In light of the shooting in AZ recently, once again the subject of violence in the workplace has arisen as it always does after some tragic "event." While we appear to be a culture that refuses to learn the lessons provided to us by gun violence, if an incident should happen to you, what should you do? I applaud BNET blogger Geoffrey James for taking up the subject in his business blog.
Things To Do Before A Violent Event Occurs
As a result of consulting with national security experts, James is absolutely correct about the things to do BEFORE an incident occurs. He points out the importance of being aware of your surroundings, developing a plan, taking note of colleagues displaying aberrant behavior [& even reporting it to your superior], among other strategies. Quite aside from having an action plan in advance, this enables you to possibly prevent a problem before it escalates. More to the point, with a plan already in place, people will be a bit less panicky because they will have things to do. Remember whether before or during a violent event, it is always important to either make yourself inconspicuous so as not to be a target or to reflect a sense of calm even when you don't feel that way in order to lower the surrounding "temperature" if at all possible. "Hot heads" generally are poor decision-makers & are inclined to "shoot first & think later"
Things To Do Once A Violent Event Has Begun
Once you are faced with violence in the workplace, according to national experts, the top 3 things that you can do to help your situation are:
- Duck & cover-yes they actually advise this because you'd be surprised at the number of people who simply get so completely flustered that they can't even think of something as basic as that
- Gather your wits-assess the situation & your options particularly when it comes to deciding if & how you can implement the action plan already in place
- Get away/find a safe hiding spot-Either get out of the building, out of the room where all the action is, or hide...even if that means "hiding in plain sight" by playing dead. Basically you do not want to be in the line of fire if at all possible. As soon as you are a safe distance away, call 911
A few years ago I'd read about the Navy's exploits in World War II, & it was said that their credo was "rock 'em & sock 'em but don't lose your shirt." Basically, what they meant was fight hard but above all, live to fight another day. When confronted with violence in your workplace, the idea is similar-don't try to be a hero; get yourself to safety first [read: live to fight another day] before trying to help others.