The beginning of the year is a good time to review safety issues.
No matter how small or large your consignment, resale, or thrift shop is, there will be challenges to be met at some point this year. So let’s do some prep work:
Do you know where your shop’s main water cut-off valve is? The circuit breakers? Can all staff members operate the fire extinguishers? Have you checked your battery back-up lighting recently?
Periodically change all computer passwords, and if you have any doubt whatsoever as to who might have keys to your business, change the locks as well.
If you have a rear fire exit door, make sure it’s closed whenever you pass. A dishonest customer could leave it ajar for an accomplice. And of course, access to that door must be kept completely clear. How clear? Imagine a shop full of panicked customers. That’s how clear.
Where’s the nearest medical help from your location? Do all staffers know this? All emergency phone numbers posted, in type large enough to read without eyeglasses or lighting?
If the electricity goes off: Where are the flashlights, how will you escort customers in areas with no lighting, and how will you make sales with no electricity? (Yes, they will want to keep buying: I once had to inSIST that a shopper come out of the dressing room now, since the light fixtures were dripping molten plastic as the ceiling fire spread!)
Have you discussed with all staff and helpers what to do if confronted with a robber? Have you gone over with all who open or close the shop, what to do in case it looks like a burglary has taken place, how to exit at night, and other scenarios?
Do all staff members have all other staff members’ phone numbers handy? Do you have a “meet-up” location set up for cases like flooding and tornadoes? If your staff is large, do you have a phone tree set up for emergency situations?
Do you have, in several safe places, the resources you may need on a moment’s notice: the emergency barricade company if your plate-glass window is demolished by a car wreck, for example?