Domestic staff are often home alone for hours a day while the rest of the household is away at work and at school. “For this reason, it is important that they are empowered with knowledge to ensure their safety and to know what to do in an emergency,” says Martin Kriel, Managing Director of ADT Security’s East Coast Region.
He says there are precautions domestic staff can practice to enhance their safety as they commute to and from work, and while they are on duty. “We encourage that domestic staff at adjacent and opposite properties to get to know one another and, where possible, walk from and to public transport together. It is also a good idea to exchange cell phone numbers so that they can alert one another of suspicious people or vehicles.”
“It is important to always keep safety gates on outward-leading doors locked – they may not hear an intruder over the noise of the vacuum or know that someone has entered the house while they are in the backyard. The alarm system must always be armed when they leave the house; even if it is only for a few minutes.”
Kriel said anyone who arrives at the door should not just be let in. “If there is any uncertainty about the individual’s identity, ask for proof that they are who they claim to be; while they wait outside contact your employer or the company the person says they are from immediately.”
He added that homeowners can play a role too. “Teach domestic staff how to arm and disarm the alarm system; ideally they should have their own code and password. Have a list of emergency contact numbers – that includes your mobile number – stuck on or near the phone; these numbers should be saved to cell phone memory as well. Discuss any safety concerns or security issues you are aware of with your domestic staff.”
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