Dec Page Quarterly - Fall 2018 - 22


How to Create A
Workplace Violence Plan
for Your Facility and Staff
By Paul Merritt, Fortress Consulting


he FBI defines active shooters
as a situation when you have
someone actively engaged in or
attempting to commit a violent crime
that targets three or more people. When
most people think of "active shooter"
situations, they think of some unknown
person they've never seen or heard of
before showing up trying to cause harm.
While that could happen, and while it
seems to be a hot topic in the media,
when you look at the numbers, it is
actually a rare occurrence. In 2016, only
856 people were killed at work, with
40 percent of those being robberies yet
most people are not comfortable talking

about active shooter situations with their
staff or management teams.
However, if you reframe these hostile
situations as workplace violence,
which is usually aimed at one or two
targeted victims then this is a much
more common issue. There are over
two million acts of workplace violence
a year; but even after making this
distinction, there are over 300 million
people in America, so this is something
that the vast majority of us will never
face. However, when we make this
distinction it helps companies embrace
the need for training surrounding this
sensitive topic.

When I work with businesses through
my company, Fortress Consulting,
we help them prepare for the small
workplace violence incidents, which
will allow them to be prepared for the
larger ones should they ever occur.
It doesn't always work the other way
around. We also help companies get
buy-in from their management and staff
when it comes to training. A large part
of what we do deals with helping people
respond to high-stress environments.
Let's compare it to a fire drill. People
aren't scared of fires because we've
practiced handling them since we were
young. What we stress is that in the same
way you need to know what to do if
there's a fire, you need to know what your
plan is should someone show up with a
gun, especially if the threat is eminent
because otherwise you're going to just sit
there, and you're going to freeze making
you an easily available target. When your
"fight or flight" instinct kicks in, some
people are going to run, some people are
going to fight eventually. But everybody
is going to freeze at least for a second.
The key to not being an easily available
victim is breaking that freeze.


Prevention - Before a training
company like mine is ever
brought in, the first step is to
consider what preventative measure
are in place to keep a workplace




Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dec Page Quarterly - Fall 2018