Active Shooter Preparedness & Survival – part 3

Written by Robert D. Sollars

I firmly believe in the statistic of 70% of organizations have no plan for a workplace violence (WPV)incident, not just stats but my own experience. From the people I’ve discussed this with I also believe that only 17% of employees believe their employer has an active interest in preventing WPV.

This post will attempt to boil the multitude of training ideas into a post…not easy, but you can always ask me for clarification via e-mail or phone.


Training of your employees is paramount with WPV, because if you don’t conduct any training with your prevention program then the time & financial resources used for training is wasted. With that, you will also have nothing but confusion if an incident were to occur, even more so than if you actually trained them…they then become the likeliest target.

Liability concerns should be uppermost in the employer’s mind, however…if you don’t train them to be prepared for an incident, is your organization ready to shoulder the consequences of dismissing them?

  • Public outrage over your indifferent uncaring attitude?
  • Public relations nightmare at the above?
  • Reputation disaster of no preparation for such an incident, especially if it is a vulnerable employee?
  • The cost of litigation, and increased insurance premiums?

If any employee is a target of a mass shooting because of perceived indifference…It is not a rosy prospect for the organization. The hit to your insurance costs and the organization’s bottom line will also suffer, more than the cost of training and ensuring it’s effective & efficient. Do you really want, or need, that plastered across the .24 second news cycle?

The next logical question then becomes what can you do to ensure the proper training and the efficient running of an evacuation plan for everyone, including customers? It’ll take more than reading best practices and guidelines out of a manual. it’s an imperative that those ideas & guidelines be tweaked for your own use & facility

I’m not advocating that you don’t hire or accept disabled individuals into your organization. I am saying, however, that the need for individualized training/programs has to, by necessity, encompass everyone, visitor, disabled, employee, or vendor…not what just works best for 99% of the organization.

An example you ask for? You go to the doctor and they tell you that your leg pain is because of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). 99% of their patients use this medication and it works best for them so, you should use it also, and they write you a prescription. No blood tests, no MRI’s, or anything else, just take this pill and we’ll hope it turns out for the best. Sound ridiculous doesn’t it? Is this the way you expect your training for all employees to be as efficient & effective?

Training Process:

When training your employees in an emergency procedure it is absolutely vital that the materials are provided to everyone on what to do. It doesn’t matter if this has to be in braille, sign language, or any other adaptive technology, much fewer reference materials for everyone else. The liability concerns of not training your people, disabled or not, and providing these materials, may force your company into bankruptcy due to the litigation that will ensue. This is especially true of it is perceived that you are disinterested and don’t care…whether you do or not doesn’t matter, it is the perception.

Each individual who is in your employ needs to be accounted for and given the same basic training in an understandable format. It may just be a simple teaching presentation. Even if they attend this training session, you must ensure that you don’t simply say “Look at this and go there (pointing to a direction or exit).” This is not sufficiently educational for some.

Another point here, disabled employees must be able to have their questions answered by a qualified trainer as well…it does no good to train someone and not be able to answer their questions…immediately. I’ve attended sessions where my questions were not answered because it was all videotaped…and a long delay in getting those answers if at all, which means they were conveniently ‘forgotten or lost’ because it was not convenient for… That’s why I don’t like videos for training because there is no time for questions if the trainers usually don’t have the answers.

It’s not just for those who may be blind, as I am, it holds true for an individual who may be deaf or uses an assistive device to move freely about the facility such as a walker or wheelchair. Those individuals, and their co-workers, need specialized training to be prepared for any emergency including an active shooter.

Providing these materials isn’t cheap, although much lower than litigation. Check with some of the disabled organizations in your area, they may be able to provide these materials or have them adapted, for little or no cost.

Some disabled individuals may need to have the information at their work station for reference. Therefore, it is also vital that they be able to have them on hand so they may review them at any time, not just posters on the wall but at their station. This may mean providing a copyrighted presentation to them, at no charge, to keep at their station.

This goes for whether the presenter if an outside consultant or trainer agrees or not. Disabled employees need this information on-hand for reference like any other employee does in a poster. If they refuse, then other arrangements must, absolutely must be made.

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Copyright 2020 Robert D. Sollars

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