Downtown Toronto Condo Fire Emergency April 2020

Downtown Toronto Condo Fire April 2020

A High Risk Night – Literally a “Trial by Fire”

It was late at night when the fire alarm began loudly sounding from the speakers everywhere in the building.  Ready for such emergencies, the Condor concierge who was at the front desk at the time immediately began the fire alarm procedure.

Just a few hours prior, the police were contacted for a disturbance and had arrived to speak with the persons inside a unit.  Was there a connection?  Could there be a more severe risk? 

“It would be a true test of everything put in place up until that point.”

The building itself is no stranger to fire alarms, as it is connected to a hotel. False fire alarms and nuisance fire alarms unfortunately are a regular occurrence. And this is the real danger at hand. When residents are so used to false alarms there is a very significant risk that when a real fire occurs there will be complacency and the alarm would be ignored. The destructive nature of a fire is not one that can be taken lightly.

So, on this night, when the alarm activated, it would be a true test of everything that had been put into place up until that point:

  • a test of the level of training provided to the Concierge on how to handle fire alarm emergencies;
  • a test of the culture and responsiveness of the residential community;
  • a test of the proper function of the building emergency systems maintained by the coordinated work all contractors responsible for regular maintenance and testing
  • and of course a test of the Property management itself in their overseeing the building

Attending fire fighters were unfortunately welcomed by a real fire taking place.

Police in area for assault when fire started

The Story as Told by Vipasha, the Condor Security Guard on duty during the Fire

What follows is a personal account of the incident directly from the Condor Concierge team member on duty, Vipasha:

Condor Concierge Security Guard Vipasha profile

“The incident that occured on 17th April, 2020, consisted of four major events: a domestic dispute, a fire, a flood, and a death of one of the residents in a unit affected by the fire.

All events overlapped, and time was one constraint that was not working in our favour that day. All of that was as traumatising for everybody as it was for me, watching somebody die in front of your eyes, makes you numb for a while.  As I have never experienced such in my life, I was not sure what should I be doing.

Then I thought, I am the person who is here to provide security to all the residents of the building and if I show signs of panic and nervousness then all the residents interacting with me are going to panic and lose courage, therefore I did what as a Security Guard one must do – show courage, be calm, think on the feet, and come up with solutions as things occur.  Eventually, that helped me handle this situation.

While I was getting trained to be a security guard, I learnt techniques to handle situations, how to talk, how to do fire procedures, and how to stay calm all the time, but along with every technical aspect of the training, I learnt one more thing – how  not to lose your courage in difficult times.

One Condor repeatedly saying in training is, “your safety is most important.”  As I went through more modules of security I observed that all the training modules were based on the fact that we have to be safe first and then manage incidents keeping that in mind.

Show courage, be calm, think on the feet, and come up with solutions as things occur

So during my experience, when I went to the 12th floor where this incident happened, I was maintaining a safe distance from the victim and tried asking him questions which can help me decide what my next step could be. I was well aware of the attacker, his aggression and potential to attack people, so I decided to separate the victim from the attacker.  As the attacker went into the unit and locked himself in, I quickly brought the victim to the lobby, so that I can buy some time to take necessary steps like calling the police and informing the building superintendent.

Being a security guard, our first and foremost duty is to secure property and people in the building we are working in, therefore I kept residents protected by advising them not to interact with the attacker and to remain calm and safe inside their units.

I told them to contact me if they need any assistance and be safe when police arrive.

Police in area for assault when fire started firetrucks on street
Police in Area for Assault when Fire Started

We simultaneously made several announcements about the fire to evacuate residents from the building. We informed some of them by phone as well, and I was in touch with all the residents who were calling me to make sure they evacuated the building and were safe. I was on the phone constantly so if any resident called me I would be able to provide them with assistance.

When the fire services arrived I gave them the list of all residents with medical conditions so that they would be able to prioritize those evacuations, since they might not be able to evacuate by themselves.

All I thought was if, “I were living in this building what would I expect my security guard to do?” and then I did the same.”

Words of Wisdom for Security Guards

Condor asked Vipasha to share the lessons she took from this incident, and to give advice to other Condor Team members on how to deal with similar incidents in the future:

Eric Senior Condor Security Operations Training Manager
Eric Senior, Condor Operations and Training Manager

My mentor Eric Senior (Condor’s Operations and Training Manager) taught me how to be present in the situation and how to strategically prioritise situations as you deal with them. And that’s what I did on Friday; I differentiated the incidents and applied what I was trained for. I followed the procedure for domestic dispute, then flooding and the fire procedure all at once.

Also, my Site Supervisor Hosni has been a great teacher to me, he has always taught me after the mistakes I have made, always encouraged me to work effectively and efficiently. I would say these were the main reasons that made me deal with all the incidents that happened on site that day.

I have learnt throughout my life that we should learn from our mistakes. However, according to me, learning from mistakes is just one part of it, applying what you have learnt at the right time at right situations is what makes the difference and helps you grow through life.

“Applying what you have learned at the right time at right situations is what makes the difference and helps you grow through life.”

My suggestions to fellow Condor Team members are:

Always know what you are doing, if you are not sure, ask for help.

Understand the nature of job and your responsibilities and duties as a security guard.

Do not depend on others when it comes to thinking on the feet and immediate decision making, because one late decision can cause a great loss in some situations.

Always be observant and aware of your surroundings and people around you, you will get to learn a lot for sure.

Have courage in and believe in yourself, what you can do perfectly, nobody else can deliver the same quality, so have faith in yourself first and then others.

Also I would suggest everybody working in this industry to be compassionate towards others.  Every day is a training itself, learn from what you have done and never think you are always right, because everybody has different perspective and everybody sees things differently. So we should gain experience from others and help them grow by sharing what our experiences have been and never forget, at the end of the day we all are humans.

Final Words:

Pride, Gratitude, Sympathy, Commitment, Community

Vipasha at desk with covid protection
Condor Concierge & Security Guard Vipasha at her Covid-19 Protected Front Desk

Condor is extremely proud of the actions taken by Vipasha, the Condor Concierge on duty during this incident. Your actions have saved lives and you can be proud of your response for the rest of your life. When you were called to perform at your best in a real life situation, not just a training scenario, you answered the call with courage and professionalism. Thank you for your dedication.

One of the members of the Condo’s Board of Directors, shared these words of thanks:  “Thank you Condor.  Hats off to the exceptional training that your firm delivers to your staff.  Vipasha (and Hosni) are superstars!”

“Thank you Condor! Hats off to the exceptional training that your firm delivers to your staff.  Vipasha (and Hosni) are superstars!”

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the residents, we would like to acknowledge the exceptional efforts made by Vipasha during the unfortunate incident in our building that occurred on April 17, 2020.

Throughout this unprecedented event, Vipasha displayed a calm, efficient and professional manner while responding quickly to the rapidly changing demands that were asked of her. Not everyone could step up the way she did in a split second but she didn’t hesitate.

Her caring and compassionate nature was in full force and helped to diffuse the worry and stress that everyone was experiencing.

She is a credit to your company and we are very grateful to her. Please share your feedback with others in your company as you see fit.

Statement from the Board of Directors

We uphold the responsibility of meeting these work challenges with the right responses when it counts. We will continue to ensure that all of our team will be ready and prepared if another event of this nature occurs.

We hope and trust that other communities in Toronto and our other client communities elsewhere will honor this incident by implementing all the lessons learned, and above all else remembering that there is an essential bond that cannot be broken between your building’s residents and your building’s security team. At the moment of need your security team has a very real responsibility to take swift and appropriate actions that may mean the difference between life and death.

In this time of social distancing and social isolation because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, sometimes we feel a loss of connected-ness.

“Events such as these, though unfortunate, do tend to bring us closer together, and remind us that we are all part of a greater community.”

Condor Management
Toronto Skyline Blog
Security guards in a music event

If you are planning on arranging a big event, then you will need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, potentially serious issues may arise and it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when people’s lives are involved.

Provide Comfort

Evidently, the event should be designed to be a comfortable venue for your guests, as well as a location that will provide your guests with hours of enjoyment.

You Can Never Be Too Careful

Unfortunately, many event planners focus more on the fun aspect of the event than the safety element. Recent mass shootings have shown that one can never be too careful when planning an event. In other words, event safety should supersede fun and games without compromise.

A Top Priority

Due to the aforementioned issues, hiring security should be on the top of your priority list. Here, you will learn about 10 benefits that you can reap by having security at your event.

Prevent Party Crashers

First, when you invite people to your event you want to ensure that uninvited guests do not arrive to crash the party. Unfortunately, keeping track of the guest list can be a daunting task, especially when many guests are involved. Fortunately, having security will ensure that your guest list will be meticulously monitored.

Hassle Free Removals

What’s more, in the unfortunate event that uninvited guests do arrive at your event, your trained security personnel will escort your uninvited intruders off the premises so that you don’t have to do it yourself.

Crowd Control

Another benefit of having security is that, in the event that a disaster was to arise, you won’t have to worry about crowd control. Security guards are well trained in maintaining crowd control in order to prevent chaos. The last thing you want is frightened guests running around causing confusion and bedlam. Your security personnel know where all the exits are and will promptly evacuate your guests.

A Possible Venue Requirement

Moreover, certain venues may actually require that security be on hand. For instance, if alcoholic beverages are being dispensed, then guards will be required by law to be on the premises so that they can handle any fights or other such issues that may arise from patron intoxication.

Outdoor Escorting

Furthermore, if your event is being held late at night, then some of your guests may not feel comfortable walking to their cars alone. As such, your hired security can escort your guests to their cars, so that lurking thieves will be unlikely to try and rob them.

Making Guests Feel Safe

Security guards, as the name implies, are hired to make people feel secure. Even if nothing bad takes place at your event, simply having guards on location will set your guests’ minds at ease, so they can enjoy the event without fear.

Pre-Entry Screenings

Evidently, your security guards will check your guests’ bags at the door to ensure that no one brings guns, knives, or other such items to your event. As an added bonus, having security guards at your event will make your guests feel appreciated. This may help you procure more clients at the event, as a happy client is a loyal one.

Well Prepared Personnel

It goes without saying that when something goes wrong, you want people on the scene that know what to do in a coordinated and quick manner, and security is no exception. In the event that a fire breaks out or an emergency situation arises, your security guards will know what to do to de-escalate the situation.

Minimize Casualties and Chaos

In other words, the guards are trained for extreme situations and will use their extensive training to minimize casualties and reduce commotion. Moreover, once the culprits have been apprehended, the guards will collect all pertinent information and disclose their intel to the local authorities for further investigation.

A Marked Deterrent

Having security on site also means that any would-be criminals will likely be deterred from making a move. That is, simply having guards circulate the premises will drastically reduce the likelihood of a crime taking place.

Divide and Conquer

For instance, you can have half of the guards you’ve hired oversee the parking lot to ensure that your guests’ vehicles are safe, while the other half will look over your guests to ensure that your event takes place without incident.

Ensure the Front Is Secure

As can be seen, there are several reasons to have security at your event, regardless of who is at the event, or the number of guests. It is important to remember to have guards at the entrance of your event as many criminals target the front of an entrance.

Interior and Exterior Surveillance

Having interior and exterior security is also highly recommended, as some criminals or uninvited guests will try to blend into a densely populated crowd to make their move. As such, spread out your security personnel so that they have the best vantage point in the event that something terrible goes down.

Stress-Free Entertainment

In sum, having security at your event can literally be the difference between life and death. Costs and other such issues should not be a priority when both the enjoyment and safety of your guests is involved, and hiring the best personnel for the job will ensure that the ceremonies take place without a hitch.

For more information or to hire your own security services, please call Condor Security at 888-614-5317 or contact us here.

Concierge Services provided in a hotel

Some condominiums provide services that go above and beyond the standard fare, such as 24-hour concierge services. These services can make a great impression on visitors, who often share their positive experiences with friends and family. But more importantly, concierge services can provide a number of valuable benefits to condominium residents. Not only can they help residents feel secure and comfortable in their own homes, but they can also help plan important events, offer assistance in times of emergency, and even complete personal chores and errands for residents.

Personal Assistance Services

A professional concierge will provide the services that a personal assistant would provide for their boss. This can take away the stress that residents feel when planning personal events, as their concierge can help serve as their event planner. It can also provide the perfect level of cover needed to surprise a loved one when planning an unexpected surprise. Whether it’s booking a reservation for an important dinner, or planning a trip to the spa, residents can trust a 24-hour concierge service with help when planning something special.

Excellent Knowledge of Local Spots

For residents who have recently moved to a new area, getting to know local shops and restaurants can prove quite challenging. But in condominiums with 24-hour concierge services, residents can get the help they need, and the answers to their questions, right away. For new residents, this can make the move to a new area that much easier. But even for seasoned locals, the pleasant surprise of finding a great new restaurant nearby can really make their day.

Package Holdings

Over 75% of Canadians have ordered a package online in the past year, and that number is only expected to rise moving forward. But there’s nothing worse that ordering a package and not being able to accept it at the door, having to wait even longer for something you’ve already paid for. A 24-hour concierge service can hold on to parcels for residents until they’re ready to pick them up, providing essential peace of mind for a huge number of condominium residents.

Security Assurance via Phone and Email

Especially for those living in busy urban areas, it can be intimidating to see and hear people you don’t recognize within your own building. Luckily, a 24/7 concierge service is just a call away, so residents can call to report security concerns, or hear a reassuring voice to know that everything in the building is safe and secure. Additionally, residents away travelling no longer have to worry about anything happening to their home while they’re gone. They can simply send an email or make a call at their leisure, and ensure right away that their home is safe and secure. Lastly, if you find that you sometimes forget if you locked your door on the way out, your concierge is there to put your mind at ease.

Transportation Arrangements

If you’ve got a flight to catch, an event to attend, or an important place to be, sometimes transportation can be the last thing on your mind. Or, if you’re having people over for a large gathering, it can be nice to have transportation readily available in advance. This is where your concierge is there to help make your life easier. A 24-hour concierge service will ensure that the ride you need is ready to go when you are, ensuring that the trip to an important destination is anything but stressful.

Dry Cleaning Pickup

Dry cleaning is a task that many residents would like to be able to avoid, if possible. With 24-hour concierge services, you no longer have to worry about clearing your schedule to do your own dry cleaning. Simply drop off your clothing at the front desk, and your concierge is able to send them to the cleaners, and hand-deliver them to your door when they’re ready.

Available 24/7 for Inquiries

Since a 24/7 concierge service is available any time of the day, residents can feel comfortable calling them for emergency issues, instead of being left to fend for themselves. If a resident is locked out of their apartment or experiences a plumbing or electricity issue, they can rest assured knowing that help is available right away. Having your concierge available to talk and help can make a world of difference during difficult, unplanned accidents, and friendly service will ensure that the most stressful issues resolve themselves as soon as possible.

If you’d like to hear more about how 24/7 concierge services can benefit condos and other locations, contact Condor Security at 416 665 1500, or contact us here.

commercial security service in a mall

What is Commercial Security?

Commercial security services offer more comprehensive protection compared to residential services, as they often are required to cover larger spaces. For small and large businesses alike, commercial security services range from video surveillance to onsite security guards. Commercial properties are unique in that they often house a large number of people – customers, employees, and more – making them vulnerable to suspicious individuals. Both automated technology and onsite security personnel help to protect your business or commercial property from damage.

Keep reading for four reasons why you need commercial security services for your business.

1. Alarm systems alert security professionals and authorities of emergency situations

Commercial properties can be outfitted with a wide variety of alarm systems depending on the unique needs of the property. For small retail locations, alarms on the doors and windows can help prevent and protect against intruders who try to break into your establishment. These alarm systems can be connected to smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, so the alarm will sound if there is an emergency situation, alerting the authorities immediately. At Condor Security, we offer monitoring services, so one of our representatives will be able to contact you as soon as an alarm sounds.

2. Onsite security guards protect against intruders

To prevent intruders from breaking into your commercial property, onsite security guards offer additional protection. The mere presence of security guards on a property has been known to reduce the likelihood of it being targeted by vandals or other criminals. Onsite security guards can include a single guard or can be as complex as a unit of mobile patrols. Depending on the size of your property and the unique needs of the building, mobile units may be necessary to adequately protect and guard the entire area. The benefit to having onsite security guards is that they will be able to address any emergency situation immediately. Whether it is a hostile individual, a suspicious individual trying to enter the premises, or a medical emergency, our trained security guards are the first responders to many emergencies. They are fully-trained and equipped to deal with any emergency until the appropriate responders arrive.

3. 24/7 Video surveillance records video monitoring as evidence

Not only does 24/7 video surveillance offer constant monitoring of high-risk of your property, but it can also be used as valuable evidence if an unfortunate incident occurs. Our security professionals are trained to install video cameras in the most vulnerable areas of your property. This offers them a comprehensive view of your property and your building.

At Condor Security, we offer 24/7 video surveillance services, so a security professional can be monitoring and protecting your building at all times. All of this video content is recorded and stored in multiple hard-copy and digital formats, allowing you easy access to recordings. In cases of vandalism, theft, or violent crime, having a video recording of the incident can be invaluable evidence in a police investigation or insurance claim, so it is a crucial aspect of commercial security.

4. Customized security services are designed to fit the unique needs of your business

Whether your commercial property needs video surveillance, onsite security guards, alarms, or fast response times by security or emergency responders, we will work with you to design the perfect security system for your property. We offer comprehensive security services that can be customized to fit the unique needs of your small business or commercial property. While some properties may focus more on preventative security such as video cameras, floodlights, security guards, and alarms, other commercial properties may need outdoor mobile security units and constant, 24/7 video monitoring. Our security representatives are available 24/7, offering you instant access to trained professionals who can help direct you in the case of an emergency situation. Not only will they alert the proper authorities or emergency responders, but they will work with you to help ensure your property is safe and your employees or customers are protected.

For anyone with a commercial property or small business, having a comprehensive security system can be just as important as having insurance. From responding to fires and medical emergencies to preventing criminals and suspicious individuals from damaging your property, our security services will help protect your employees, your customers, and your investment.

Why Condor Security?

At Condor Security, we offer fast, reliable, and efficient security services for commercial properties. As the security industry gets more complicated with cutting-edge security technology, we utilize the most efficient and reliable technology to prevent any damage to your property. Our team of trained security professionals will help you find the perfect security system for the unique needs of your property. We will install and show you how to use any video monitoring technology you need for your property, and our 24/7 representatives are always available to help in case of an emergency. We offer comprehensive security services for those in Toronto and the GTA.

For more information about our security services for commercial properties, or to receive a quote for a security system, call one of our representatives at 888-751-5284 or contact us here