globe with mask

Our response to COVID-19

Like many other businesses, we’ve all had to adapt to the current COVID-19 situation. Our newly-implemented policies are not just for the health and safety of employees, but also for the protection of our valued clients during this pandemic.

Our leadership team thoroughly discussed and researched guidelines from the CDC and the State of Oregon. Additionally, employees could give their preferences for health and safety guidelines in the workplace.

At the end of the day, we need to do everything we can to remain healthy for our clients so we can continue to provide the same level of service in safety and security.  It is needed now more than ever.

We want to be transparent about how we are maintaining a healthy workforce and working to protect our customers. Here is a brief outline of our policies:

6 Feet Away

Employees must remain a minimum distance of 6 feet from another person at all times. A couple weeks ago, you would have found leadership measuring 6 feet between chairs and tables in our meeting rooms. They also applied tape on the floors in the form of an “x” where chairs can be stationed. Additionally, every room and office has a maximum capacity. Talk about dedication!

First Response branded mask

Masks & Face Coverings

Face coverings that cover the mouth and nose are required. They must be worn at work sites, during in-person meetings, and in our office building common areas. First Response employees have branded masks to wear. Not every mask fits each person the same, but these masks are flexible and aren’t as restrictive as some other face coverings can be. And they look good, too!

Sharing a Vehicle

Employees may not ride in a vehicle with another person in the course of their duties. In the past, someone may occasionally join a Patrol Officer for a ride-along. This policy prevents any ride-along, however it does not apply to officers conducting or receiving training (during which masks must be worn and other safety measures are put into practice).

Kitchen Guidelines

All dishes must be washed through the dishwasher for proper sanitation. Additionally, employees will wash hands prior to handling shared items, like making a pot of coffee or using the microwave.

Disinfecting Items & Workstations

We have scheduled disinfecting before and after each use of specific items. This includes company vehicles, remote workstations, office workstations, company electronics, and common spaces in the office. There are also several hand sanitizing stations throughout the corporate office for easy hand sanitizing. We provide our employees with the proper supplies to be able to disinfect and sanitize when necessary.

Stay Home

Employees should remain home for any COVID-19 symptoms. These symptoms includes cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of sense of taste or smell. Employees will not return to work until cleared to do so by our Director of Admin.

Work From Home

We have adapted by allowing employees to work from home to limit office personal and potential spread of the virus. Providing this option means that employees don’t have to choose between their career or the health and safety of themselves and their families. We have made sure that this change does not affect the level of service we provide.


Again, our policies are in place to protect our employees as well as our customers. We wouldn’t be able to operate without a healthy workforce! What kind of COVID-19 policies have you put into place? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re looking to adopt some COVID-19 policies of your own, here are some general guidelines for employers.




3 Lessons Learned in 30 Years of Business

On March 1st, 1989, First Response opened its doors for the very first time, with a mission of providing a higher standard of security services and a professional atmosphere for both clients and employees.

Now, as we celebrate our 30 anniversary, First Response founder and CEO, Dave Foglio, reflects on 3 of the biggest lessons he learned in First Response’s years of providing patrol and guard services, electronic security and 24/7 local alarm monitoring to the Portland metro area.

Below, you’ll find the lessons and his advice to both employers and employees. Here’s to another 30 years!

Lesson #1 – Appreciate your employees

Being in the “people” business in both my janitorial company and with First Response, I had to accept that not every employee cared as much as I do about providing a superior service, and that over time many would let me down. I also learned that there are many hard working employees who, if you make them feel appreciated, will be most loyal employees an employer ever had.

Advice to employers: Don’t give up on “average” employees, they may be the most loyal and teachable.

Advice to employees: Try to understand the goals of management and the Company focus — you will be a key employee.

Lesson #2 – Recognize the need for diverse skill sets

I also had to come to grips with the fact that as my business grew, I needed to have employees with different skill sets, and they needed a company which could use the skill sets that they have. It was challenging because I wanted to have a team of employees who had been with our company for the entire 30 years, but that was not realistic with the ever-increasing updating of our software, procedures and expectations.

Advice to employers: Train and educate your key supervisors and managers.  Also look for talent outside of your Company who have already been where you are going.

Advice to employees: Ask for more training. Cross train on multiple jobs in your Company so you are more valuable to your employer.

Lesson #3 – Aim for a mutual understanding between management and employees

Most people want to work hard for a company that values them and their skill sets. The challenge is aligning the expectations of management and employees in a way where they both focus on a common goal and accept that neither is going to be 100% correct all the time. A successful business is one where management is understanding and accepting of some variations from employees, and employees understand that it is the responsibility of management to steer the ship in the direction it needs to go to stay relevant. And hopefully, we are blessed with more wins than losses. Here at First Response we certainly have been!

Advice to employers: Stay focused on your goals. Don’t let day to day challenges and obstacles deter you. They may slow you down, but regain focus and momentum. If you aren’t steering your Company, who is?

Advice to employees: Understand that your supervisors and managers are people just like you. They have an assignment just as you do. Help them to succeed in their job and you will be successful in your job.

A Q&A with First Response Founder, Dave Foglio

Born and raised in Portland, Dave Foglio has long been dedicated to providing superior customer care within the service industry. After running a successful janitorial business, Dave and his wife Charlene decided to start First Response Security in 1989, recognizing a need for professional security solutions in the Portland metropolitan area.

Now, more than 29 years since its doors first opened, we sat down with Dave to discuss the beginning of First Response, his dedication to giving back and where he sees the security industry going in the next 3-5 years.

What made you want to get into the security industry?

Dave Foglio: I was in another service business providing custodial services, and one of our clients asked if I had any interest in security. I looked into the security industry and found that it wasn’t as professional as I thought it would be. So through a series of events, I ended up selling the janitorial business and starting First Response, patterned after a company down in California called West Tech Security. They did all of Beverly Hills, they did Hollywood — all of the movie stars and everything — so it was a whole additional level of security with uniformed officers, professional cars and professional equipment. I decided that’s the image we wanted to portray.

What was it like when you first started off?

We started out as alarm response and patrol, and it was a real struggle, because we paid higher [wages] than what most of the other security companies were paying. We also had one professional car, and we started off as the first 24 hour service…with no clients. It was actually about three months before we got our first client. So it was a real challenge to get it started. Up until about ’91, we just did the alarm response and patrol. And then we could see that that wasn’t going to carry us through — the alarm response and patrol was growing too slowly. In 1992, we added on-site security, and that helped support the patrol division so we could continue to grow.

It seems like you are very dedicated to giving back. What does that look like for you?

Yes, I personally volunteer with a Christian organization called Samaritan’s Purse, where we go to disasters — usually floods or hurricanes — and help the homeowners there for a week. I’ve done seven of those and been to Texas three times, I’ve been to South Carolina, Georgia, Lousiana, California Colorado…I go wherever. We just help homeowners — helping clean their house up after a flood, cleaning trees or debris up if it’s been a hurricane or something.

And then we carry it over that we really want to be a part of the community here locally, so in the past we’ve been involved in several events where we volunteered at a charity or organization here in the Portland metropolitan area, where employees go and serve food or provide some time of help or services. We’ve done food collections, we did a sock drive where we collected over 250 pairs of socks for a specific charity.  We are constantly looking for ways that we can give back to the community. If we’re going to be working here and providing services here, we want to make sure that we’re also giving back.

As far as that being incorporated into the company, how did that come about?

It’s really been grassroots, internal from the employees. In fact, there were two or three things that the whole company did that… I didn’t even know we were doing it. Nobody invited me. I see this picture and I go “Oh, when did we do that?” and it’s like “Oh we did it last week, there were five or six of us  that went and we did this or that.” I like to see that, I like to see that from the inside out rather than from the top down.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I like to go to NASCAR races. I like to do two a year and then I watch them on TV. About the only hobby I have is bowling. I call it a hobby, because I carry my bowling ball in my car with me, but I haven’t bowled since September of last year. I don’t make a lot of time for it, but if there’s one thing that I enjoy doing, it’s bowling. I like to go up, roll the ball and just take a time out.

If there’s just one thing you wanted people to know about First Response, what would it be?

From the time that first call comes in, it’s always answered with a live voice. We always want someone to be available to take that call, and just stay focused on life safety. That’s what our job is and that’s what has made us successful.

What are you looking forward to most in the coming years for First Response?

Safety and security is changing, and we’re not standing still. We’re not just providing the same services — we’re constantly evaluating the type of services we’re providing and saying “Okay, what are the clients needs and are our services fulfilling those needs?” So I see us over the next 3-5 years changing, adapting, and possibly providing different services based on what the needs are of the community.