Before the police arrive in a workplace violence incident, especially in an active shooter situation, a lot can happen. I know first hand how in the first few minutes of my interactions with Michael Hill dramatically changed the situation. If I panicked or had a gun at my disposal (lawmakers are purposing to arm administrators, teachers, and support staff), I am sure that the outcome would have been very different with many injuries or probably death. It still amazes me that my school active situation is the only event in the US in which there were no deaths or injuries.
No matter who initiates a violent workplace confrontation, the deadliest situations involve an active shooter. U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines active shooter as someone “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”
Rather than using run, hide and flight, the usual reactions to a violent situation, I used my Tuff tactics, compassion, confidence, and control, which are textbook hostage negotiations tactics (which I learned after the fact). Even though our school district, commonly had fire drills and intruder alert which included a school lockdown protocol, I was not formally trained on what to do if I was confronted by an active shooter and how to handle the situation.
Thankfully, my intuition kicked in and I was able to reason with a troubled young man who realized that “everything was going to be ok” if he peacefully surrendered his gun. It is my goal to help individuals that could be in a similar situation be better prepared with a new set of tools, my Tuff Tactics since workplace violence-related deaths and injuries are significantly on the rise. Injury Facts lists data for workplace violence-related deaths, and injuries resulting in days off of work, across various occupations. Here are some statistics for 2013:
- Government: 37,110 injuries, 128 deaths
- Education and health services: 22,590 injuries, 35 deaths
- Professional and Business Services: 4,460 injuries, 65 deaths
- Retail: 2,680 injuries, 127 deaths
- Leisure and hospitality: 2,380 injuries, 107 deaths
- Financial activities: 1,100 injuries, 37 deaths
- Transportation and warehousing: 840 injuries, 71 deaths
- Construction: 680 injuries, 36 deaths
- Manufacturing: 570 injuries, 36 deaths
My question to you is what policies and procedures are you putting in place for workplace violence or are you waiting for it to knock on the door of your business or home?