indicate that risk is rising?
  • Are there any specific threats or vulnerabilities unique to the nursery’s location or structure?
  • What are the potential consequences of a security breach for the nursery, children, and staff?


Conducting a Thorough Security Audit

A security audit is the first step in identifying potential weaknesses. This involves a comprehensive review of your current security measures, from CCTV systems and alarm setups to access controls and physical barriers. Assessing these elements helps pinpoint areas needing improvement or upgrade.

Some questions you can use in your assessment:

  • When was the last full security audit conducted, and were all recommendations from it implemented?
  • Are there regular checks and maintenance schedules in place for all security systems and equipment?
  • Does the nursery have a clear protocol for evaluating and updating its security measures?


Enhancing CCTV and Alarm Systems

CCTV cameras are your eyes when you’re not there. Ensure they cover all areas of the building, external approaches and blind spots.

Remote access to CCTV footage is invaluable, enabling you to monitor the premises from anywhere. Likewise, your alarm system should be fully functional, with regular tests to ensure its efficacy.

Some questions you can use in your assessment:

  • Is there sufficient CCTV coverage in all external areas of the property, including play areas and boundaries?
  • Are all CCTV cameras equipped with sensors that operate at specific times?
  • Can the CCTV footage be viewed remotely, so incidents over the break can be reacted to and reviewed swiftly?


Securing Access Points

All entrances and exits must be secure. This includes checking that all locks are in good repair and that doors and windows are not just closed but locked.

Some questions you can use in your assessment:

  • Are all access points to the nursery equipped with secure, functioning locks or access control systems? Can these be dead bolted for additional security over the Christmas period.
  • Are emergency exits secure yet easily accessible in case of an emergency?
  • Are child and personnel records securely stored in a locked area with limited access?


Managing Exterior Security

The exterior of your building is your first line of defence. Ensure that all gates and fences are secure and in good condition. Lighting plays a crucial role in deterring intruders; check that all lights are operational, especially around entrances and parking areas. Additionally, keeping shrubs and bushes trimmed eliminates potential hiding places.

Some questions you can use in your assessment:

  • Are exterior gates and areas secure with self-closing mechanisms?
  • Are all exterior lights operational, especially those above or near entrances?
  • Have any regular deliveries been halted for the shutdown – post or parcels collecting are an indication to thieves that there is a lack of oversight.


Preparing for Emergencies

In the event of an emergency, such as a break-in or fire, having a response plan is essential. This should include contact numbers for key personnel and emergency services, as well as protocols for managing any incidents.

Some questions you can use in your assessment:

  • Is there a protocol in place for responding to security alarms during non-operational hours, including key holder contact procedures?
  • Do you have established contractors with SLAs to respond to a service request if property is damaged.
  • Are emergency contact numbers and procedures for reporting incidents clearly displayed and accessible to security personnel and emergency services?
  • Does the nursery have a system for remote monitoring or alerts that inform designated staff members of any security breaches or emergencies when the nursery is closed?


Engaging Security Experts

If you’re unsure about your nursery’s security readiness, consider consulting with security experts. Companies like Almas Industries can conduct a professional security audit, offering tailored advice and solutions to strengthen your nursery’s security.

Preparing your nursery for the Christmas shutdown is not just about locking doors and setting alarms. It requires a holistic approach to security, considering all potential risks and vulnerabilities. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your nursery remains safe and secure during the festive period, giving you peace of mind to enjoy your well-deserved break.

Get our complete checklist for a full audit of your nursery security this Christmas.


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