LEFT OF BANG, PART 2 – PATTERN RECOGNITION CAN SAVE LIVES

A note to anyone asking him or herself what the heck “Left of Bang” is, kindly click back to my last post titled “Left of Bang.”  If you choose not to, it matters little because what follows will make sense either way, I believe.

My point here is, the key to safety & survival is to avoid being caught Right of Bang.  Better put is “the key to S & S is to always get caught LEFT of Bang!  How do we do this?

WINOLOGY’S ARTIFICIAL “INTUITION.”

Most of us do not have ample life experiences (with terrorism, active shooters, and the like) to make quick, life-saving decisions like experts.  Ergo, introducing my (Winology) substitute for the genuine intuition and adopting, adapting expertise it usually requires to adroitly prevent massacres like that of the Sutherland Baptist Church.

  • By constantly being aware we can proactively take action before getting caught Right of Bang.  Accomplishing this is surprisingly simple, requiring us to stay in the correct state(s)-of-mind.  I have been teaching officers and lay citizens the Yellow State of Mind for decades:  “a relaxed 360-degree awareness of people and things that surround us at all times and being particularly aware when “normal” changes to “abnormal.”

And adapting, adopting and activating the best & most basic skills of observation, (combat) hunting, and “urban know-how” & combining them to increase our ability to identify threats.   I know this is a lot to bite off and chew, so let my try to break it down in this and the next post.  After all, these are the Three Pillars of the vaunted Combat Hunter System.

Basically, what these “pillars” boil down to is learning how to “read the human terrain through an increased understanding of human behavior…which will teach (Marines) how to separate the ‘sheep’ from the ‘wolves.”

COMBAT PROFILING

The 3d pillar of the Combat Hunter is likely the most crucial.  COMBAT PROFILING is a method of proactively identifying threats based upon human behavior and other cues from one’s surroundings.  You can do this by incorporating these 4 skills: situational awareness, sensitivity of baselines & anomalies, critical thinking, and decision-making (the pillars of my Winology Philosophy).

In the next post I will narrow down the narrative on profiling.  Specifically:

  • SIGNATURES OF DANGER.  How can you maximize your ability to identify the person/people who may be the next mass-murderer in your workplace, church, school, etc?
  • HOW YOU CAN APPLY THESE OBSERVATIONS TO ENSURE SAFETY IN SCHOOLS, CHURCHES, WORKPLACES, ET AL?

Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

INTRODUCING LEFT OF BANG & RECLAIMING SANCTUARY

Left of Bang, briefly, comes our way from what was known as the Combat Hunter Course which taught our Marines what their conventional training did not.  What was that?  Specifically, not only how to deal with bad guys -but how to spot them in the first place, particular when they look & act like the good guys.  

Oh, and by the way, this Combat Hunter’s Course and Left of Bang is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of Marines in the Middle East and other dangerous places overseas.

So, let me ask you.  Do you think that learning how to detect the presence of a killer (active shooter) even though he or she is among your student body (schools), your congregation (churches, synagogues, temples, mosques) or factory (workplace) and looks and acts just like your most pious congregant, your most studious student, etc?

You ask me, I’d say damned skippy I do.

Especially since the theme of this and the last couple posts is how to prevent the next Sutherland (Texas) Baptist Church Massacre in your church, school, shopping mall, entertainment event, and/or workplace.

I think one of the critical issues with preparing for and managing an effective anti-killer program in your particular (populated) locale is that, basically, THE ENEMY IS UNIDENTIFIABLE!   The killer could be anybody….well, maybe not…by adopting a Left of Bang mentality, we can learn how to up the odds (from something like 25% to 88% accuracy) that you and/or your security can – with hawk-like skill -pick out he or she who is stalking you with deadly intent in such a way and in such a manner that the targeted prey (you) can begin and finish the process of turning active killer turning to inactive prey!

SO, HOW DOES LEFT OF BANG WORK?

First things first.  What is “Bang?”  Well, folks, Bang is the catastrophe.  Bang is 50-some dead in Las Vegas, 20-some dead and dozens injured at the Sutherland Baptist.  Bang is what I am hoping to  prevent!  Ergo, Right of Bang is how the popo and the government almost always react.  AFTER the event.

But, by adopting a LOB (left of Bang) preventive mentality or attitude, we are going to act in such a way to plan for, detect, and stop the perspective killer well before any attack!

In the next post I will go inside our new LOB Prevention State-of-Mind.  Until then, stay safe.

The Hammer

ON PREVENTING THE NEXT ACTIVE KILLER IN YOUR WORKPLACE

NOW THAT WE KNOW MORE about the tragic massacre at the Sutherland (Texas) Baptist Church, let’s add one more bulwark against your workplace (school, church, temple, mosque, et al.) making the next 11:00 news..the tragic victim of the next active killer.

This comes as no surprise to me or other experts you may have heard on CNN or other such channels.  Experts who have speculated within an hour or so of the shooting that there probably is some domestic connection between the maniac and the church’s congregation.  Turns out there was.  Days before the attack, the killer emailed lethal threats to the mother of his estranged spouse (I believe).

Why am I writing about this?

I am pointing this out because in case after case concerning active shooters – no matter the venue – there is such a connection.

I write about and teach “Managing Workplace Violence.”  And here is the long and the short of preventing a future destroyed by some miscreant with a gun, a rifle, a bomb marching through your workplace like Sherman marching through Georgia….

Domestic Violence leaking into the workplace is one of the key factors in workplace violence!

And that is, whenever possible, be aware of any serious domestic discord among your employees, congregation, etc.  Let’s review:

  • TRY TO BE AWARE OF ANY SERIOUS DOMESTIC PROBLEMS AMONG YOUR CONGREGATION.  I know.  Not easy to do, but as many progressive and safety-conscious facilities have started doing, begin communications…
  • DEVELOP AND TRAIN “ELITE” MEMBERS OF YOUR CONGREGATION TO MAXIMIZE SECURITY.
  • ARM AND TRAIN YOUR SECURITY.  MAKE YOUR FACILITY A “HARD TARGET” INSTEAD OF A VULNERABLE SOFT TARGET.
  • DEVELOP A PROTOCOL(S) THAT COVERS POTENTIAL & REAL VIOLENCE.
  • SECURITY STARTS WITH “FAMILY.”  Arrange for “tactical seating,” with father (armed), sitting on outside, quick to action.  Teach children what to do and how to react (like a fire drill).

NEXT POST.  “LEFT OF BANG” AND WORKPLACE SAFETY!

Until then, Stay safe.

The Hammer

The Sutherland Baptist Church Massacre. On Piecing the Puzzle.

THIS  will be the first of three posts on putting the scattered pieces of the enigmatic puzzle that the Sutherland, Texas Baptist Church mass shooting represents.  Maybe I am waxing melodramatic here, but, for heaven’s sake, here we are, heading pell mell toward the end of 2017 (this is November 6), and I believe we are at a point in time where no one can feel truly safe anywhere.  Not in a mall; not at a concert; not in an elementary, middle, high school or college.  And certainly not in a church, temple, synagogue, mosque….not anywhere.

So, you may have asked yourself, a police officer, your spouse, is there anything I can do to minimize (eliminate?) the chances I or my loved ones will be the next victim(s)?

FIRST, LET’S TACKLE THE SUTHERLAND BAPTIST CHURCH DEBACLE

Using this tragedy as a teachable moment, we need to understand that, more likely than not, your local place of worship, your school, your sporting event locale, are all what we (experts, et al) call SOFT TARGETS (ST).  I talk about ST’s in my 2nd book (Super Secret Police S**t That Can Save Your Life, on Amazon) and promote ways of making these locales Hard.

It is my opinion that by taking a few simple steps to harden the target (the church), probably only a few – instead of 26, a number that will likely grow, not to mention the 20-something church-goers who are wounded – would have been shot.  Perhaps none.

The shooter was dressed all in black combat gear, was armed with an impossible-to-hide semi-auto long gun and was loping across a street from a service station where he was parked.  Well placed security and/or well-placed cameras would have spotted the gunman a good 25-yards from the church.  If armed, security could have either stopped the attacker cold or at least slowed him down long enough to warn and alert the congregation.  If not armed, security could have warned worshippers, who, instead of being sitting ducks, could have scrambled for cover, could have locked down the church, prevented the miscreant, who commenced shooting as he approached, from entering….maybe…

 

Understand this.  I posted a few years back about the vulnerability of Baptist congregations.  They comprise the largest incidents of church-related killings.  This is not the time or place to go into how & why, but the fact is, they are.  A church with a Hard-Target Mentality might do what Daryl Kennedy, Security Expert, and member of the Calvary Baptist Church, Easton, Pa. has sought to do and that is to make his leadership and congregations aware of the potential dangers, both inside and outside (parking lot, exits, entrances) of the church.

Daryl and I are now working on a book about church-related killings, which, by the way, are legion in the U.S.  We can learn a lot about making ourselves safe in potentially unsafe environments through some simple, common sense methodology, including, but not limited to some of the tactics and principles I will go into in the next two or three posts.

  • Mental Conditioning, or Survival Psyche.
  • Selectively Arming & Training Members.
  • Selectively selecting & training a dedicated security staff.
  • Periodic Monitoring of Congregation Members (domestic, psychological issues, etc).
  • Understanding the Left of Bang (security) Mentality.

Until the next post, stay safe.

The Hammer

TOWARD PREVENTING ANOTHER SENSELESS MASS-KILLING (SHOOTING) IN YOUR SOFT TARGET WORLD!

IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THIS BLOG SITE, you may remember a series of posts on preventing and/or surviving the dreaded Active Killer (Shooter) in your church, synagogue (temple), school, or workplace.  Since then (about four years ago), there have been at least a dozen mass killings in the United States.

TODAY (November 5, 2017), during services at a Baptist church in Southerland Springs (sp?), Texas, a score of miles from San Antonia, a gunman opened fire in the middle of (church) services, killing at least 27 (the number may grow) and wounding another 24.  The maniac fled the scene and was intercepted by police and eventually shot & killed.

What’s important in this context is how we can process this catastrophe and the seemingly unending flow of insane mass assaults on our well-being.  I mean, come on, we still must deal with our everyday lives.  Sending our children to (religious, elementary, middle, or high) school, or entering our workplaces.  Or, what about enjoying a concert or ballgame (especially after the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Vegas where over a 100 Country Western fans never went home)?

So, in the next few posts, I will cover (again) some key survival skills, tips on recognizing semi-clear signs that something bad your-way comes, and what you might do to prevent, escape, and/or prevail.

I am talking about all the “Soft Targets” out there that, more likely than not, you will eventually be entering and exiting probably on a daily basis.  Aint it about time you developed my Hard Target Strategy (or, Winology)?

Until then, stay safe.

Harry Hammer

Reconsidering Terrorism

I have to admit, folks, you might not learn anything new, anything that will assuage your fears and concerns as you – like I – watch the Sunday morning news (I am watching CNN) covering another mass shooting at The Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida (in the early morning hours of June 12, 2016) today.

As of this moment (almost 11AM, Sunday) on a vainglorious Sunday morning in Pa., replete with slow floating cirrus clouds and a brilliant blue sky, more than 50 innocent men and women are so far dead with almost that many in local hospitals, some of whom will probably die from their wounds.  None of whom will escape the psychological wounds.

Only time will tell us what motivated this massacre.  To me, it matters little.  We pretty much know already that the shooter harboured hatred in his heart.  Be it hatred for gays (which many Islamic radicals believe to be an abomination, or just an expression of animus for others.

Who the hell knows?

What I do know is this has been the deadliest shooting in American history.  We do know that it was eerily similar to the terrorist attack on a theater in Paris where a large number of people were gathered in a confined space (ever hear of shooting fish in a barrel?).

We also know this was a “Soft Target.”  I have written for years about the active shooter and soft targets, many of which involved our schools, work places, malls, etc.

The scary thing is that, according to my law enforcement and intelligence “contacts,” we are in (what they call) the crest of anticipated attacks against more and more soft targets across our country.

I just learned this minute that the ammunition used by this miscreant is specifically designed to create as much pain and destruction (of the human body) as possible upon arrival.  When I heard that, I muttered to myself—

“Jesus.”

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

So, what can you do now and in the future to prepare to survive and/or escape such an attack.

Truth is, I have absolutely zero fricking clue as to what to do.  If I was in this club, I would have no more idea what to do and how to do it in order to come out of this in one piece.

ALL I can suggest at this point is to scroll back and peruse my posts on the active shooter, but, heck, think about it:

  • You are in a nightclub with loud music, surrounded by other humans.
  • Your mind and concentration is absorbed in the atmosphere.
  • Your mind is in a non-combative status.  Simply put….
  • Once the shooting starts, you automatically (this is how our brain works) will absorb the sounds into an assumption that is part of the entertainment.  It will take over 2-seconds to recognize danger, and, by then—
  • It is too late.

Until my next post where I will address how to respond to a tactical mindset, etc., please stay safe.

Sorry I could not be more helpful.

The Hammer

Mass Shooter In Your Church?

Just the other day I was conducting a Defusing Aggression Training for security staff at a local Baptist Church and was asked what I would  suggest for members of their Safe Team to do if some nut job (my words, not theirs.  They’re nice people) started charging the pulpit (and the pastor) in the middle of a service.  Since the question was raised in the context of several Baptist pastors getting blown out of their pulpits by mad men in the past few years, let’s assume the person charging the pulpit is either brandishing or unleashing many bullets from that firearm!

Outstanding question, considering the fact that every 2.9 months in the United States there is some sort of mass shooting. Not only that, Rage-Shootings in our churches are not uncommon. Worse, of all the places of worship in our country Baptist venues are the most popular targets of Rage-Attackers.  There are reasons for this, but that is not the theme of this post. I thought I would do my best to answer the question posed at my seminar.  You might be concerned about your family’s safety at your place of worship, or your school, maybe even your workplace.  In my opinion, all of these workplaces (church, schools, synagogues are also workplaces) are ripe targets for Workplace Violence, which is rampant in the U.S., and, by the way, wil be more rampant in coming years…but I digress…...

STOPPING CHURCH VIOLENCE

Since June 22, 1980 when a crazed zealot stood and shouted, “This is War!” in the First Baptist Church in Dangerfield, Texas (as the pastor was leading the congregation in a song about Jesus) and raked the packed pews with bullets, wounding 15 and killing 5, including the pastor (the first mass murder in a church in the U.S) , over 500 churchgoers and clergymen have been killed to date, 145 of them of the Baptist Faith. I mention all of this to establish that the concerns of my Baptist friends are certainly legitimate.

My answer to the query about what to do if a shooter charges the pulpit is whatever it is you do, it is probably too late.  I hope I’m wrong, of course, but the Rage-Shooters I study are just that – Rage Shooters! They may be driven by an opposing ideology that the pastor and/or church has attacked; They may be impelled by serious mental health issues; or a guest speaker at the offending church might represent an opposing religious view point that enrages.  All of which, to me, at least, means that, like the shooter in Dangerfield in 1980, they will, after maybe a brief pronouncement, attack the church and all the people within suddenly and with extreme violence.  Again, I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but—

Likely, he will charge the pulpit, but probably not before unleashing Hell on the congregation on his way to  the spiritual leader of the church.  Once it starts it may be too late to stop the shooting, but the best bet is to Be Proactive instead of Reactive.  That may be your best strategy.

QUICK SKETCH OF PROACTIVE STRATEGIES

  • Create a Safety Committee.
  • Initiate and Perfect a Safety Plan.
  • Make Creating a Safe Room(s) where parishioners can barricade themselves “safely” a priority.
  • Establish and Inform about Escape and Evasion Routes, etc.
  • Communicate with local authorities and solicit ideas and suggestions for dealing with an Active Shooter.
  • Identify  Possible Groups Hostile to your Beliefs.
  • Initiate and Conduct Safety Training for your Parishioners.
  • Training Should Educate, but also put parishioners through Dynamic Simulation or Realistic Scenario Training(s).
  • Stress Inoculation/Dynamic Simulation Training for Safe Team on how to respond to an Active Shooter event.
  • Reach out and help parishioners who are in crisis.
  • Police Sources who would likely respond to a shooting-crisis, or violence, should be invited to participate in Dynamic Simulation training.
  • Local EMS (Medical Emergency Responders) should also be contacted for suggestions and/or information regarding how and when they would respond, etc.

Churches should also be aware of their resources available to mitigate and minimize the possibility of a mass shooting in their facility.

VALUABLE RESOURCES AVAILABLE

  1. Your ushers could be your front line.  Ushers come in contact with almost, if not all, of your visitors.  Train these people to recognize Signatures of Danger – verbal and non-verbal signs of danger, as well as signs that a visitor could be carrying a concealed handgun, edged weapon, and/or shotgun/machine gun, etc.
  2. School ushers and others how to deescalate and/or defuse aggression and/or even violence.  Maybe teach ushers and others on self-defense and subject-control techniques, or at least escape and evasion.
  3. Train you safety team on how to disarm an active shooter.
  4. Do not forget to involve your local police authorities.  At least those that would likely be your first responder(s) in a shooting or other type of violent event.

In the next post let’s talk about Dynamic Simulation Training designed to prevent and/or actively respond to this type of violence.

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

WOMEN, GIRLS, MEN AND BOYS: UNLEASH THE ANIMAL WITHIN!

YES, INDEEDY. I have been preaching this in self defense classes for decades, and, trust me,  it is as true and ageless as time itself.  Deep inside you there is a phenomenon that some wizards of The Fighting Arts call the ki or chi. Your chi (Chinese),or,  ki (Japanese), according to these wizards, these great masters of The Fighting/Martial Arts, are a source of great power and energy. Imagine this chi, or ki, “right in the center of your body, deep within your midsection.  Think two inches below  your belly button, but straight back into the middle of your torso,” according to Lori Hartman Gervasi, in her great book:  Fight Like a Girl—and Win.

But, here’s the dealio.  If ever you face an attacker, before the debilitating element of fear sets in and paralyzes you, first you must get your ass in gear!  You see, this chi or ki is there, but it cannot be released like some ancient genie by simply rubbing in some arcane manner on your center.  It is up to you to have the courage, fortitude and willingness to get yourself  in action ASAP!

Your ki/chi works like the ignition of a car – from nothing to full throttle, according to Gervasi.  Instant power and energy!  Explosion from the inside-out!  But, like the key in the ignition of a powerful automobile, you must first turn it on!

TURNING THAT KEY

So, how do we explode from the inside out?  How do we pull our energy and power source to the surface?   Actually it is dog crap simple.  Release your power and energy right from the get-go.  Get moving and use the sheer power of “fierce and immediate movement from the core of your fighting spirit (which is within every one of us).”  Get moving and turn that ignition key.  In other words, instead of standing there frozen, trying to analyze what the attacker is saying and/or about to do, you need to Do Something Now! When you act definitively and immediately, you do several things that will help you pevail:

  • You invoke the Element of Surprise.
  • You get the attacker back on his/her feet & weaken his potential attack.
  • You transcend the debilitating element of “Fear.”
  • You flood your body with Stress Hormones and take advantage of an Adrenale Dump, which empowers you to fight harder and better, to run faster, to endure injuries and pain.
  • And, finally, it empowers you to Unleash That Animal – that Beast – Inside!

Deep inside you, in a place where you must go mentally, is a beast.  It has been there for 250,000,000 years.  Give yourself the permission to grab onto it and become it. Yes, BECOME THE BEAST!  Turn that fear into sheer energy and power.

  1. When your gut instincts tell you something is wrong, believe it always!
  2. Breathe.  Get oxygenated blood flowing to your brain.
  3. Move now.  Do something:
  • Put some distance between you and him.
  • Put a barrier or barricade between you and him.
  • Say something.  “Stay back!”  “Nine-one-one!”  “What do you want?”  “I don’t have time for this!erbal SelfDefense (more on that in a later post).”
  • Verbalizing also serves the purpose of unlocking that hold fear might have on you, plus, it let’s the goofball who is threatening you know that you are not going to allow him to intimidate or bully you.  Use Verbal Self Defense (more on VSD in a later post).
  • Have an idea ahead-of-time, what you will do, if he gets aggressive, and, then, do it!
  • By all means, keep moving.  Don’t allow yourself to be cemented to the floor when he attacks!
  • If possible, strike first and use the element of suprise!

In the next post:  Using the element of surprise with your first strike!

Until then, stay safe.

Hammer

PREDICTING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

PREDICTING WORKPLACE VIOLENCE –

REFLECTING ON THE FORT HOOD TRAGEDY

VIOLENCE in the workplace  has been a major problem in the United States  for decades, but, now, since 9-11, actually, it is getting worse. Exponentially.  Every conceivable type of workplace has been and is impacted by the entire continuum of violence, ranging from verbal intimidation to mass murder.  But. in my opinion, though, since 0845 on 9/11, the dawn of the most pernicious act of workplace violence ever, safety in the workplace has never been so challenged, never been so shaky.  And, again in my opinion, since the world’s (and, of course, ours) economy tanked a few years ago,  injury and death occasioned by worker against worker is a dark, haunting and damn near imminent presence in almost every workplace.

You need not look too far beyond the Fort Hood tragedy where a psychiatric fellow and co-employee turned his insane rage against innocent soldiers and civilians, killing 13 and injuring dozens of others.

Overlooked by many who have studied this and other heinous acts of senseless mayhem is the fact that over 88% of workplace violence could be prevented if warning signs would have been observed and recognized as dangerous, and over 90% could have been avoided if someone had not only observed the impending “Red Flags,” but had actually reported it or them to an (responsible) authority figure.  Course, the problem with statistics such as these fails to reveal why, more often than not, when presented with timely observations, fears and feelings about workers, supervisors, administrators  and suspicious family members (Domestic Violence Spillover is a cogent factor in many catastrophic acts of violence in the workplace) way too many “authority figures and responsible persons” refuse or fail to act decisively in such a way and in such a manner that could prevent acts of violence like we say at Fort Hood!

Now, we can debate and discuss some of the obvious nuances, including but not .limited to the effectiveness of reporting cascading aggression, et al., but what I need to focus on here are some of the Cogent Warning Signs of Impending Violence in the Workplace.

  • CO-EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN VIOLENT IN THE WORKPLACE, OR OUTSIDE THE WORKPLACE IN THE PAST.
  • WORKER IS FASCINATED WITH AND/OR IN POSSESSION OF FIREARMS (which the Fort Hood killer was).
  • WORKER IS OR HAS BEEN A SUBSTANCE ABUSER.
  • THE WORKER HAS KNOWN OR SUSPECTED GRIEVANCES WITH OTHER WORKERS OR THE SYSTEM (which the Fort Hood perpetrator certainly did).
  • THE WORKER HAS A  RIGID, INFLEXIBLE PERSONALITY (which the perpetrator had).
  • THE WORKER CAN OFTEN BE CHARACTERIZED AS HAVING A SAD AND HOPELESS OUTLOOK.
  • WORKER IS CHRONICALLY ANGRY.
  • WORKER MAKES STATEMENTS INDICATIVE OF DEPRESSION.
  • THE WORKER SEEMS TO IDENTIFY WITH PAST SPECTACULAR ACTS OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE (would the 9/11 attacks qualify?).
  • SEVERAL OR MAN Y CO-WORKERS FEEL DISCOMFORT AROUND THIS WORKER!
  • THIS WORKER DEMONSTRATES SIGNS OF PARANOIA.
  • WORKER HAS BROUGHT WEAPON ON TO THE JOB SITE IN THE PAST.
  • WORKER RECENTLY SHOWS SIGNS OF EXTREME CHANGES IN “NORMAL” BEHAVIOR AND ATTITUDE.
  • THE WORKER IS “HYPER-FOCUSED.”  SHE/HE IS HIGHLY FOCUSED ON THE CONDUCT, BEHAVIOR, COMINGS AND GOINGS OF OTHER WORKERS.  MAY EVEN KEEP A DOSSIER ON OTHERS.

Of course, there are other “signatures of danger” that a future perpetrator of workplace violence might display, but, for the time being, because of time and space constraints, these must suffice.  Allow me one caveat, though.  A civil and peaceful individual may display any one, two, or maybe even three of the above traits, but, in order to adequately “profile a perpetrator, one should look for a cluster of 3 or 4 of these traits.  Key Red Flags, however (I mean really red, red flags) should include:

  • CHRONIC ANGER.
  • CHRONIC DEPRESSION AND HOPELESSNESS.
  • OTHER WORKERS FEEL DISCOMFORT AROUND HIM OR HER.
  • FASCINATION WITH WEAPONS, AND
  • FASCINATION WITH PAST SPECTACULAR ACTS OF WP VIOLENCE.

Stay Safe.

Hammer

Workplace Violence – What To Do?

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE(WPV) – WHAT TO DO?

A couple posts back I promised to talk about what to do if ever you are caught in a volatile workplace scenario where it is apparent either a patient, resident, client, or co-worker is about to perpetrate some serious hurt on you or another worker.

First of all, there are basically four types of WPV:

1) Violence at the hands of patients/clients.

2) Violence Associated with robbery and other crimes.

3) Domestic Violence that spills over into the workplace.

4) Violence among co-workers and managers.

In any of these cases, when you feel there is a threat of violence – and here I am mostly talking Domestic Violence Spillover; Violence at the hands of clients and Violence among workers – do your best to report your feelings and observations to superiors at the site. My research shows that over 85% of WPV could have been prevented if reported. Of course, often events and observations go unreported because the workplace has either a poor reputation for investigating complaints fairly (and for keeping whistle-blowers anonymous), or no capability.

COUNTER-WPV STRATEGIES

There are 4 stages of WPV, each ascending stage more dangerous than the preceding stage. WPV ranges from shouting obscenities to mass murder. Therefore, when I allude to Counter WPV Strategies, I am referring to strategies against Stage 4 Type WPV (Simple Assault; Aggravated Assault; Sexual Assault; Rape; Active Shooter in the Workplace; etc.).

v TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. You wouldn’t ignore a Smoke Detector or a Fire Alarm, would you? When you get that feeling that something is wrong, there is.

v HAVE A WPV PLAN. If you are lucky, you have a forward-thinking employer, who not only has a (Natural) Disaster Plan, a Fire-Escape Plan, but has a plan for Violence in the WP, too, including:

Ø A WPV Chain Of Command.

Ø An Assigned Laison with police.

Ø All employees must know how and when to contact Security and/or the Pre-Assigned Chain Of Command in an emergency.

Ø A Communication System to alert workers.

Ø A Lockdown and/or Evacuation Plan.

  • HAVE YOUR OWN WPV PLAN. Seriously, with violence in the WP growing at exponential rates, you should have a Personal Safety Strategy, including, but not limited to answers to the following crucial questions:

Ø What can I use as an improvised weapon to protect me at my job site?

Ø Do I know where the alarms are? Do I know the Chain of Command and how to contact Security?

Ø What items at my site could a perpetrator use as a weapon against me?

Ø Is my work site (desk, etc.) situated so that I can escape, or am I trapped here?

O CONTROL YOUR SPACE. Use your environment to control your space. Prevent the Bad Guy from entering your PSZ (Personal safety Zone).  Use barricades, such as desks, chairs, AV equipment, waste cans, et al, to gain distance from the perpetrator, or to throw at him to delay his or her approach.

v STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. If possible, call on others whom you trust to gather with you against the perpetrator.

AND, IF YOU ARE THINKING, WELL, GOSH, THESE SUGGESTIONS ARE COMMON SENSE. EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS, JUST ALLOW ME TO SAY THAT, IN A CRISIS THE RAREST COMMODITY IS COMMON SENSE! IT IS BEST TO THINK AHEAD. ALWAYS!

STAY SAFE.

HAMMER