When you see an incident of workplace violence in the news, it’s easy to say that it couldn’t happen here. This week has changed that for us.
During the past two weeks, we’ve had two unsettling incidents in our normally peaceful town. Last week, we had an active shooter situation where a lone gunman killed six people and wounded two others. Yesterday, a local high school was closed due to some threats which were made on social media.
We’ve always encouraged our customers to practice fire and tornado drills. As an example, prior to tornado season each year, the HRM team participates in our annual three story hike to the basement. Given the recent violence, we’re now recommending the addition of a workplace violence plan and drill.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends the following steps if there is a shooter on site:
- Evacuate: If you can get out safely, do so.
- Shelter in place: If a gunman doesn’t know where you are, he can’t shoot you. Close your door and lock or block it if possible.
- Call 911: The faster you call, the faster they can respond. If you can’t speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can listen.
- Fight back: As a last resort, do anything you can in self-defense including throwing things, yelling, and acting as aggressively as possible.
To prepare for this, we encourage employers to develop a plan that includes instructing employees how to:
- Identify a potentially threatening situation
- Communicate a threat so that preventive action can be taken
- Raise an alarm
- Evacuate and meet in a designated safe place
- Communicate during an emergency situation
Like our tornado drill, we hope we will never need to use this process, but being prepared for emergencies is the best thing you can do to keep your employees safe.
For additional information, the Department of Homeland Security has a guide available on line at:
Or via Kalamazoo County at: