Preparing for the Worst Expert Stresses Training Employees to Handle Violent Incidents, Other Hazards

By Lindeman, Teresa F | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), June 22, 2014 | Go to article overview

Preparing for the Worst Expert Stresses Training Employees to Handle Violent Incidents, Other Hazards


Lindeman, Teresa F, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder asked Congress to approve $15 million to pay for training to help law enforcement officials handle incidents in which armed individuals are actively gunning for innocent bystanders.

"Between 2000 and 2008, the United States experienced an average of approximately five active shooter incidents every year," said Mr. Holder in his April announcement. "Since 2009, this annual average has roughly tripled."

From a mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas to a gunman opening fire at a Jewish Community Center near Kansas City to more than one school shooting around the country, there's been no lack of examples this spring on how violence can occur in places where people put their packed lunches in the fridge and settle in to earn a paycheck.

Poke around enough, said Bo Mitchell, president of 911 Consulting in Wilton, Conn., and it's not hard to find incidents of violence - and not just active shooter incidents - have occurred in all sorts of workplaces.

So while it's critical to train law enforcement, it's also important for companies to help their own employees respond effectively in emergencies. No matter how quickly the police and firefighters show up, Mr. Mitchell said, they won't be the ones in place to handle the initial problem.

"The first responders are your employees," he said.

The nation's occupational safety and health regulations require employers to provide a safe workplace, an assignment that includes a range of responsibilities from providing safe tools and equipment to training employees about hazardous chemicals used in the workplace. …

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