Security Guard Duties – Controlling Access and Egress (Part 1)

Atlanta, GA – This is the first of a four part series on Physical Security Measures for Atlanta companies.

  • Week 1 – Why Control Access & Egress and Personnel Control
  • Week 2 – Property Control
  • Week 3 – Vehicle Control
  • Week 4 – Lock & Key Control

A key duty of a security guard is to control the access and egress to a facility or area.  The purpose of controlling access and egress is to ensure that only authorized personnel, vehicles, and materials are allowed to enter, move within, and leave the facility. This provides the protection for all personnel and property within, and the facility itself. Security Officers, by their presence and professional performance of duties, will discourage, detect, and detain potential violators. People associated with criminals/criminal activity tend to avoid facilities and/or areas where there are professional Security Officers on site.

Why Control Access and Egress

The Security Guard’s duty is to protect the people who work in and visit client owned or controlled facilities and property contained within. With effective access and egress control, this can be accomplished daily. Effective access and egress control will prevent personnel or material with the potential to cause damage from gaining entry into the facility. It will also prevent personnel from leaving the facility with equipment/materials not authorized to be taken out.

Access and egress is controlled by Security Officers and physical equipment such as locks, intrusion alarms, and the appropriate sign-in/out logs. Security measures will vary according to the area/location and type of facility. Some buildings will have the potential to be a greater target than others based on the occupants of the facility. Levels of access/egress control will be set accordingly. In all cases, the security guard is the primary deterrent.

Personnel Control

Several categories of personnel will require access to and be permitted egress from secured facilities. These include employees, contractors, emergency personnel and visitors. Post Orders should be developed to facilitate a smooth operation for all personnel concerned, whether entering or departing.  The procedures in place for the facility should present a feeling of “safety” and “security” as well as discourage potential unauthorized personnel from attempting entry.

There are several procedures for managing entry to a building or area. Open access and egress is used for buildings or some internal areas where there is no need for control, and people may come and go as they please. In areas where access control is needed, there are several procedures established according to location such as:

  • Presentation of valid, approved photographic identification.
  • An agency provided access list with names of personnel authorized entry used in conjunction with valid photo identification.
  • Personnel allowed access with the proper photo identification but requiring an agency sponsor/escort for entry.
  • Some personnel have been issued “key cards” which will allow them access via a locked door, turnstiles, or other protected/secured areas.

Facilities should have 100% screening for all visitors. Some higher threat locations will require personnel to walk through the magnetometer and all possessions to be processed through an x-ray machine. The machines are not for harassment, but for safety. Designed to detect the possible presence of weapons, incendiary devices, or other prohibited items/material. The security guard will also visually check other items such as laptop computers, and cellular telephones.

During the screening process it is important that security officers be familiar with the beliefs and customs of different cultures/religions. Visitors to the facility may be dressed in cultural or religious garments and/or be in possession of religious articles. The following considerations will be afforded while conducting a search of someone wearing or carrying cultural or religious articles:
– Show respect to all variations of faith during inspections.
– Explain why you need to conduct a security search.
– If possible, searches should generally be conducted by a guard of the same gender.
– If necessary and available, a private room may be offered for the search to be conducted.

A culturally aware security guard may prevent embarrassing situations and portray the client in a positive light.

In the event an individual sets off the alarm walking through the magnetometer, the security guard will first ensure he/she has removed all metal objects from their person.  They will then instruct the person to walk through again. If the alarm sounds again, the security guard  will use a hand-held wand if available to pinpoint the location of the metal material.

Once the normal control procedures for employees or visitors have been met, the security guard may allow entry into the facility. Visitors may have to be issued visitor’s passes and/or escorted. If someone refuses to comply with the established procedures for entry into a facility, they must not be allowed access.


Click here for Next week’s installment on – Property Control




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