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Posts Tagged ‘Preparedness’

Safety training doesn’t matter, until suddenly it does

For Marisa Eckberg, it was just a typical day in the office.


Until suddenly, it wasn’t.

Eckberg, an associate with a Dallas-area HR Managed Services company, was conducting training for a client when the president of that client company interrupted her work to deliver alarming news. Shots had been fired in their high-rise office building, and they needed to respond quickly to keep themselves and their team members safe.

Despite her fear, Eckberg calmly took action. She began directing the employees into a dark supply room, and directed them to close, lock, and barricade the door with a filing cabinet. She instructed them to turn the lights off and remain silent and set phones to “do not disturb.”

How did Eckberg remain calm, and know exactly what to do? Just six weeks before, she attended Active Shooter training hosted by her company. She learned the “run, hide, fight” protocol, and knew her office’s emergency procedures and her responsibilities as a leader to keep her employees safe. She was able to utilize those in her client’s building.

“It was definitely a scary situation, and one I would never want anyone to have to go through, but had my company not conducted active shooter training just a few weeks prior, I would have been that much more terrified and unable to offer any kind of help to those around me,” said Eckberg in a blog post recounting the experience.

It might be tempting not to take safety and emergency training seriously, but in a crisis such training is crucial. What can you do to ensure safety and emergency training is an important part of your organizational culture? Start with the following steps:

Review your safety and emergency training policies and procedures, and make sure they are complete and up to date. Include procedures for fires, natural disasters and other common emergencies. Review policies at least annually.

Schedule safety and emergency training regularly and require attendance for every employee and regular volunteer. Move beyond classroom presentations to drills where participants walk through procedures.

Inspect safety and emergency systems regularly. Fire detection and suppression systems, video surveillance systems, alarm systems and all other systems require routine maintenance and inspection to ensure they are functioning properly. Be sure you’ve documented any changes or updates to systems, too, and ensure they are working properly.

Look for gaps in safety and emergency systems and considering adding additional capabilities. Gunshot detection systems are a fairly new entry to the market. Much as a smoke or fire detection system automatically alerts building occupants to potential danger, gunshot detection systems automatically alert and respond to shots fired in a facility.
Learn more about our Guardian active shooter detection systems at an upcoming Live Fire event.

Now is the time to plan an active shooter preparedness drill

Has your organization staged an active shooter preparedness drill? If the answer is no, you are not alone.


According to a recent story in HR Daily Advisor, most companies have not. Despite strong perceptions that an active shooter incident is a top threat, 79 percent of those surveyed don’t fee adequately prepared for such a scenario, and 61 percent have never conducted an active shooter preparedness drill.
In additional, 44 percent don’t have a plan to communicate and escalate alerts.
Need to get your active shooter preparedness efforts off the ground? Take these steps:
Bring stakeholders to the table
Stakeholders will vary based on context, but consider including facility managers, security personnel, local law enforcement and other first responders, employees with significant contact with the public. Each will bring a different, valuable perspective.
Research resources
The Department of Homeland Security has developed education materials including a video, pamphlets and posters aimed at educating the public about what to do in an active shooter situation. Click here for details.
Assessment and education is also available from ECT Services. Contact James Burton at 502.632.4322 or email sales@ectservices.com.
Enhance systems
Consider adding an active shooter detection system to your facility. The award-winning Guardian Shooter Detection System significantly reduces response time by automatically detecting when shots are fired, then instantly reporting the activity to authorities and alerting people in the area.
Interested in learning more? Register for a Live Fire Event to see the system in action.
Get it in writing
Just as will all other emergency policies and procedures, your plan should be written, distributed to all appropriate personnel, and reviewed and updated regularly.
Practice makes perfect
Coordinate with local law enforcement and first responders to conduct an active shooter drill. Communicate to participants and the public when and where the drill will take place, and what they can expect. Surprises drills can set off panic and lead to public safety issues.

Five Steps for Tornado Season Preparation

Just a few short years ago, a tornado outbreak cut a wide swath through the Ohio Valley. The outbreak – the second deadliest March outbreak on record – left a path of destruction across Kentucky, Indiana and much of the southeastern United States.

The tornado leveled homes, businesses, churches and schools. The outbreak began early and picked up steam throughout the day, slamming into Henryville, Ind. just as schools were dismissing for the day.

Is your facility prepared for a tornado? Tornado season is at its peak from March to May, so now is the time to review plans. Check out these preparation steps, courtesy of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration:

Identify a safe shelter. Basements are best, but if no underground shelter area is available, identify an interior room on the lowest level of your facility. Avoid large, open spaces such as auditoriums or cafeterias.

Equip the shelter area. Secure a first aid kit in the designated shelter area. Consider adding a weather radio to the kit, too.

Establish an alarm system. Test the system regularly, and be sure staff members recognize the alarm.

Prepare to get an accurate headcount. How will you account for all the people in your facility? Keep updated lists and logs of staff, visitors and anyone else that might be in your facility on any given day. Designate a staff person to take charge of those lists in an emergency. Know who is in your shelter area, and who is not accounted for in an emergency.

Practice, practice, practice. Hold training drills throughout the year, and identify areas for improvement.

For more information, check out this preparedness guide developed by NOAA, FEMA and the American Red Cross.