With the start of summer on Saturday, June 21, employers face typical seasonal challenges: rising temperatures, employees running out the door for vacation en masse and the associated risks of reduced productivity. As these normal events come around every year, businesses are generally prepared for them.
However most are usually unprepared for violent acts taking place on or near their premises. Unfortunately, the lead up to summer 2014 has been marked with devastating reminders of this modern threat: a three-week period of highly-publicized, multiple shooting events. Each occurred at or near one or more workplaces in broad daylight, and the perpetrators' targets were generally random. Their alleged motives varied, but all shared a common goal: to kill as many people as possible.
- May 23, 2014 - Isla Vista, California: Seven people killed (including the perpetrator); 13 people wounded. Stops along the gunman's spree included: an apartment, a college sorority house, a delicatessen and the streets of Isla Vista.
- June 5, 2014 - Seattle, Washington: One person killed; two wounded. The attack occurred at Seattle Pacific University, a target reportedly selected at random by the suspect.
- June 8, 2014 - Las Vegas, Nevada: Five people killed (including two perpetrators). Targets included a pizza restaurant and a nearby Wal-Mart.
- June 10, 2014 - Troutdale, Oregon: One person killed; one wounded. The attack occurred at Reynolds High School, where the gunman was a student.
Each of these highly-publicized events was a tragedy, but the quick actions of first responders and bystanders alike saved many lives. Each shooting spree concluded within minutes and will fade all-too-quickly from the headlines as the next crisis unfolds. But for the people, businesses and organizations affected, the impact will linger.
Violence in the workplace, including the threat of a multiple shooting event, is a recognized hazard that requires proactive preparation.
Four key questions that all businesses and organizations should ask this summer include:
- What have we done to educate our employees and equip them to respond to violent workplace events?
- Are our employees comfortable raising concerns about threatening situations to management?
- Have we honestly assessed our existing security measures and their effectiveness?
- Do we have an effective Crisis Management Plan in place, and a competent Crisis Management Team to implement it?
As business leaders ponder these questions, they are not alone. HUB International's new Crisis Management Center offers a platform for interacting directly with HUB Risk Consultants. These professionals possess expertise in emergency management and security. The site also offers the opportunity to subscribe to timely risk communications and leverage industry expertise in the form of checklists, tools, articles and on-demand webinars.
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