IC Communications sat down with Raghida Abou Serhal, Security Coordinator, to find out some details on the Ain Aar security set-up and team there.
Tell us about the department up in Ain Aar?
"Mr Imad Raad, Chief Security Officer, started everything in 2016 and he wanted to develop the same system for Ras Beirut as well as for Ain Aar. He wanted to change the concept of security, and started building a culture and training his teams."
There are twelve guards in Ain Aar who work on a three shift, overlapping schedule: 6:30am to 3:30pm, 1:30pm to 10:30pm and 10:30 to 8am. Most of the guards live up in the mountain by the school but Raghida lives in Beirut. "If there’s no traffic, it’s only around 15 minutes," she says.
There are three main gates A, B and C plus gate D at the bottom of the campus which is open on Wednesdays.
"Newly hired security guards have to speak English and have good communications skills. Indeed the training mentioned even continues in the summer, with summer school for security on the English language. We are even planning how to do computer skills like Microsoft skills, in order to understand the emails sent to the guards and other communication and self-organization skills."
In Ain Aar, the 12 guards are male, and managed by Raghida, whereas in Ras Beirut, there are three females in full-time employment.
What does your day look like?
"The day starts with arrival in the morning. It’s not a private road, and we have to help the younger kids, especially when it’s raining. After this, one of the guards goes to the Directors' offices to see if there are any injury cases, just to know in case of a fire alarm or other emergency signal (it is the same in Ras Beirut)." After that, guards begin their patrolling. There is always a guard 24 hours a day, each and every day, looking through the security video cameras. Guards fill their daily activity sheets each day.
"Guards even go inside the school to help with recess as well as helping students to cross the road to the green field." Guards will also continuously check IDs for visitors at the IC gates. "The guards do get a short break in between recesses to grab their mankoushe! Either they go to the cafeteria or they bring food from home."
"Then there’s dismissal which can be difficult due to the lack of space, many buses, and parking. Three guards help with parents’ parking. One guard is checking between the buses. Plus there are guards positioned at each of the open gates."
Due to the guards overlap, there are always seven guards including Raghida at both arrival and dismissal times.
What is the strangest or funniest security issue you have ever faced?
"Most of the guards are young and nice and most of the women and men were giving compliments and these were creating traffic jams!" Even the teachers were complimenting the guards apparently, 'so nice, so handsome' they were saying. "We don't wear costumes at Halloween or anything like that. The students love the the guards and always would like to chat, they know them by name."
Even this year which is a new step, the teachers asked the students to research different departments and everyone knows the names of the guards: Joseph N, Samer, Sami AR, Joseph K, Nabil, Nidal, Tony, Raymond, Salim, Sami B, Elia.
Whenever we have events in Ras Beirut, the guards from Ain Aar come to Beirut and vice-versa, such as for the Ain Aar Christmas Fair or Ras Beirut's International Day and Carnival Day.
How can you be contacted?
You can contact the security department on firstname.lastname@example.org or the Ain Aar phone number 04928468 and extension 513, 519 or 506. (If contacting Ras Beirut security, please dial 01374980 and extension 130, 244 or 246.)