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Question: When addressing a suspected intruder, it is best to:
- Attempt to shake hands with the individual, to see if the handshake is reciprocated.
- Leave it up to coworkers who know more people in the building to decide what to do.
- Use open-ended questions when asking the person the purpose of his/her visit.
- Maintain civility and trust your intuition about whether to let him or her pass.
Quick answer: Use open-ended questions when asking the person the purpose of his/her visit.
This page is a part of FEMA IS-906: Workplace Security Awareness Answers.
Indeed, when addressing a suspected intruder, it is best to use open-ended questions to ascertain the purpose of their visit. Open-ended questions cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, but require a more detailed response. This approach allows for a better evaluation of the individual’s legitimacy.
Here are a few tips on how to handle a situation with a suspected intruder:
- Use open-ended questions: Ask questions like “Who are you here to see?” or “What department are you visiting?” These questions require more than a yes or no answer and can give you a better understanding of whether the person has a legitimate reason for being there.
- Verify their information: If the person claims to have an appointment or to be visiting a specific individual or department, verify this information before allowing them to proceed.
- Be aware of evasion: If the person becomes evasive when asked for more details, this could be a sign that they do not have a legitimate reason for being there.
- Notify security or a supervisor: If you suspect that a person is an intruder, notify security or your supervisor. They can take the appropriate action to handle the situation.
- Enlist a coworker’s help: If possible, ask a coworker to keep an eye on the individual while you notify security or your supervisor.
- Prioritize safety: If at any point the individual becomes threatening, abusive, or violent, do not attempt to handle the situation yourself. Instead, back off and wait for security or your supervisor to arrive.
Source: FEMA – Challenging Unknown Individuals – Additional Tips