Ministry of the
Solicitor General

PSIS - Security Guard Study Guide Emergency Response Prep

Private Security and Investigative Services

Basic Testing

Security Guard Test Preparation Guide

Section 6 - Emergency Response Preparation

Security guards are expected to respond to emergency situations and to minimize the impact caused where the security guard is working. They may be required to perform a variety of duties during emergency procedures and should understand the importance of scene management.

Emergency Situations

It is important for security guards to know how to identify potential emergencies and what procedures to follow.

Emergencies may involve fire, bombs, weapons, suspicious packages or explosive devices. The extent of personal injury or property damage that arises from an emergency situation can vary.

Emergency Response Procedures

Security guards should be familiar with any emergency response procedures shared with them by their employer to ensure an effective response during an emergency. These procedures provide a course of action for preparing and responding to an emergency.

Security guards should be aware of any plans that are in place to respond to any sudden, unexpected action that may cause personal injury or property damage. Plans would be based on the best available information as to the type of emergencies that may arise and the extent of personal injury and property damage that may occur. These plans would determine what equipment should be acquired and what training should be provided in order to respond effectively and quickly to any emergency.

Potential Roles of a Security Guard During an Emergency

A security guard’s role in certain emergency situations is determined by the employer or client and should be documented before the security guard begins to work on the site.

For example, the expected response to an intrusion alarm will vary depending on the employer. In some cases, the security guard will be expected to call the clients and the police and await their arrival. In other cases, security guards may be asked to investigate the cause of the alarm and secure the scene.

In the case of a fire, the security guard may be expected to activate the fire alarm and contact the fire department. The security guard may also be expected to assist with the evacuation of the premises, including crowd control, and provide direction to emergency personnel when they arrive.

Prevention and Detection of Fires

The detection and prevention of fires is an essential part of the duties of a security guard.

Whether on patrol or operating a fixed point, a security guard should be constantly on the lookout for fire hazards. Watching for the common things that are likely to generate a fire (for example, electrical equipment that produces heat or sparks when it shouldn’t, combustibles placed near sources of heat, or routinely scanning for evidence that a fire has already started such as alarms that have been activated or smoke and heat in places where they shouldn’t be found) is likely to assist security guards in the performance of their duties.

Some basic things to watch for:

  • explosives or flammables should not be stored near potential sources of ignition
  • corridors, particularly those that are likely to be used in an emergency evacuation, should always remain free of obstructions or impediments, and combustible or flammable materials should not be stored there
  • exit doors, including the floor area on both sides of the exit door, should be kept clear and accessible at all times
  • damage or deterioration of fire suppressors
  • fire alarm systems must be operative.

Alarm Response

Security guards respond to alarms, and should have a basic understanding of the principles of protective and fire alarm systems that they are likely to encounter, with some information on the functioning of such systems.

There are several types of alarm systems:

  • infrared (most common) - detects motion in large areas by picking up infrared (heat) changes
  • physical contact - detects a door or window being opened when the two parts of a sensor come apart
  • photo-electric beams - detects a visible or infrared beam being broken, like garage doors use
  • seismic - detects physical shocks in certain frequency ranges like glass breaking
  • vibration - detects movement using very sensitive sensors mounted on fences or other structures
  • ultrasonic (rare) - detects motion like bats, using bouncing sound waves we can't hear
  • microwave (rare) - detects motion using bouncing microwaves
  • electric fields (rare) - detects presence using electrical wires, measuring changes in amplitude
  • trip wires (rare) - detects intrusion when someone physically bumps a tightly strung wire.

During alarm response, guards should stay in touch with the dispatcher, a supervisor, or another guard when possible. The guard’s own safety is the priority. If a crime is witnessed or confirmed from the findings, the guard should call police immediately and back off, observing the area from a safe distance.

Duty of Care

Security guards need to be familiar with the concept of duty of care (what a reasonable person should do in a particular situation) and be capable of securing and protecting a crime scene until the appropriate personnel arrive.


Saskatchewan Justice – Corrections, Public Safety and Policing: Private Investigator and Security Guard Training Manual (2012)

  • Chapter 5 – Access Control and Alarm Systems
  • Chapter 8 – Response to Immediate Crisis