Agile Member Service

Effective member service, especially in community-based organizations, requires a certain type of agility: everyone knows each other, and familiarity can suppress diligence.

Learning Objectives

Agile Member Service introduces learners to these objectives:

  1. Understand that note taking is the foundation of any response you make
  2. Prepare your notebook as your shift begins
    • Poor notes lead the an assumption of unreliable testimony
  3. Understand that there are legal expectations
    • Accurate reporting is essential even when “minor” litigation occurs
  4. Evaluate your notes for completeness and accuracy
  5. Write notes that meet both legal requirements and your community’s written policies

Taking Notes

Taking notes is an important skill. Notes are used to describe and record the details of an incident clearly, concisely, factually, and professionally. When properly recorded, your notes will succinctly justify a member service resolution.

Compose your notes so that the event can be recalled months or even years later. A simple way to do this is to record the note by date and time, such as…

2020.07.30 (13h00)

This translates as July 30, 2020 (1pm). Any method that records the date and time is fine so long as the same method is used throughout.

Locate all necessary information and ensure that your notes are complete. Write notes according to established LPHQ guidelines in the absence of a notebook.

The duty to report is a basic and important skill for member service officers. Only visible presence is more important to agile member service.

The duty to report does not require member service officers to use a sophisticated reporting system but they do need to follow a few basic procedures.

Records & Reports

A member service officer will observe and report only when necessary. The principal duty of a member service officer is to provide a visible presence. The typical MSO report will likely be very short, outlining…

  1. Arrival time on campus
  2. What briefings were given (if any)
  3. What post is assigned (if any)
  4. Who relieves a post (note time)
  5. The time you complete your shift
  6. The time you leave campus (if different from shift-end)

Notebooks

Notes are crucial during any attempt to resolve a member service issue. It is unprofessional to offer service resolutions without a written outline of the complaint and how the MSO attempts to resolve it.
Notes should reflect a member service officer’s independent recollection of an incident. They must be written…

  1. While events are still fresh in the member service officer’s mind, and
  2. Without collaboration with other witnesses or responders

The Duty To Report Policy requires that member service officers who respond to an incident are separated from each other while compiling their reports.

Whenever possible, every member service who attends an interview should take independent notes to ensure the integrity of the interview.


Health & Safety

Due Diligence

In this article, due diligence means “the level of judgement, care, prudence, determination, and activity that a person would reasonably be expected to do under particular circumstances.” Due diligence is an important adjunct to agile member service, and it applies to organizations as well as individual member service officers. Communities appointing member service officers must take every reasonable precaution to prevent workplace injuries or accidents. The community must plan for, and implement, procedures to…

  • Identify possible workplace hazards, and
  • Implement actions that prevent hazards from causing accidents or injuries

Reasonably Practicable

In this article, reasonably practicable means implementing precautions that are both possible and particularly suited to a situation.

The member service officer on a small campus with little parking will not, for example, have much to do with traffic control — but is there construction on or nearby the campus? The member service officer may encounter traffic control hazards unrelated to the campus she (he) serves.

Employers. Ontario’s online Guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act states…

All workplace parties have a responsibility for promoting health and safety in the workplace and a role to play to help the workplace be in compliance with the statutory requirements set out under the Act.
The respective roles and responsibilities for all workplace parties are detailed in the Act. This is the basis for the internal responsibility system.

This course constantly emphasizes that visible presence is the principal duty of member service officers. Visible presence applies also to the organization, which must ask their member service officers to monitor and report on safety. The Community Specific Post Orders will speak to this; it may be reasonable on some campuses and not on others.

General Awareness

These are some of the common hazards you will encounter:

  • slip and fall hazards due to spilled liquids, ice, snow, or routine cleaning
  • overhead falling hazards, such as dangling overhead cables, loose building materials, icicles, and so on
  • insecure or unsafe electrical wires, such as HVAC or utility wiring
  • burnt out lights, especially large industrial lighting that may require an electrician to handle
  • loose materials such as floorboards, molding, stairs, or linoleum
  • insecure handrails or barriers, especially if falling from a height is foreseeable

Fire Hazards

Anything that produces heat has the potential to cause a fire. Other common hazards are…

Workplace Violence

An act of workplace violence occurs even when there is threat of physical violence. Workplace violence includes harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behaviour.

Emergency Response

What Is A Disaster? A disaster is a serious incident that is both unexpected and unanticipated. It is impossible or impractical to adequately plan for.

What Is An Emergency? An emergency is an unexpected, serious incident where life, health, property, or surroundings are at risk.

It’s obvious to most that fires and natural disasters (“property” and “surroundings” respectively) are emergencies. Other incidents are not as easy to define.

A Simple Definition of ‘Emergency’

A condition where life, health, or property is in jeopardy, and the prompt summoning of aid is essential.

Responding To An Emergency

A member service officer’s visible presence will reduce panic, after which the MSO works to…

  • maintain order
  • protect life and property (in that order)
  • restrict (or prevent) public access, and
  • ensure access to emergency responders

Some or all of these duties may be in conjunction with licensed security guards on site. Security personnel, when present, should take the lead unless they are unfamiliar with the site. This is less likely for in-house security and reasonably possible for contract security. ARM-LP communities should always have someone present to manage the incident under these circumstances.

Mitigation

Most emergencies require urgent intervention to ensure the situation does not become worse. Mitigation may not be possible. Sometimes the best a responder or public response agency can offer is aftermath care — to help pick up pieces after the emergency abates.

What Does ‘Environment’ Mean?

It’s not difficult to agree that human health, life, and property are important. Does this extend to animal welfare?

Would you answer differently if the animal were a service animal helping an emotionally disabled human client?

An Emergency By Any Definition Includes…

  1. Fire
  2. Weather-related disasters such as
    • Floods
    • Tornados or hailstorms
    • Serious animal infestations
    • Brownouts or blackouts
  3. Toxic spills
  4. Bombs or bomb threats
  5. Building collapse

Response + Ability

Member Service Officers and member service officers must be able to alert building occupants, contact listed keyholders, call appropriate emergency responders, and manage the incident until relieved by higher authority. The member service officer must…

    1. Activate alarms
    2. Contact…
      • the correct emergency service(s)
      • property owners or managers
    3. Direct occupants via intercom
      • Traffic control may also be necessary
    4. Evacuate the building
      • Secure the evacuated premises
      • Prevent anyone from re-entering until clearance is given by the incident manager
    5. Carefully…
      • observe the scene
      • note your observations
      • inform or assist emergency service personnel, and
      • report your observations to incident responders or investigators

The Emergency Measures Plan

The EMP is one or more documents that establish likely emergency scenarios and outlines appropriate responses. We will consider a simple type of EMP based on answering these questions:

A. What are the reasonable risks to plan for?

B. Where are the fire extinguishers, water/gas valves, electrical panels, floor drains… ?

C. Is there a designated place to safely gather to reunite? Where are…
(1) the safe exits from your building?
(2) the safe exits from your neighbourhood?

D. Who is…
(1) authorised to use personal contacts to keep family children and friends informed
(2) authorised to keep personal information safe, such as health and life insurance?

Knowing the Risks

North America is a diverse landmass of roughly 20 million square kilometers (7.5 million sq mi), with vastly differing climates and bordered by numerous seas and three oceans. A lot can go wrong.

Hurricanes affect the Atlantic coast, earthquakes affect the Pacific coast (and elsewhere), blizzards affect many parts of the plains and Great Lakes, as do tornadoes.

One of the two lowest population densities in the world — only Australia’s is lower — means some areas do not have enough people to ensure quick emergency responses.

The Simplest Risk To Plan For

First aid is probably the most common emergency respond a guard or member service officer provides. People have accidents that cause bleeding, pain, and panic.

Fire Risk

Fire watch is probably the most basic service any guard or member service officer provides. Smoke, heat, and fire are significant risks to people and property. Member service officers will become aware of fire in one of these ways…

(1) You observe it while maintaining a visible presence
(2) A witness reports it
(3) The fire alarm system is triggered
While Visibly Present. A member service officer is not a firefighter.

Community specific post orders (CSPO) will provide what duties a guard or MSO undertakes after people have been evacuated. The CSPO usually authorises responders to only contact 911.
Follow these directions carefully. Do not attempt anything unsafe .

The MSO may be required to
(1) Await the fire department
(2) Guide them to the fire
(3) Provide access to emergency vehicles (if security is absent)
(4) Assist responders as requested
The MSO’s principal duty is to evacuate the property after alerting the fire department. Evacuation should not rely on the presence of security. The member service officer…
(1) IMMEDIATELY INITIATES A FIRE ALARM
(2) Checks the area for occupants
(3) Begins an orderly evacuation of the building
(4) Calls 911 (fire department)
(5) Speak confidently and inform the dispatcher of the fire
(6) Listen carefully to the dispatcher and answer appropriately
(7) Avoid making observations or comments unless asked
(8) Provide necessary information requested by the 911 Operator