The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released a list of recommendations for citizens to consider when responding to life threatening situations; recognizing signs of potential workplace violence; and how to respond when law enforcement arrives on the scene. Each response is appropriate for protecting oneself, and they help police by reducing confusion thus allowing authorities to focus on the real problem.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released a list of recommendations for citizens to consider when responding to life threatening situations; recognizing signs of potential workplace violence; and how to respond when law enforcement arrives on the scene. Each response is appropriate for protecting oneself, and they help police by reducing confusion thus allowing authorities to focus on the real problem.

If you are ever in a situation where an active shooter is near you, it is recommended that you, “Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation.”

Evacuate

Have an escape route and plan in mind Leave your belongings behind Keep your hands visible

Hide out

Hide in an area out of the active shooter’s view Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors

Take action

As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger Attempt to incapacitate the active shooter Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter


Call 911 when it is safe to do so
Once law enforcement arrives on the scene, Homeland Security recommends you should:

Remain calm; follow officers’ instructions Immediately raise hands and spread fingers Keep hands visible at all times Avoid making quick movements toward officers or attempt to hold on to them for safety Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises

Information you should provide to law enforcement or 911 call taker:

Location of the active shooter Number of shooters, if more than one Physical description of shooter/s Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s Number of potential victims at the location

In addition to the recommendations previously given, Homeland Security also wants citizens to be aware in the workplace environment that, “An active shooter may be a current or former employee.  Alert your Human Resources Department if you believe and employee exhibits potentially violent behavior.”  Indicators of potentially violent behavior may include one or more of the following:

Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints Depression/Withdrawal Increased severe mood swings, and noticeably unstable or emotional responses Increasingly talks of problems at home Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

Workplace violence is an increasing concern for employers and employees nationwide and it can be manifest in many ways such as threats, verbal abuse, physical assaults, and even homicide.  Workplace homicides have now become one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.  One need only to remember what happened recently at Fort Hood, Texas, to realize it is a major concern and can happen anywhere.