Five Things Every Luxury Estate Needs

You’ve learned to pull the shades at night and double-check the locks, but when is that not enough? The Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA), a worldwide educational association for the Private Service Community, urges estate owners and private service professionals to reevaluate their current safety measures; often there are weaknesses that are overlooked, leaving the home and family vulnerable.

“The more people in the mix, the more precautions need to be put in place,” says Matt Haack, Global President of DEMA. “Accounting for the safety of individual family members is one thing, but throwing an entire staff into the mix means accountability and precaution are at an all-time high.” Below are five safety features that all estate security and safety plans should have, according to private service professionals, who are charged with the safekeeping of these properties:

1. Fully stocked first aid kit, complete with AED: Grabbing the pre-packaged kit at the neighborhood drug store isn’t enough when you have an entire family and staff to think about. “Those kits have basic necessities, but anything beyond a small scrape and you won’t be prepared,” says Carol Stemple, President of Washington, D.C. based Lifework Inc., provider of American Heart Association Training Programs and Registered Nurse. “Each home should be equipped with a portable Automated External Defibrillator (AED) that is user-friendly, durable and easy to maintain – providing life-saving measures during sudden cardiac arrest.”

2. A well thought-out protocol for emergencies: Take into account everything from household allergies and pre-existing medical conditions to inclement weather and burglaries: create a plan that details what to do in each situation. “Even if the situation seems too far-fetched to happen, it’s better to have a plan in place ahead of time than be faced with a situation and not know where to begin,” says Chicago Estate Manager David Barrie Jr.

3. Proper childproofing: Think beyond the standard padded corners, drawer locks and outlet covers. “Locks should be out of reach for children under five years old, doors and windows leading outside should have alarm chimes on them and pools should be equipped with alarms that alert to unapproved usage,” advises Florida-based Estate Manager Gary Cockerham.

4. Thorough training: A three hour course through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association can provide attendees with live-saving CPR and first aid training. “When an ambulance can take up to 10 minutes to arrive, knowing proper CPR techniques can be the difference between life and death,” says Donna Saunders, Arizona-based Nanny and House Manager. Proper firearm training for private service professionals that carry on the job is also vital. “If there are firearms in the home, be sure that the person carrying them is fully licensed and appropriately trained,” adds Barrie. “When not being carried, firearms and ammo should be out of reach of children, in a locked safe that uses fingerprint recognition software.”

5. Occupation-based precautions: Most people don’t work in an industry where they feel their lives are put in danger due to their occupation, but for those that do, an extra step to ensure safety should be taken. “If you’re a high-profile defense attorney, celebrity or the like, an easily accessible, climate controlled panic room with food stores and a telephone that you can lock yourself inside should be on your list of safety measures to implement,” says Cockerham.

While these measures may seem basic, an alarming number of luxury estates are without safety precautions in place. “Often times, principal homeowners are hesitant to implement safety initiatives due to aesthetics,” Cockerham counsels. Achieving the desired look for a luxury estate is, of course, important, however safety should always be top priority.

About Michael Wright

Michael Wright is the Global Vice President and Co-Founder of the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA), a worldwide educational association for the Private Service Community with offices in Grosse Pointe, Michigan & Orlando, Florida. He has worked from the beginning to help carry out the mission and vision of DEMA and to better serve those who serve others. The association has been recognized by the media in Forbes, The New York Times, Fortune, Bloomberg, NPR, Hour Magazine, DBusiness, Page Six, Observer, Palm Beach Daily News, The Triton, Florida Weekly and many other luxury publications. Prior to founding DEMA in 2007, Wright worked alongside Co-Founder, Matthew Haack, at a high-end cleaning firm that exclusively serviced estate homes. Previously to that, Wright worked in corporate America and construction, serving a high-net-worth clientele. These experiences have helped enhance his communication skills, particularly when dealing with members, staff and volunteers. Wright truly enjoys connecting those in what can be a fragmented and secretive industry. His passion for serving those in Private Service has been integral to the expansion of DEMA membership across the U.S. and into 18 countries in just a few short years. Outside of DEMA, Wright has also participated in and served on the board of directors for multiple associations relating to different aspects of management.

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