Posts Tagged ‘Emergency Plan’

Top 5 Issues to Consider when Planning Responses to Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations

January 29th, 2018 Comments off

Having a written response plan specific to the type of emergency and the location(s) involved

Example: for active shooter response plans, though they might contain the same components from one site to another, the specific directives will vary according to factors such as:

  • Size of facility
  • Number of occupants – population of employees and public
  • Rural, suburban or city environment
  • Response time for public emergency services
  • Type of access control at your facility
  • Other factors

Note: the response plan for this emergency will be very different from a fire emergency

Employee training – the staff will need to know (based on the type of emergency) what they should do and how they need to assist their visitors/customers during the emergency:

  • How to evacuate
  • Where to evacuate
  • Accountability
  • Assistance for disabled, etc.

Identify and test the audible notification system for the facility – how will everyone know what the emergency is, where it is happening, and what his or her immediate actions should be. Also, how will you confirm that the public emergency services have been notified?

Develop event specific evacuation instructions – These should include:

  • Evacuation routes
  • All exits are mapped
  • Instructions for how to interact with responding police and public emergency services
  • What should or should not be taken when evacuating
  • Leaving doors open or closed
  • Assuring access controlled doors are all open for emergency

Have established relationships with the police and other emergency services and coordinate your response plans with them in advance – Emergency service responders need to know what your plan is and you need to know what they will expect from your staff and occupants. This can help shape a better response/evacuation plan for the specific circumstances that might vary from one emergency type to another.


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Active Shooter – Recognizing the Signs

October 18th, 2016 Comments off

With the volume of workplace shootings that continue in our businesses and schools, it is nice to hear a true success story.


Armed Student Talked Out of School Shooting by Counselor
The student reportedly had a list of teachers and a police officer at the school he was going to shoot.

There has been a much-needed public outcry about what can be done to stop such senseless violence. The above link provides a story of courage and demonstrates the result of non-violent confrontation management training that clearly prepared this school counselor to react and diffuse/de-escalate the situation. It also underscores the importance of inter-office discrete communication during emergency conditions so that law enforcement responders can be alerted. Employers with staff such as counselors, social workers, customer service reps, and other similar positions could be exposed to similar conditions and should take a lesson from this incident. They need to evaluate what training they offer these people and if it prepares them for such a situation.

As with other forms of workplace or criminal violence, there is no one magic solution to preventing an active shooter incident. That is why I have called this society’s challenge in the past. What causes a person to become an active shooter and indiscriminately take the lives of random innocent targets? Is the solution more gun control? Is it better cooperation between the mental health community and law enforcement to spot potential threats?  Is it more censoring and regulation of the video game industry? Does home/family values need realignment?

I believe the premise for reducing these occurrences involves significant progress in all of these areas.

  • The gun control debate has to find an actionable middle ground. Gun enthusiast organizations would have everyone possess high capacity automatic assault weapons standing on the second amendment right to bear arms. Meanwhile, liberal, anti-gun proponents would take guns of any type away from everyone. Does the average civilian need a fully or semi-automatic high capacity weapon(s) for self-defense? No, but citizens should be able to purchase and license a handgun or shotgun for personal or home defense with adequate and required annual training and shooting practice. Politically, we have to find a happy medium on this issue.
  • Does the mental health care profession owe it to their communities to work with law enforcement when a patient’s behavior displays an apparent propensity towards violence? Yes, and they should be legally allowed to get the police involved in whatever capacity will have some dissuasive effect on the person. At least the police could begin a case file and start having a conversation with the individual.
  • Does the video game industry need to take a careful look at themselves and perhaps have stricter regulations regarding the production and release of video games in which killing and extreme violence is rewarded? Yes. I know it is a game, but it contributes to the devaluing of life, the de-sensitization of violence and death, and the blurring of the lines between lawful social conduct and fantasy.
  • Home and family values. The old fashioned way of learning right from wrong. Do we remember what they even are? Technology is wonderful and powerful. Until children totally lose the social skills to talk to each other in order to work out problems. Misguided children become adults with adult problems. Lacking coping skills anchored in values, they look for someone to ‘text an answer to them’, or they escape to act out fantasy solutions, like in the games they

We do these horrible things to each other. We can do better than this. Even if we have just one small conversation, one small compromise, one small act of tolerance, kindness, or understanding at a time.

Check out AFIMAC’s active shooter video at It offers some real world active shooter survival tips for individuals and solid workplace violence incident planning advice for organizations.

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Active Shooter as a Terrorist Tactic

June 21st, 2016 Comments off

In March of this year, I wrote a blog on the possibility that our next 9/11-scale attack could be in the form of coordinated soft target attacks at the same time across the country. After the tragedy in Orlando, I am even more convinced that these types of soft target attacks will continue. Furthermore, the media blitz that surrounds these acts feeds the inevitable. Granted we cannot stop the media from covering these events; however, I do think that they should be aware of when reporting becomes sensationalizing and realize where the line is. (another matter for another time)

As I stated in March, symbolic government, business, and public infrastructure targets have taken steps to increase security. They have thought about terrorist/lethal attacker threat preparation and begun threat monitoring via social media and open source investigation. This is great and needs to continue. Unfortunately, in the eyes of attackers who wish only to lash out at the diversity and freedoms of western society, easier targets are now becoming equal in value. Whether attackers are religiously motivated, anti-capitalist motivated, or life style motivated, there does not seem to be a lack of groups, or very sick individuals, that will latch onto a cause and perhaps even align themselves with other radical groups that want to attack our way of living and believing.

What are soft targets? Shopping areas, theaters and clubs, restaurants, hotels, churches, schools and tourism locations – the list goes on! Many of these types of places have been targeted and attacked somewhere in the world already. No one wants to think about this but we must. Schools have. These types of attacks are difficult to stop and very effective if not planned for. Planning needs to be in three major areas:

  • Resources for preemptive intelligence gathering
  • Improving deterrent physical security
  • Anticipated emergency response and reaction guidance for occupants (Active Shooter Response Plan)

Whether a troubled individual or an organized group, social media and ‘dark’ websites are often used for communication, planning, and sometimes warnings by those who set out to conduct such attacks. I don’t care about privacy if violating it is what it takes to stop this! In my opinion, if the government or law enforcement in the community wants to monitor my emails, calls, social media posts and Internet activity, then do it. I have nothing to hide! We need to accept that this is what will be required to avert such attacks in the planning/warning stages. Supporting proactive law enforcement and intelligence gathering, and providing adequate physical security is the only chance these soft locations have not to become a target. I could site several cases where proactive intelligence has led to arrests before a tragedy could occur.

Physical security efforts can be a deterrent. Many ‘hospitality’ type businesses have always stated that they didn’t want to scare people away from their venues and establishments. Now the public might feel better seeing more security. They see what is happening at these potential target locations and may feel better having to go through metal detectors or seeing a few more uniformed security personnel. These proactive or deterrent measures need to become part of the cost of doing business to provide your customers a safe environment.

Finally, anticipated emergency response and reaction guidance for your occupants (employees or visitors) needs to be spelled out in your Active Shooter Response Plan. If you don’t have one, develop one, or call someone who can help you create one. The plan needs to address but not be limited to:

  • Emergency communications for both internal and local emergency responders
  • Reaction guidelines for occupants
  • Evacuation protocols specific to active shooter/lethal attackers
  • Emergency plans for internal security
  • Physical security /CCTV monitoring
  • Coordination with local emergency responders
  • Media messaging
  • Accommodations for mobility challenged
  • Post incident intelligence and counseling

AFIMAC is a resource for such assistance. Hit our website or call me if you would like some suggestions at 1 800.313.9170.


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