This past week marked 2014’s National Personal Safety Day, organised by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and is an annual event aimed at highlighting some of the simple, practical solutions that everyone can use to help avoid violence and aggression in today’s society.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust was founded in 1986 following the disappearance of the young estate agent. The aim of the Trust is to raise awareness of the importance of personal safety and to help people to avoid violence and aggression and live safer, more confident lives.
This year’s theme – ‘Door 2 Door’ looked at the personal safety issues in your journey from departure to arrival. The campaign included awareness posters and messages (pictured – click for a larger view) as well as a host of personal safety leaflets available to download and keep.
We’ve chosen to highlight the leaflet ‘Personal Safety for Estate Agents’ as it’s probably the most fitting in light of the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh nearly 30 years ago. However, the advice isn’t just limited to those in the Estate Agency sector but many of the tips can be adopted by Housing Officers, Social Workers and those who visit homes on a regular basis.
Personal Safety for Estate Agents
Estate agents spend much of their working day meeting strangers and showing them around empty properties. There are obvious personal safety risks associated with these tasks so we would offer the following advice to help minimise those risks.
- Always record the name, address and contact phone numbers of all clients where the information is easily accessible to colleagues.
- Make sure your manager or colleagues know where you are going and who you are meeting.
- Always try and check a client’s authenticity before leaving for an appointment, e.g. call their work number to check it’s genuine and they do work there. If in doubt ask a colleague to accompany you to a property.
- If possible, arrange for the client to visit the office before meeting them at the property so that your colleagues have also seen/met them.
- If you do have to meet them at the property first, it’s a good idea to ‘log them in’ as soon as they arrive and before you enter the property with them.
- You can do this by calling the office (or even your own voicemail if no-one is available to talk to) and saying, for example, “I’m at X address and Mr Y has just arrived. We’ll be approx. 20 minutes looking round the property and I’ll call you as soon as we’re finished.”
- This logs you in as being at that address with that client – and the client is aware that this has occurred without feeling offended
- Always arrange to call the office as soon as you have finished the viewing.
- Never offer the client a lift or accept a lift from them to or from the property if you will be the only member of staff in the car.
- Consider carrying a screech alarm, which you could use to shock and disorientate an attacker if necessary, giving you vital time to get away.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy about anything – whether when first speaking to the client on the phone or when meeting them in person – don’t tell yourself it’s fine; take action to improve your safety. For example, arrange for a colleague to attend the viewing with you or make an excuse to leave and don’t enter the property.
We’ve added an extra piece of advice…
- Carry a personal alarm – Skyguard’s MySOS device or mobile phone applications allow lone workers to raise the alarm to a Control Centre at the touch of a button. Many Estate Agents and Housing Officers already trust and use this lifeline on a daily basis. Read some of our case studies to find out why or for a free trial, you can click here.