Written & Copyrighted by Robert D. Sollars
These posts were inspired by a friend of mine, who happens to be disabled – but these tips will apply to everyone. She posed a simple question… “How does someone face an active shooter situation?”, remembering that less than 5% of all workplace violence (WPV) incidents involve an active shooter. At the time she asked this question, she was working for a large internationally known hotel group in the housekeeping department of a property in Scottsdale, AZ.
She was succinctly instructed by human resources, security, and general management that it wasn’t their responsibility for blind or disabled employees to understand the material…just to present it. They also stated that she needs to find a place, at her expense, to translate everything for her to stay safe. They obviously didn’t understand the general liability clause of OSHA or decided my friend didn’t either and let it go.
These posts will endeavor to instruct anyone faced with an active shooter or otherwise assaulted while at work, or because of it. This first post will deal with some of the issues involved with training preparedness, with everyone involved. Don’t believe for a second that these issues are settled to everyone’s satisfaction.
The Primary Issue:
“The office had two exit doors, and I couldn’t fit under my desk. nor fit under the long table in the center of the office, it had nothing to hide behind. There was no large file cabinet that I could squeeze behind, much less any other kind of heavy object. There was an emergency number to call, but how can I do that and stay hidden?
An escape route via the Loading dock and the security office was close by, but again, how can I do that and stay hidden? It takes Law enforcement 5 to 10 minutes to respond and the incident could be over in 2 minutes or less. I often worked in the office alone. What if I were in that situation again, working alone and there is an active shooter?
The company held informational meetings, one of which was about active shooters. They gave suggestions on what we could do when, and if, confronted by an active shooter.
When I asked one of my managers, do you have any suggestions for me on how to defend myself or how I can handle a situation like this? Her incredulous reply was, “I don’t know. I’d talk with someone in the blind community and maybe, they have tips on how blind people can respond to this.” They were given specific information from Corporate on what to tell employees, but they didn’t think of the disabled.
Someone can readily be seen under a desk or table in an office unless it went all the way to the floor. A person, nee victim, would feel vulnerable in that position and if the perpetrator was specifically looking for them… You would think that the corporate offices of these multi-national corporations, that are so inclusive, that would do more than make it lip service…but far too many do only lip service to being diverse & inclusive.
Training, discussed in a later post is something that is totally lacking for many places when it comes to WPV. The reasoning, to me, is absolutely ludicrous and the act of an executive officer who cares only about the bottom line, not employees or customers, despite their protestations.
It’s a matter of financial resources being spent for training, taking time away from employees to learn it, and the prevalent attitude, which is the most dangerous & preventable, “It Can’t Happen Here”.
The 2nd part will be soon. Watch for it and please pass along to any of your colleagues who may be responsible for the safety & security of everyone in the facility.
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I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Copyright 2020 Robert D. Sollars