Updated: Apr 5
So you've got your Security Services Licence and have either gotten a security guard job or are still searching for one. You may be wondering: what equipment will I need to have for the job? What gear do I need to purchase and what will be provided to me by my employer? We will cover all the basics and more for you here.
The duty gear (equipment) you will be required to have will be dependent on the specific job functions of your role at the company you work for. Most employers will do a risk assessment based on your job and duties and issue you any required equipment. Sometimes they may ask you purchase specific items and will provide you a letter in order to do so for specific equipment.
The most important thing is to ask what your employer will provide you and what they expect you to buy before you start your job.
The following list of equipment is in rough order of importance and likeliness of what you will need based on the most common types of security jobs available.
Almost all security guard positions will require you to wear a standard company-issued uniform and will provide one for you. This helps others identify who you are and your role quickly. It also adds a level of professionalism and respect. This could include a shirt and pants, or perhaps a simple t-shirt. One of the only situations where you may not need to wear a uniform is if you are under cover as a loss-prevention worker.
You must always carry your Security Services Licence when you are working in a security function.
Notepad, Case and Pen
It is absolutely crucial to be able to record details of incidents such as names of subjects, times, etc. as part of any security job. Even if your employer has an electronic system for taking notes and producing reports, we highly recommend that you still have a good old-fashioned notepad, notepad cover (to protect the life of your notepad), and pen as a backup just in case you phone or other electronic device runs out of power or cannot connect to the internet. A case costs approximately $15 - $20. Notepads are approximately $5 - $10.
Of all the equipment that is most helpful and that we recommend for every security guard, it is a flashlight. It is a multi-purpose tool that can increase visibility (even during the day if you are indoors or have to search inside a bag for example), and also be a self-defence tool. You must be able to grip it comfortably into your hand. It must be small enough so that you can apply handcuffs while holding it (if arrests are part of your job) yet long enough that you can tuck it under your arm to keep your hands free. It should be LED and very bright (at least 110 Lumens), with the ability to have several intensity settings. It should also have a strong metal (not a plastic) casing. If your employer doesn't supply you with one, we recommend spending $50 - $100 to buy a good one for yourself.
If foot patrol, or standing for long periods of time is a big component of your job, having good footwear will be the difference between a painful and a pleasurable experience. We recommend black (as they are more professional), lightweight boots that cover your ankles and have a toe cap for safety. They should have a good tread to provide solid traction on different kinds of surfaces. If you would like to have a pair, you will need to purchase these yourself as an employer will not supply them. A half-decent hiking boot is $150, and a duty boot can be up to $500. Note that these are not to be confused with steel-toed boots that meet CSA standards. This is a different item and is covered in the Personal Protective Equipment section below.
Radio & Holder
Your employers will likely supply you with some form of communication device, in the event of an emergency and you need backup. A 2-way radio is the most common method of communication, or they may ask you to use your own cellphone. If they provide you a radio,they should also provide you some way to carry it, like a holder you can attach to your duty belt or case.
Search Gloves and Case
Search gloves are a necessary tool to protect yourself when you are performing any kind of searches. They should be slash, cut and puncture resistant to protect your hand from accidentally being jabbed with a knife or needle when doing searches inside pockets, bags or other belongings. They are typically made of leather or Neoprene shells, with a cut resistant lining of Spectra blend or Kevlar. If searches are part of your role, you will likely be issued gloves. We recommend purchasing a pair regardless, for your own safety. A good pair are $60 - $85. A case for them is $9 - $25.
A duty belt carries all the small gear on this list. It is usually issued by your employer if it necessary for your job, but if they don't provide one, you can purchase one for yourself if you like. Most quality duty belt sets are made up of an inner velcro, and outer duty belt with a clip closure. Your inner belt holds up your pants, and your outer belt hold all your gear. Inner belt is approximately $20. Outer belt is $35 - $70.
If your job is "hands-on" meaning you may be required to make arrests, you will likely be issued handcuffs by your employer. In the event that they require you to purchase your own, here are some things to know.
You will need to show your Security Services License to buy handcuffs. There are many different styles and sizes of handcuffs but the most common used are chain-link handcuffs. The style you buy should be based on the specific job and application. Quality is crucial when choosing which ones to buy as you don't want them falling apart in the middle of an arrest when you need them most. Not all are good quality so don't buy based on price only. Smith and Wessons are recommended, as the Edmonton Police Service uses these. We don't recommend purchasing handcuffs with plastic double-bar as they can bend or break. A good set of handcuffs are $50 - $80.
Long Handcuff Key
Handcuffs come with handcuff keys but if you are going to be using handcuffs on a regular basis, we highly recommend that you purchase a long handcuff key as well. Under stress, our finite motor skills disappear which makes it extremely difficult to perform small accurate movements and use small handcuff keys. The large handcuff keys are much easier to handle under stress. These are only $12-14. You will need your security licence to purchase these as well.
Baton & Holster
Batons are striking devices intended to stun and temporarily disable a subject who poses an immediate threat. You must take an approved training course, have this qualification added to your licence and get approval from your employer before you are permitted to carry a baton on the job. Typically if one is required for your job, your agency will issue you one and will require you to keep it at the job. You will need to show your Security Services Licence (with the Use of Baton qualification on it) and a letter from your agency if you are required to purchase a baton.
Batons are typically retractable and come in various lengths. The standard is 26 inches, but you may need to purchase a shorter or longer one based on the specific environment you may be working in (such as a shorter one for working in closed quarters). Most baton are expandable and are made of steel or carbon-fibre.
There are several popular brands, including Monadnock (industry-standard) and ASP (such as the Talon Airweight model). There are several mounting systems including side-pole application (quick release) and straight pull-out.
Slash/stab-resistant vest are usually company issued, but even if they're not in your case, you may still want to purchase one for their own peace of mind. You will need to show your Security Services Licence and a letter from your agency and/or if you are required to purchase a slash/stab-resistant vest. Vests run $150 - $300
Full body armour is required in situations where you are working as an armed guard, mall security or inner city security. This would be supplied by your employer if it is required for your job.
Personal Protective Equipment
If you are assigned to work on a construction, industrial or commercial site, you may be required to purchase your own steel-toed boots. Usually in these situations, they may also ask you to wear other personal protective equipment such as a hard hat and a reflective vest. These items are usually supplied by your employer, but check first if they will need you to buy any of these items yourself.
If you are working outside, you will need to consider protection from the elements, such as sun, rain and snow cover. You may also want to have a water bottle handy to stay hydrated in the warm summer months.
Your employer may have other job-specific equipment they may need you to carry, such as rubber gloves or a first aid kit. Check with your employer to find out what they'll need you to purchase yourself.
Make sure the business you buy from have been around and have a good reputation so that you can get good answers to your questions, and if you have any issues with any equipment you purchase, you can return it if you need to.