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Fight or Flight – What Does it Mean for a Security Guard

There are two parties that can experience fight or flight syndrome in the security guard’s job.  The security guard may experience this feeling or the person(s) that the security guard is dealing with can experience it.

First, let’s examine what fight or flight syndrome is.

Fight or Flight Syndrome

The body has an in-built survival technique that kicks in automatically when one feels that they are in danger.  It can be real or perceived danger.  When someone feels threatened, two systems are activated by the hypothalamus in the brain: the adrenal cortical system and the sympathetic nervous system.  These two thing work together to make muscles more tense and to give the body speed.  Extra adrenaline and noradrenaline, stress hormones, are sent through the bloodstream.  They increase blood pressure and heart rate.  30 more hormones are also released to make the body react faster and be more alert.

How Does This Relate to the Security Guard?

At some point in your job, you may be put in a situation where you are in danger.  When and if that happens, the fight or flight syndrome will kick in.  If you do not recognize these symptoms, you may be more likely to opt for the flight part of it.  This might be the right decisions.  But if you know what is happening and you know that you have been trained to handle the situation, you will be able to stay and “fight”.  Fight does not necessarily mean using physical actions.  It can mean just keeping control of the situation and keeping others safe.  But if you understand what is happening you’ll be more likely to handle yourself appropriately for the specific situation you are in.

On the other hand, it might be the person you are talking to that experiences the fight or flight syndrome.  It is your job to avoid that.  When confronting someone that may be doing something wrong or may have committed a crime, you need to appear to be non-threatening if at all possible.  If they feel that they are in danger the first thing they will do is run.  And if you catch them, which you likely will because you’re in great shape, they will fight.  If they are armed with any weapons, this can be very dangerous for you because the fight or flight syndrome can be very powerful.

Your best armor is knowledge.  The more you understand about the fight or flight syndrome and how it applies to your job, the more likely you will be able to anticipate future actions.

3 Responses to “Fight or Flight – What Does it Mean for a Security Guard”

  1. It’s not easy to stay quiet in face of a threat and with this Fight or Flight syndrome.

    I think we need a very good preparation and some experience to handle more easily difficult situation.

  2. You have missed out one commonly neglected response – fight, flight or FREEZE.

    Sometimes in this situation, people react in a way where sheer fright locks them to the spot, unable to act at all.

    My advise to anyone who has had this experience or considers they may suffer from it in the situation. Practice – learn a form of martial arts or self defence.

    This will teach you forward thinking so you may not get in the situation in the first place, better defensive positioning to give you an advantage if an assault occurs, the experience of bodily impacts, etc. The latter is good experience to stop an impact from stunning you and the shock slowing your response.

  3. security guards duty is to protect the life, liberty or property of the client. confronted by situation of fight or flight syndrome is not easy, it will cost your job or it will cost your life. if there’s really no choice, i will first think of God and next, i will do action.

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