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Scary Situations in Self-Storage: Do You Feel Safe at Work?

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While you might not think working as a self-storage operator is a risky job, it can be. There are many possible scenarios in which you could face some kind of danger. Would you know how to react?

A few months ago, a self-storage manager was conducting a routine walk-through at her facility when she came across an unexpected and frightening occurrence. She noticed a unit door was missing a lock, so she opened it to see what was happening. There was a man inside, and he pointed a gun directly at her. She quickly returned to the front office and called police.

Using the facility’s security cameras, she was able to provide a description of the man as well as where he was inside the building. Police found him as he attempted to drive away and made an arrest. They later discovered a BB gun inside his unit.

Unfortunately, working at a self-storage facility comes with risk. Many operators spend large portions if not all of their day alone. While most sites have great security systems in place, not all facilities employ perimeter fencing, keypads and cameras. Even fewer have an “emergency” button behind the counter like the kind they have inside banks and other places that are often targeted by thieves.

Operators also meet with people daily. While the majority them present no threat, some will. They might come across those who abuse drugs and alcohol or have mental health issues, or simply an angry tenant looking to vent. Any of these situations can spiral out of control and become dangerous.

Sadly, students now regularly practice shooter drills. Even some businesses are conducting this kind of training for their employees. Would you know how to react if danger landed on your doorstep? Does your company have a policy for what to do in a variety of risky situations?

I’d love to say threats like the one the manager above encountered are unlikely. Unfortunately, it’s not. You can peruse our crime topic page to read about recent events at self-storage facilities.

I recently posted a thread on Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s largest online community, on this topic. I’m seeking operators who’ve encountered a dangerous event at their site, like having a gun pointed at you, an unstable tenant or even a coworker who posed a threat. I’ll share these real-life happenings along with advice in an upcoming ISS article. If you have a story to share, advice for others on staying safe, a great company policy or would like to contribute to my article, email [email protected].

If you don’t feel like your working environment is safe, whether it’s due to a lack of security measures, policies or something else, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself. The National Crime Prevention Council covers dozens of topics on its website including how to stay safe at work. We’ve all become more vigilant these days. Still, there’s always room for improvement. Take some time to consider how safe you feel at work, then look for some ways to bolster your defenses.

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