Coronavirus: Security guard speaks of life working on the frontline

‘FRONTLINE’ is a word which has been banded about with increasing frequency throughout the corornavirus pandemic.

It is arguably easier to digest such a crisis when we consider it along the same lines as a war effort.

The doctors and nurses, the researchers and scientists, working away at the coalface in a dangerous fight against an invisible killer.

But it isn’t a war, it is a grind of fortitude and discipline, and many professions have been overlooked.

A recent study carried out by the Office for National Statistics found men working as security guards have the highest Covid-19 death rate in the country, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.

The figure is drawn from an analysis of coronavirus deaths in England and Wales up to and including April 20.

The study also labels the security industry, as well as other high-risk jobs, like bus and taxi drivers, construction workers and chefs, as low-skilled.

It is an unfair label, often quoted in stories covering the study.

Kyle Lucas, from Colchester, has worked in the security industry for eight years, as a nightclub doorman, in retail, as a guard at the magistrates’ court and presently in the education sector.

The job requires many skills to be carried out effectively, chief amongst them the ability to effectively relate to people and communicate.

Mr Lucas, 27, said: “Of course, we aren’t the emergency services, but in many cases we still have to act as the emergency service until they arrive on scene.

“You’re more than security, you are everything from a first aider to a mental health worker.

“When it all goes wrong, you are the first point of call for emergency services arriving on scene.

“A lot of people rely on us to be the first contact in many situations.

“If there is a fire alarm going off we’ll be up 15 floors checking everyone is out.

“There is a lot of talk of frontline workers, we are very much on the frontline for all situations.

“That’s what hurts the most, to work hard and then see your job reduced to low-skilled, despite the sacrifices we are making.”

He added: “We can operate during situations of intense conflict, so have conflict management training, first aid training and mental health training.

“Team members of mine have previously dealt with people wanting to commit suicide, dealing with deaths, the list goes on.”

During the pandemic, the job also requires an ability to put your own safety to the back of your mind, and a readiness to make personal sacrifices.

“A lot of us are frontline workers but you don’t hear about the sacrifices made,” said Mr Lucas.

“Everyone I know in the industry has made personal sacrifices, I myself went almost 40 days without seeing my little boy.

“I’ve kept myself away from my family and security guards have passed away from Covid-19 – a friend of a friend died after contracting the virus – it does happen often.

“Everyone is worried because you don’t know what you can pick up when you give first aid, you can’t keep that two metres distance as you need to be up close.

“The thing frustrates me most is when I hear people say it is non-essential work, or low-skilled.”

He added: “I have a little boy on the way and one four-year-old boy.

“I see him once a week to limit contact and I have seen him once so far during lockdown.

“It’s very hard, the first time I saw him after isolating I couldn’t hug him, I couldn’t give him a kiss.”

The ONS study also showed care workers and home carers both had raised rates of death involving Covid-19, with rates of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 males and 9.6 deaths per 100,000 females.

Source – Gazette News

 

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