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My husband and his business partner will be opening up their first joint office space the first of July. We already have the lease signed and are in the process of furnishing it. They both have worked very hard to get to this point, and I'm very proud of them. It's a mental health therapy office. My husband specializes in in-office therapy for children and equine therapy at a local stable, and his partner does mostly out-of-offfice stuff like custody/supervised visitations, and court stuff - all the high drama stuff my husband won't touch, thank goodness.

I put myself in charge of security. :duh:

The space is four offices with kitchen/bathroom/utility/reception area, front and back doors. Back door will remain locked and really won't be used. The back door leads into a small partially fenced-in area with the dumpster at the other end. I call it The Funnel Of Death.

We won't have a receptionist for a long time; one is really not needed just yet. So because there is no receptionist to buzz people in the front door, the front door will be open to anybody walking in. I've ordered a door chime so it will alert whenever someone opens the door. I also ordered a wireless video security system, and the camera will be be pointing at the front door, and I should be able to position it where it gets the door and whole reception area. The monitor will be in my husband's office, since he's the one who does most of the in-office therapy. The door alert is not wireless or battery operated, and it will not interfere with the video security signal.

And they both have their carry permits.

I'm also doing the layout of my husband's office. He has a glass frosted door so you can't see in, but I'm wanting to position his desk so he can have a clear view of the door when it opens and not be the first thing someone sees when they open the door. I also want his second chair (the one he sits at across from clients) positioned where he has a clear view of the door.

Here's what I have currently, any opinions welcome. The play therapy area is filled with a kiddie table/chairs, easel, toys, and other misc. items.
office.jpg
 

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Take a page from the Stop&Rob play book. Mark the inside of entry door jamb for height.

Door bell to alert, still must be "buzzed" in after cking monitor.
 

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You are to be commended for planning this out BEFORE opening for business! Looks like a good start, where are the bathrooms? That would be a consideration as well. I have seen the ploy where one person comes in "to use the restroom" while a second acts as a look out and cases the business. Another area to have cameras cover is the door(s) to the bathroom and the rear exit "funnel of death". As far as furniture in your waiting patient area avoid glass, and sharp edged metal type furniture or anything that an angry person could throw ie. glass vases, ceramic decorator pieces. JMHO.
 

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Have a back up camera, a panic button (dials 911, locks front door), and a camera that can check the parking lot, monitored from the desk if you want to be pretty secure. If you don't expect to have violent clients or store money on premises then probably don't need all that.

Is that an inner office or does the door open out onto a parking lot?

You probably want an alarm system and a way to protect patient records, some backup or off-site computer record storage.

I'd check out other, similar offices and see what they use.

Good luck!
 

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I think you have a great start and some excellent suggestions have been made. For his office I would place his desk facing the door on the opposite side of the room.... and dont forget the flame throwers and photon cannos...no security plan is complete without them :danceban:
 

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It sounds like you are mostly concerned about people entering the building while your husband is in session. As someone in a related biz, you might think about furniture placement such that clients do not get between your husband and the exit. Good luck,

-Scotty
 

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One of the most important things you can do is to have windows in every room so secratary has visual access to room. The biggest problem your likely to face is harassment or he said she said probs. one way glass works best till gives illusion of privacy. Or at the very least video all sessions.
 

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One of the most important things you can do is to have windows in every room so secratary has visual access to room. The biggest problem your likely to face is harassment or he said she said probs. one way glass works best till gives illusion of privacy. Or at the very least video all sessions.
Without making the patient aware, I don't think you can do this. It would be a violation of patient privacy. Most "outpatient" type clients would likely protest this kind of setup IMO.

I 2nd the option to add an alarm system with strategic panic buttons, and also staging the office so that when a patient may loose temper, there are minimal objects and furniture that can become weapons or hazards.
 

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Better check the law. Where I live and in other places I used to live, you could not carry a gun in any mental health facility even a regular hospital that treated mental patients. I am the security guy for my company, along with other things and the biggest problem is the people. No matter what systems you have in place, people will grow lax after a long period of nothing bad happening. It is human nature and even saw it in Vietnam despite the deadly consequences. We had two offices robbed during the day because the people in it no longer checked the video monitors or paid attention to the chime.

One tip I can give you is to make sure that the chime and video monitors are in every room where people will be because most companies put the chime by the door and the monitors at one desk and if that person is in the rest room or otherwise away from their station/desk, that is what criminals are looking for and will enter at the time. All of the robberies my company had happened during the day when the receptionist was away from her desk. No matter how much security I put in, the failure is always with the staff. Even when we used to buzz people in, the staff always ended up automatically buzzing people in when they knocked or rang the bell. Does not matter if they are the owner or an employee who knows they will be fired for doing it. It always happens after a certain period of time. YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
The offices are in a one story building that has three other businesses in it; each one has a door that leads to the parking lot. All the businesses are not the types that people randomly visit —they're more appointment-oriented— and the building is located in an office district across from an elementary school. So it would raise hairs right away if a random person came in and asked to use the bathroom.

I would like to have a buzz-in door system, but that leaves my husband to stop what he's doing, look on monitor, and hit the button to allow the person in the door. Since that would be in the middle of a therapy session and possibly interrupt a critical moment of it, I know he's not up to that type of system, even though I know it would be best for overall security. But I want something he's going to be sure to use and not disable because of inconvenience. The monitor will be placed where he can glance at it while still facing his client, with the least amount of distraction.

When we get an actual receptionist, then we will have the door system that needs to have the receptionist open it.

The type of video security I chose is expandable to up to 4 cameras, so when we need to, we can get more. There's only one monitor, though, and I'm not sure if that part is expandable. His partner won't be in the office most of the time.

It sounds like you are mostly concerned about people entering the building while your husband is in session. As someone in a related biz, you might think about furniture placement such that clients do not get between your husband and the exit. Good luck,
My first layout for his office had his desk/chair and the couch switched, which put him between the clients and the door, but then it put him directly across the glass door. My thought was some cowardly nut would shoot right through the door and run. And then putting his desk on the side with the door makes him the first thing someone sees if they crack the door to peek in. There doesn't seem to be real win-win in the layout dept., so I'm weighing the likelihood of scenarios. I have my older thread here in my mind when planning.

One nice thing is that the police department is on the same road, two buildings down. :yup:
 
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You do not need a dedicated paid person to just sit there to ring people in. A CC camera, combined with a WiFi enabled dead bolt, and active internet connection to your smart phone can allow any one of you (with athority) to ring someone in, or at a minimum, interact with them real time, at the door, to make that decision. Doors are meant to be locked.
 
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