In this month’s issue (April 2018) of Security Management Magazine, there was an article titled “Active Assailant – Unarmed Officer. This article was written by a dear friend of mine, Brad Spicer who is also the founder of Safeplans, a firm that specializes in all-hazard emergency preparedness technology and active shooter defense training. His article addressed how even unarmed guards can play a critical role in preventing and mitigating deadly attacks.
Brad pointed out how many levels of awareness, observation, and reading the signs of Pre-Attack INdicators (PAIN) can empower those individuals hired to keep us safe able to make decisions if necessary to proceed to a higher level of awareness or resume their observations duties to another possible threat. Brad made many very good points that should be considered and followed.
But what about those individuals who don’t have Security Officers and instead have to provide for their own safety, and notification of others, that a threat to their safety is looming. What steps can they take to keep themselves along with their employees, safe? What can schools do to keep their students and staff safe? I would suggest that the same preventive measures used by Security Officers can be still be used by everyone who is concerned about their own safety.
Schools can begin by implementing some of these procedures;
- Having teachers standing in the hallways monitoring classes changing, watching for bullying, improper behavior, and when the bell rings to begin classes, that they go to the nearest exterior door and make sure it’s secure.
- Conduct random metal detector searches, unannounced, to be used as a deterrent. Have students line up outside the building and checked before entering. You should include adequate staff and procedures. Schools could also ask to have the local police officers included to provide a layer of safety should an illegal weapon be found on the student or in the bushes where the students were lined up.
- Schools should keep their classroom doors locked. Substitutes should be thoroughly informed of policies and procedures during an emergency.
- Install a method to notify all students and staff when a lockdown is being initiated and be able to have a link to the local police department. (these can be implemented by the use of the burglar alarm system and bell system)
- Have some form of Identification for students and staff so that when individuals are in the hallways or walking through the school they will be identifiable.
- Don’t be afraid to confront a stranger walking into your school and don’t assume it is a parent. If they have no identification badges on their person, or they are in the wrong area, ESCORT them to the office or take them to their destination. If they have no identification they are a THREAT to your school.
Churches can be proactive by using some of these techniques;
- Have your greeters as your first line of defense and familiarize them with the Pre-Attack INdicators (PAIN)
- Engage in conversation with new faces and those that may appear distraught
- Develop a safety ministry team that can assist with any unruly individuals or active shooters
- With unruly or individuals who create disturbances attempt to detain the individual, only if it is safe to do so, until the police can arrive. If you are unable to detain them try and keep them outside the congregation or outside the building.
- Develop a plan for evacuations, medical emergencies, unruly visitors, and active shooter. And share that plan with your congregation.
Businesses can also be proactive by utilizing some of these methods;
- Businesses should put together an evacuation and emergency response plan
- Show employees where the nearest exits are located along with the fire extinguisher and first aid kit.
- Employers should take time to know who their employees are by communicating with them on a regular basis.
- Be familiar with their patterns and behaviors
- Be prepared to discuss with them if you see any changes
- Walk through the work area unannounced and randomly to determine if any employees are being bullied or intimidated, or ostracized.
- Develop a main entrance to your business that all visitors must come through.
- Provide a secured and locked access for employee entry to use.
- Make certain it is secured while employees are working.
- Have employees wear distinctive uniforms or identification badges.
- Provide a safe room where employees know they can hide and secure themselves in the event of an active shooter.
- Provide a method for employees to discuss their safety concerns
- Encourage employees to confront and escort back to the main office any strangers they may see in the building that are unescorted.
As Brad has pointed out in his article there are many techniques that an Unarmed Security Officer can use to keep his organization safe. But for those of us that do not have these assets we must be that first line of defense. We are the first responder and will be the first one to confront the threat or disaster. So please be prepared and do not think that it can’t happen to you.
If I can be of any assistance please do not hesitate to reach out to me at my web site, http://www.rgonzalesconsulting.com, or contact me via mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be pleased to sit with you and your organization to review and provide inputs and suggestions to your emergency planning needs.