INDICATORS OF POTENTIAL VIOLENCE BY AN EMPLOYEE

CONTENTS:

A. INDICATORS OF POTENTIAL VIOLENCE BY AN EMPLOYEE

B. PREPARING FOR & MANAGING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION

C. HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY


Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

A. INDICATORS OF POTENTIAL VIOLENCE BY AN EMPLOYEE

Employees typically do not just “snap,” but display indicators of potentially violent behavior over time. If these behaviors are recognized, they can often be managed and treated. Potentially violent behaviors by an employee may include one or more of the following (this list of behaviors is not comprehensive, nor is it intended as a mechanism for diagnosing violent tendencies):

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Unexplained increase in absenteeism; vague physical complaints
  • Noticeable decrease in attention to appearance and hygiene
  • Depression/withdrawal
  • Resistance and overreaction to changes in policy and procedures
  • Repeated violations of company policies
  • Increased severe mood swings
  • Noticeably unstable, emotional responses
  • Explosive outbursts of anger or rage without provocation
  • Suicidal; comments about “putting things in order”
  • Behavior which is suspect of paranoia, (“everybody is against me”)
  • Increasingly talks of problems at home
  • Escalation of domestic problems into the workplace; talk of severe financial problems
  • Talk of previous incidents of violence
  • Empathy with individuals committing violence
  • Increase in unsolicited comments about firearms, other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

B. PREPARING FOR AND MANAGING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION

Your human resources department and facility managers should engage in planning for emergency situations, including an active shooter scenario. Planning for emergency situations will help to mitigate the likelihood of an incident by establishing the mechanisms described below.

Human Resources’ Responsibilities

  • Conduct effective employee screening and background checks
  • Create a system for reporting signs of potentially violent behavior
  • Make counseling services available to employees
  • Develop an EAP which includes policies and procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation, as well as after action planning

Facility Manager Responsibilities

  • Institute access controls (i.e., keys, security system passcodes)
  • Distribute critical items to appropriate managers/employees, including:
    • Floor plans
    • Keys
    • Facility personnel lists and telephone numbers
  • Coordinate with the facility’s security department to ensure the physical security of the location
  • Assemble crisis kits containing:
    • radios
    • floor plans
    • staff roster, and staff emergency contact numbers
    • first aid kits
    • flashlights
  • Place removable floor plans near entrances and exits for emergency responders
  • Activate the emergency notification system when an emergency situation occurs

C. HOW TO RESPOND WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY

Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.

1) HIDE

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe

2) HIDE

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)
  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
  • Remain quiet

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm
  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

3) FIGHT

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions

If you found this information valuable, please forward it to a friend. You MAY save a life.

Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards.

If you are looking for a workshop for your organization, contact us today; we offer a 4-hour training session beyond workplace violence.

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