Sadly, society continues to produce examples of dangerous and deadly violence in the workplace. No particular type of business seems exempt from criminal acts of violence. From business offices to military facilities, crime can happen at any place and any time.
Knowing the warning signs of someone who may be on the path to dangerous and destructive behavior is critical to prevention, but on the chance that prevention is too late, it’s important to know what you would do if something were to happen: Have a plan in place.
Many businesses have done a commendable job of creating a violence-prevention plan as well as an incident-response plan. However, some have not.
If you are employed by a business with a plan, take some time to re-familiarize yourself with it and be sure to ask your supervisor/managers about areas you are unsure of. If your business doesn’t have a plan you can still prepare yourself and have your own safety and prevention “plan.”
To create your plan, prioritize YOUR safety as the first order of business. Some terrifying incidents have been lessened by great heroic acts but these are also times when would-be heroes have become a liability and actually made the situation worse. The decision to act and what to do is certainly yours to make but scoping out a plan ahead of time can make the difference between life, injury and possible death.
When at work, imagine what you would do in an emergency situation. Do you know where each exit is? If it is unsafe to try and exit, do you have a “hiding” place available in which you could lock yourself (and is it equipped with a phone)? Confirm today that your planned hiding place has locks on the door that can be locked from the inside.
If you were in a situation where you couldn’t talk on the phone out of fear of being found, what would you do? Call 9-1-1 anyway and leave the phone line open so the emergency services dispatcher can hear what is going on in the background and send emergency assistance.
Persons who do not have authorized access to the facility sometimes commit workplace violence. This puts more responsibility on you to use good crime preventive common sense. Use safety measures to ensure your safe arrival and departure from work; for example, parking in well lit areas, looking out before going to your car, reporting suspicious incidents to supervisors or security (or law enforcement when appropriate), keeping doors that are supposed to be closed and locked closed and locked!
Take some time to think about what you can do to help make your workplace a safe location and create a personal “plan” of how you would react to a variety of different situations.
Preparation, awareness and reporting will help to create a workplace free of violence.
This article is provided by Crime Prevention Outreach via St. George Police Department, Capt. James Van Fleet
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