The tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base once again reminds all businesses, organizations, schools and campuses to have and practice their emergency plans. What motivates a person to take such acts is all to often a post event discovery, but we can take immediate action to hopefully prevent and if needed, mitigate an event.
How does your Team deal with information that is warning you of a potential attack from within? How do you convert that information into actionable intelligence?
This question should be discussed and debated with your Emergency Management Team before the real world of personalities comes into play.
While each circumstance will be different, bringing your Team together TODAY to talk about your plan enables you to bring all your resources to bear and let’s you identify where you are vulnerable.
The Alexander Hamilton Institute published and excellent primer on Work Place Violence and the steps you can take before, during and after an attack. Key points from their paper are:
Develop a plan of attack. Have these procedures in place before a crisis occurs:
- Make a list of what you must take with you if your building had to be evacuated. In the event of a bomb threat or fire alarm, you may have only seconds to decide, and authorities may not allow personnel back into the building for hours or days.
- Pinpoint internal and external resources. Do you have employees trained in CPR? Is anyone a volunteer firefighter or ambulance worker? Is there a hospital, blood bank, or Red Cross shelter nearby?
- Identify backup systems to communicate in case conventional methods fail. Who on your staff has access to a fax, computer modem, cellular phone, etc.?
- Determine how you would contact employees’ families in an emergency situation.
- Consider an alternative work site if you’re unable to conduct business from your usual location. Ask other businesses if they will enter into reciprocal arrangements with you regarding office space and supplies.
- Create backup systems for essential business functions. Consider storing important documents or computer files in a fireproof safe, or keeping duplicate copies of important records off-site.
Communicate your crisis management plan.
- Most emergencies occur completely without warning. That’s why it’s crucial to tell employees what to do before one hits; then periodically hold random drills to reinforce evacuation and other emergency procedures.Set up emergency response and crisis management teams.
- An emergency response team identifies crisis situations and tries to plan and implement, if necessary, an appropriate response. Responsibilities include notifying emergency services, evacuating employees, moving equipment, shutting down operations, etc.
- A crisis management team handles the aftermath of an emergency, e.g., coordinating communication, setting up crisis counseling, and providing information.
Select members of either team with crisis management skills in mind.
- If their collective skills are weak, be prepared to train one or more team members in emergency skills (CPR, first aid, etc.), if necessary.
Deal with the fallout of an emergency. Keep employees well informed at every stage of a crisis through meetings and telephone rounds. Let people know what steps the company is taking in response.
- If the emergency results in emotional trauma, try to help employees move past the crisis. Offer employee assistance programs, support groups, or professional counseling services.
- Designate a spokesperson to handle inquiries. Name one employee to field questions from employees, customers, and the media. Make this person responsible for communicating the facts of the emergency, as they become known.
A pdf of the Alexander Hamilton Institute Workplace Violence report including additional recommendations on the warning signs of violence, prevention strategies and conflict management can be found by clicking on the link below:
To learn more about the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the study of Western Civilization please click on the image below: