Outdoor Security 101: 5 upgrades camps and conference centers should consider

Camps and conference centers provide a common ground for meeting, socializing and relaxing. You want to keep it that way.

Here are five simple, but important, upgrades you can make to help ensure the safety of those who work, visit or volunteer at your facility.

1. Consider your foliage. Keep all bushes around your buildings and structures trimmed so people cannot hide behind them.

2. Lock as many doors as possible. With so many cabins and lodges at a camp, it's difficult to lock all doors 24/7. Be sure to keep the main gate locked or guarded. No one should enter or leave camp without the knowledge of a counselor or camp director.

Likewise, you also need to restrict access at conference centers. You’ll want to unlock the main doors during normal business hours. After that, be sure your doors and windows are closed and locked.

3. Keep track of keys. It's not unusual for camps to have duplicate copies of keys for doors. Be sure you know who has those keys at any given time. (Avoid keeping valuables in cabins or rooms that do not have locks on doors and don't let campers bring valuables to camp.)

Conference centers regularly hand out multiple keys too. Try to limit distribution to just a few people and keep a record of who in your organization has a key. Also, never hide a key outside and rekey your locks if a key is lost or not returned.

4. Turn on the lights. At night, keep at least one interior light on in the main building(s) at your camp. It gives the impression that the buildings are occupied.

Conference centers should keep hallways and entryways lit at night. This also helps give the appearance of activity in the building.

In addition, outdoor lighting is an inexpensive way to add security around your facilities. Ample lighting in the right places makes intruders less likely to see your buildings or grounds as easy targets. Parking lot and street entrances into the parking lot also should be well lit.

5. Invite the community to get involved. If your camp is large enough, establish a communal alert system with the other lodges or cabins around your grounds.

At conference centers, consider starting a Neighborhood Watch program. People are always willing to look out for one another because they want their community to be safe as much as you do. Ask your local police or sheriff’s department about how to get started.

To review more safety resources, visit https://www.churchmutual.com/campsafety.

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