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Month: March, 2013

Do YOU or your staff have Situational Awareness?

March 29, 2013

  

                One of the many things to think about when training your employees and yourself for a potential WPV incident is situational awareness. And while most everyone has a vague idea of what that is, they can’t define it and they don’t know if they have it. So let me try to explain this to you, as best as I can.

                It is defined as, knowing and being aware of the situation around you. The situation can vary from environment to environment even within your own company. If you work in a manufacturing plant then your awareness will necessarily have you being aware of your surroundings with moving forklifts, 10, 20, 30, or larger presses, hot liquids, chemicals that are hazardous, and etc.

                Around all of these things you have to have situational awareness. You can’t just be in a daze and walk around the production floor. If you did, you’re liable to walk into a press, moving forklift, or fall into a vat of anodizing liquid (usually at a temperature of at least 175 degrees). Those can be hazardous and life threatening.

                Likewise in an active shooter situation you have to be aware of what’s happening around you as well. You have to be able to make split second decisions, after weighing all the pluses and minuses of the situation. And when bullets are flying and your internal ‘fight or flight’ (more than likely flight) is in full alert mode and the adrenaline is flowing, you may not be able to think clearly.

                Many great leaders and managers can’t think in a crisis or emergency situation. Some people are built to be able to think on their feet and do the right thing, immediately. They can size up the situation and make the correct decision, most of the time, within a Nano-second. Some of these people are not supervisors, managers, or even top management. Many times it’s the employee who has better control of their internal emotions.

                One thing I always taught my security officers is, and this does sound a bit weird I admit, is to be a little bit paranoid. And after that they have to run various scenarios through their mind, so they are prepared for such an event – no matter what it may be. I always taught them to think as a ner’do’well or miscreant to prepare themselves for a situation, and then how would they handle it.

                Sometimes my officers responded outside their comfort zone and did very well. As a matter of fact even those who were considered ‘slow and stupid’ by other supervisors and managers acquitted themselves adequately in emergency situations on post. To me it proves that at least in these instances, my method works.

                If you have employees or supervisory people who can’t think straight in an emergency, then you need to appoint someone else to lead the team to safety, and unfortunately for ego and chain of command sake, it may be an hourly employee. And this may also mean the Crisis Management Team as well. One of the major precepts of any good manager, and employee for that matter, is to know their subordinates limitations.

                As an Operations Supervisor in Kansas City I had to assist with placing officers where they best fit. Sometimes that wasn’t where they wanted to be nor the shift they wanted. But I had to make them understand that everyone lives down to their levels of competence.

                But situational awareness is as much an acquired skill as it is inborn. While you can have those instincts and have the awareness, it can also be taught. And you have to endeavor to teach your employees how to have that situational awareness. It’s not easy but it could save their lives and yours.

                So how do you teach it? Not so easy as defining it. The one technique that I told you about earlier is being paranoid. Because if they’re paranoid, then they will constantly be aware of what’s around them.

                Obviously, you don’t want employees that are paranoid and scared of their own shadow. However, if you utilize ‘team building’ and observation exercises in your monthly or quarterly meetings they will be better observers and hopefully acquire that awareness fairly cheaply for the company. And if they can acquire that skill, it will help them, their families, and the company as well.

 

                Want to know more on situational awareness training? Call or write Today’s Training LLC and we can help you figure it out and run them for you. 480-251-5197, todaystraining@aol.com, or sollarssecurityshield.com.  

Can it really happen here?

March 26, 2013

  

                One of the questions I get on a regular basis and an attitude I hear in the media every time an incident of either SV or WPV occurs. ‘We never thought it could happen here’! And they are shocked at the thought of a violent incident in their place of education or vocation.

                I’ve said this before and will continue to say it for as long as I breathe and lead seminars. The attitude of CHH is the most dangerous one that anyone can have. It doesn’t matter if you’re an employee, student, manager, or school administrator you have to believe. Why do you have to believe?

                Look around you and at the headlines. If you go to Google and look for workplace/school violence you’ll see an innumerable list of incidents on a day-to-day basis.

                Here is a short list of the incidents that I’ve encountered over the past year or so since I started in business;

Pre-teens trying to poison their teacher

A teenager shoots 3 in a school cafeteria in a small town

A man rampages through a salon looking for his wife

An elderly man gets upset at a client and kills 2 and wounds 2

A woman kills herself after being bullied

Bo

A man kills and wounds dozens in a movie theater threats in innumerable places

A young man walks into an elementary school and kills 26

A pre-teen takes a pistol to school to handle a ‘problem’

A man walks through a shopping mall and begins shooting people

And the list goes on and on…

 

                These are just a few of the incidents that I’ve collected. I have collected swell over 200 incidents of school and workplace violence since the beginning of 2012. And as you’ll see, talking heads, media police, psychologists, and most of the victims will say the same thing. I’m sure that you know of several of the incidents above. But the issue in all of them is consistent.

The victims ALL said ‘I didn’t think it could happen here!’

                And yet it did and will continue to do so as long as that attitude persists in society. I will once again remind you, my loyal readers of this one fact; It can happen to anyone, any-where, at any time, for any reason. This meaning is simple.

Shopping malls

Schools – elementary thru college

Offices

Sign companies

Manufacturing plants

Warehouses

Playgrounds

Fast food restaurants – not robberies

Night clubs and bars

 

                Do I need to go on with this list either? I believe you know what I’m thinking and talking about. So take heed and do your best to safeguard your kids and loved ones. But realize and understand It Can Happen Here.

 

                Today’s Training LLC is available to ensure the protection of your school and business with its consultation and training services. check out our website for more information www.sollarssecurityshield.com

Follow us on Twitter @robertsollars2.

Being sued over security – or lack thereof

March 22, 2013

 

            In today’s litigious society there are many things for a business to be worried about; bad products & employees, defective supply’s, do people have the money to afford your product? And then of course there is being sued, cash flow, overhead,  expenses, and bad management. Any one of these or a myriad of other reasons can put you into bankruptcy and out of business quickly. And then you and your employees are out of luck.

            And while I can’t assist any business owner or manager with those issues, there is one area I can help. That is in security. And the business security, even for larger corporations, many times is simply a mere afterthought and not considered an issue. That can be a big mistake for them. And not paying attention to your security can cost you so much more in the long run.

            Your first line of defense in security is both your receptionist/front desk person and your human resources department. Yes HR can play a huge part in the security of your company and potentially stop anything from happening. I’m not talking about them being the ones that your service report too either.

            So let’s take a look at the 3 main ways in which you can be sued over your security program or lack thereof;

 

Negligent Hiring

            Yes, hiring the wrong person can literally put you and your company out of business. We’ve all heard the stories of companies being sued because they hired someone who did this or did that. But of all of those incidents, how many times have we heard about security issues in it? Probably none.

            Hiring the wrong individual can put your entire organization at risk. How you ask? In ways you may not have thought. If you hire someone with a violent past and they assault a co-worker, then you’re on the hook. Add to this the potential for someone to be blackmailed into stealing or allowing you to be stolen from, WPV, and such you can see the problem.

            And if you employ someone that has had problems at other jobs, then you open yourself up to being sued also. Problems such as making threats, actual assaults on co-workers, verbally abusing customers, throwing a ‘hissy’ fit, and similar can take you into court and not just civil.

            It is fortunate that in Arizona, there is a law that allow employers to inform potential new employers the bad information about a current or former employee, as long as it is given truthfully and without malice. Many employers still don’t do this, because it’s easier to just say ‘no re-hire’ than go into detail and defend the company in court.

 

Inadequate Security

            Do you have security officers at your site? If not, is any ne responsible for locking doors, turning on lights, and ensuring that everything is secure? If not, then you may have another huge issue on your hands. And one that may get you sued.

            In most cases of WPV and in many other cases in which someone is assaulted, the charge of inadequate is leveled at the company. If a tenant is assaulted in an apartment complex and the gates are broken, then you will get sued.

            Likewise, if the maintenance department leaves a ladder propped against the building and a burglar gets in and commits a burglary and/or an assault, you can also rest assured that you’ll be sued as well.

            Inadequate security also extends to not having security officers, alarms, surveillance, and other devices in the area to protect them. And you have to believe that dummy cameras, or other such simulated devices,  are not the answer! They can and will, open you up to more lawsuits than you might expect.

            The ONLY way to avoid to being sued over inadequate security is ensure that you have a physical security program in place and it’s a strong one. That takes in a lot of space and time, but in the long run it’ll be worth it.

            Lastly, another area that falls into this arena is training. If the individuals responsible for security in your business, whether they be officers, guards, or a regular employee who’s charged with it, doesn’t know what they’re doing then you could be in deep. These people have to be trained in proper techniques or they’re worthless and can get you sued.

 

Inadequate Supervision

            If you have an employee that is being bullied, harassed, threatened, or actually assaulted and they have informed the supervisor/manager and nothing has been done, then here is your 3rd way of being sued. This lack of supervision can take several forms as well.

  •  The supervisor not being around when they      are supposed to be
  •  Not following up on complaints about the      above incidents
  •  Not stopping       the above issues if observed
  •  Joining in with the harassment or      bullying
  •  Not following up with security issues
  •  Maintenance issues that may cause      problems
  •  Personnel or personal problems with      employees

 

            And those are just a few of the reasons that you can be sued over inadequate supervision. I have no doubt that there are innumerable more, but I won’t go into them here.

 

            Today’s Training LLC is able to assist you in avoiding being sued  over these issues. Give us a call at 480-251-5197 for a consultation.

 

Hiring the disabled into security

March 20, 2013

  

                Far too many people think that this is just not a good idea. And why, because most of them believe or think that we can’t do much of anything but be a pest and ask for expensive ‘accommodations’ or special treatment. That is the one thing that is the farthest from our minds.

                If you really want to be able to get those of us that are disabled, then hire us into security and see how good we can be. Granted, there are many jobs within the field that aren’t suited for those who are disabled. A blind person, like me, can’t watch CCTV monitors or check ID’s at the main gate, but there are things I can do, such as type, teach, and consult.

                So what are some of the jobs that a disabled person can’t do? Here is a short list of them. And while this is by no means a definitive list, it’ll give you the idea of what I’m saying.

  •  Access Control if you’re blind
  • Walking a patrol if you’re in a wheelchair
  • Making patrols in a noisy factory with moving equipment if you’re deaf
  •  Front desk duty if you’re mute

 

Those are a few of them. Do you really think that someone who is blind can’t work at the front desk? How about a person in a wheelchair working at a central monitoring station. Possibly the deaf person working in the same place? In Arizona, the only restriction is placed on us by the companies that could hire us – unless you can get a license you can’t go to work and DPS (Dept. of Public Safety) doesn’t help much

        As for us wanting expensive equipment or a reason to sue a company for a huge payday or something like that it’s simply not true. All we want to do is work and we expect the same as every other employee you may have. Respect, plain simple respect and nothing more.

        No special accommodations, no special treatment, and definitely not hundreds of thousands of dollar’s worth of equipment if we want it for the ease of doing our job. Do we need special equipment to do our jobs effectively and efficiently? Of course we do! But that kind of equipment is few and far between. And the government will help you pay for it, if for no other reason than to get us off the rolls of social security!

Courtesy

        By simple courtesy, and speaking from a blind persons POV, tell me if you’re going to do something at my desk or work station. In other words, if you borrow my stapler put it back where you got it and tell me you’re going to take it. If you move my coffee cup to put something in front of me, let me move it or tell me where it’s placed, spilling a cup of coffee, soda, or even water isn’t what we want to do.

        As is common in most offices, you can’t leave filing cabinets open in an aisle with a blind person, especially at or above waist level. That can be very uncomfortable for us, after we walk into it. The same goes for items placed in the aisle for whatever reason. If we’re not expecting trash cans to be there, then we may trip over it and break our nose (not to mention pride).

        So do you not ask your co-workers if they want a cup of coffee when you head to the pot? Of course you do, so ask us as well. What about lunch or dinner? We may want to order out too.

        As a blind person or anyone else who is disabled, treat us the same as you do any other person. I get irritated with people who tread on egg shells around me, because they’re afraid of offending me. I tell as many blind jokes as the next person and I laugh about them! Don’t be embarrassed around us.

        How do you expect kids to learn how to respond and react around those who are disabled if you don’t know how? You can’t. Therefore our kids grow up and are embarrassed and don’t know how to act and most of the time will act badly simply because they don’t know any better.  And who’s to blame? Just like with violence in our schools, the parents.

        There are disabled people out there who want nothing better than to sue a company for everything they can get for the slightest little bit if dis-respect. Or they want thousands of dollars of accommodations made in walls, floors, bathrooms, and the like before they start work or shortly thereafter. Your HR Managers should be able to weed those people out quickly enough, and just like with most things, this is not the norm.

        Most of us who go blind later in life have a wealth of experience and knowledge we want to share. We want to help safeguard lives and property as well as anyone does so let us try. You may be surprised what that disabled person in your office can do! I can almost guarantee you that you won’t find a better employee, a s long as the job fits the person.

 

        Today’s Training LLC is ready and willing to assist you in hiring those who may be disabled in any fashion. Give us a call if you have a question 480-251-5197  

Facing an Active Shooter Situation

March 15, 2013

 

You see police shootouts on Tv. read about them. maybe think about them. 

But what should you do if you ever encounter an active shooter situation?

Sometimes, even trained security officers, police officers, and soldiers don’t know.  Every situation is different … and most of us aren’t security or police officers. Even as ex-military, we may not be fully prepared for such an event in civilian life.

So what should you do to save yourself, friends, and loved ones if bullets start flying in your business, or the one you’re visiting?

There are several possibilities

Let me tell you what I think is best  

Some states allow citizens to openly carry their firearms. If you want to, and you live in such a state, by all means do so.  (States with the least restrictive firearm laws are usually see the fewest firearm crimes. And rarely do mass shootings occur in a state that allows open carry).

But if you’re at work, school, or out and about, that may not be an option for you or your cohorts.  However, a useful methodology has developed over the past year or so:  it’s called “Run, Hide, or Fight.” It works like this:

1:  Run … Run if you can, because it’s the safest thing to do. If you can get out of the line of fire and away from the area where the shooter is, do it. This is why evacuation plans exist in most businesses. Although only 17% of businesses have an active shooter evacuation plan, it still makes sense.

If your employer doesn’t have such a plan, then do what you can to make up your own. If you know that the shooter is a current/former employee, then take this advice; DO NOT take the planned evacuation routes.

What?  How crazy is that?  But think: who knows the evacuation route better than a current/former employee? If that shooter is going to target specific people, then they’ll know which routes to cover and began shooting at those who are running to get out.

So discover some other little way to get out of your facility that is less risky and not known as well – but stay safe.

2:  Hide … If you can take cover and hide, do it.  Find a good “hidey hole” and stay there until the police or other emergency personnel come looking for you and everyone else.  It doesn’t matter where this “hidey hole” is, just as long as it will keep you safe and sound.

Ensure that it is:

  • behind a cabinet …
  • behind or under a desk …
  • inside a closet that locks …
  • in a storm cellar …
  • or something similar.

Once you’re there, stay quiet. It does no good to hide away from a shooter, but then make a sound that gives away your location. If you have asthma or a cold, that may not be possible — so in that case, for the sake of your friends or co-workers, find another place to hide.

Two final options

3:  Fight … Actually, you can do one of two things …

ü  Your first option is again to run if you can.  If you decide you can make it out of your “hidey hole” and be safe, then by all means make a run for it.

ü  Your second option is to fight back.  If you encounter the shooter, you may have to fight them, possibly for your life. Use whatever is at hand to distract them and get the sights off yourself.  Throw stuff.  Staplers, cups, vases, books, folders, binders, phones, even chairs — anything freestanding you can get your hands on — make excellent weapons at a moment’s notice.  Not to mention your own hands, feet, and arms!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Keep in mind that most active shooter incidents are targeted. If people other than the intended victims get shot, it’s because the shooter’s aim was off or people accidentally got in the way.  

Despite what the media and talking heads would have you believe most shooters will not just randomly start shooting at anyone and everyone.

For your and your friends’ future safety, memorize the elements of Run, Hide, Fight … though we pray you never need them, you never know when you might.

 

We at Sollars Security Shield (Today’s Training LLC) are ready, willing, and able to assist you in designing, writing, developing, and implementing your active shooter plans.

Call us at 480-251-5197, or 480-495-4186

How Good is your Access Control? Part 2

March 12, 2013

 

                With visitors, delivery personnel, and other contractors, need to be signed in and issued an ID card when they are on the property. Ideally, the card they issued is a self-expiring type that they can’t use more than once before it is rendered unusable with the expired in plain view across the front, or something similar. These cards can be useful, obviously, in keeping those who are unauthorized out of the building or attempting to re-use an old tag – for whatever the reason. On top of this however, is the fact that everyone involved must be observant to the card itself to notice that it’s expired – the human equalization.

                There was a cartoon in the newspaper nearly 30 years ago from Wayne Stayskal, at that time with the Tampa Tribune, that while funny on the surface, wasn’t very flattering to those of us in security. It pictured 2 security officers with dark glasses on and a person in a gorilla suit walking by, with an ID card and lunch box. One says to the other ‘Watch carefully. Sometimes the employees try to fool us by switching ID cards.’ This is a good illustration of what I meant by the employees and security people needing to check to see if the cards are expired. If the cards aren’t checked and someone can walk into your facility with an expired card, then …

                If the individuals are visitors and coming in for a sales call or something similar, then they should be escorted throughout the facility as long as they are there. Consequently, deliveries shouldn’t be allowed to circumvent the access control system to deliver a package to a different department. The department should be notified to come forward to claim their package. And the driver escorted, or issued new access to that new location. Many times this is circumvented because the same drivers delivery day in and day out. However, in today’s environment, you can trust no one. 

                How will visitors and contractors gain access to your facility? And will they be monitored at all times? Are they contractors or salespeople? Are they there to service your forklifts or to make an adjustment to a machine you just purchased? Or possibly are they there to install new equipment and safety/security items?

                Those are all questions that need to be addressed and answered. Will you need visitor badges or escorts? And then which door will they come through? Contractors will usually go through the employee entrance and other visitors through the main office, again depending on what they are there for.

                How secure is your main office area? Can a potentially violent person walk right through and into the back occupied part of the office or are they limited by a locked door with a remote access? This would be the preferable system. But even that is no guarantee of being safe, especially with the high powered firearms that available today.

                I had a client more than 20 years ago who had installed a controlled access system to their back office from the reception area and controlled access to the employee entrance. It was one of the few places in the late80’s that had such a system of controlled access, at least in St. Joseph, Mo. . . . Most people thought it was too much over-kill, but in light of the explosion of WPV in the 90’s, it was a good forethought.

                Access control is not as complicated as most people want you to think it is. Many times it’s all about the 5 W’s and H. The hardest part is deciding which system to use and picking a vendor.

                The questions you have to ask when thinking about access control is the following; who will be coming into your business? What purpose are they coming in for, work, visiting, lunch, sales, deliveries, or an otherwise nefarious purpose? When are they going to be coming in or out? And going along with this is differing levels of access.

                Where are they going to enter or exit? As we discussed above, each level of person entering/exiting the business need to have different areas they can get into or out of the building. Deliveries need to go one place, contractors and employees to another. Sales people to an entirely different entrance.

                Why are they coming into your business? This may be one of the biggest questions you have to answer. Are they coming in to work, collect a paycheck, conduct work/maintenance on a machine, sell you something, or delivery a pizza? These questions will impact your access control.

                Lastly, and one of the headaches you’ll have in deciding, is How will they enter/exit? Will you require card access or simple visualization? Will I be utilizing a sign in/out sheet with ID cards or having them escorted everywhere? If you decide for a card system which one? A swipe for employees or just visual ID tags?

                All of these questions can’t be easily answered in a short chapter. If necessary you may have to hire an outside consultant to discover what would work best for your business. Likewise, some businesses won’t lend themselves to being secured better than others. A retail store for example relies on customers having easy and open access to the store. Consequently, a manufacturing plant or closed office can secure itself a whole lot easier.

How Good is your Access Control?

                For me, one of the biggest bug-a-boo’s in security is access control. It doesn’t matter which client I worked for or supervised, most of the time they didn’t seem to care about controlling the access to their facility. And usually was for the ease of access for employees as well as management. And as always, when something happened it was clamp down hard on – for 5 minutes and then it was forgotten about, again.

                Of course they locked the building at night when few if any people were there. But I also worked for clients that literally left the building open to anyone, and everyone, at night – especially if it was a hot building and it was July in Missouri. And while it may have been a good idea for the employees, it doesn’t make sense security wise.

                I understand that in the hottest parts of the day the temps can reach 150 or better and this is especially true in an older manufacturing plant. But you also have to be considerate of other things as well as the comfort of your employees. My point is what would happen if a homeless person wandered into the plant and fell into a vat of 175 degree anodizing chemicals?

                And using chain link gates over delivery doors doesn’t quite work very well either when someone wants in bad enough to steal something or cause damage. I’ve worked, and supervised officers, in places where the doors were either left open and/or unlocked all night, weekends, and when no one was around! This isn’t just unsafe; it’s dangerous to the company bottom line and employees.

                If you don’t have policies that cover access control, then you need to develop some. While your business may be small, with only a couple of offices in an office building or if you have a warehouse and manufacturing plant. You must, absolutely must, have policies in place for access control, not to mention the rest of your security program.

                Too many times, the security program, along with the necessary policies and procedures, lag behind the company growth. The company may be in the 21st century. However, their security policies and procedures are lagging so far behind, as to be in the 1950’s! And yes it does happen.

                So you say that you have policies for security and access control. Are they followed closely enough? That will be a question you need to ask your employees and supervisors. And ensure that they don’t fibble or lie to you about their answers – conduct a couple of unannounced visits from time to time to find out.

                If your policies call for a door to be locked and secured at all times and not to be propped open, it has to be that way. Your security can hinge on whether or not that door remains secured. As I have said in the past, if someone can walk right into your facility, how secure is it? Read these examples below.

                As a Field Operations Supervisor I was saddled with conducting ‘lock-ups’ of some client facilities after hours. More than a few times I had discussions with tenant employees why they couldn’t prop a door open to run to their car or tape the lock open for easier access for someone. It wasn’t until several incidents of unauthorized access, usually transients or others just wandering about, and me telling the tenant the incidents that the doors remained closed and locked when necessary.

                One evening, while conducting my lock-ups of a client (a major telecom company) that I was approached by an employee I had spoken with in the past, coincidentally ‘lecturing’ hereabout keeping the doors locked when they’re supposed to be. She informed me that a stranger was wandering around the building bothering female employees and asking them if they wanted to take an all expenses vacation to Hawaii. I proceeded to locate him and asked him to leave. He pointed a firearm at me and then took off running. We never did find him (he probably ran into the wooded area and residential neighborhood directly behind the building). Needless to say, I never had another problem with doors remaining locked at that location!

                Another part of this is to ensure that any lock or door mechanism is fixed as soon as you recognize the issue or are told that it’s broken. This should be absolutely imperative to everyone inside the company. If it can’t be repaired quickly or easily, then hopefully it’s not heavily used and can be locked and secured until it is repaired. Again, if it is a main door and is supposed to be secured, then you may have to post an officer on the door for a period of time. Or at the very least use a camera to monitor it. And if you choose the latter, then ensure that it is monitored 24/7 until it’s fixed.

                You should also consider an sign-in system for anyone who is not working at the time, to ensure that only employees who are supposed to be there actually come into the facility. Vice versa, a card access system for all employees with the access limited to the hours they are supposed to work should be considered, with few exceptions. If they work overtime, then the supervisor should have the option of being able to add extra hours and time limits to the cards of those employees.

                If you don’t have a card access system, then once again, you may have to hire a security company to monitor the door and check ID’s or sign people in and out. This would be cumbersome, financially constraining, and time consuming and is likely to upset some employees if they’ve never done this before. On the other hand it can be safely said that this could prevent some incidents from occurring because having a human to check employees is better and may stop someone who may not be as motivated as they thought they were.