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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is Your Work Place Prepared?

Thirty-two people were killed, along with a gunman, and at least 15 injured in two shooting attacks at Virginia Polytechnic Institute on Monday during three hours of horror and chaos on this sprawling campus.

I know it's technically the responsibility of Security, but HR is expected to deal with people who are "troubled." Is your work place prepared to handle a deranged employee or customer? Are you?

I hope our security department is prepared. I know I'm not.


Wally Bock said...

You'd better also hope that your local police department and Sheriff's department train for this kind of event.

I would hope that security would work on their side of the issue, too, but I don't hold out much hope. Remember that when the WTC towers came down, only ONE company had an evacuation plan that saved the vast majority of their people and their security director implemented it against the advice and wishes of the Trade Center security people.

Companies need to play "what if" to plan for critical incidents, but even so there will be outlyers, Black Swans, that nobody can predict or plan for.

Evil HR Lady said...

It seems the only scenario we ever prepare for is fire. I imagine that in today's buildings with sprinkler systems, chances of a fire being super dangerous, has got to be limited. (In an office building, I mean. Certainly not in laboratories or factories.)

But crazed employee? Possible.

JKB said...

Here's how to check if your site is prepared. Is their a way to lock the stairwell doors to prevent re-entry from the stairwell? If not, then your security isn't prepared to contain a predator. If they kill the elevators, the attacker can still move between floors. In cubeland, there are few securable spaces. I know of a burglary where the culprits simply ran through the wall. Seems the partition walls have wide spaced studs since they bear no load. Offering no resistance to gunfire or someone who wants into the room. Stairwell walls should be more substantial.

After 9/11, I was drawn into "shelter-in-place" (SIP) plans at a federal agency in DC. They had great plans for sealing the floors in plastic in the off event of a chemical or biological attack. Not a great plan since the stress, heat and humidity would take out quite a few employees long before air became an issue. But it was the latest hollywood threat. I used it to promote awareness of how to handle unexpected threats on my floor. But my suggestion that they install one way locks on the stairwell doors lockable in an emergency was ignored. Not only would it prevent people from breaking the SIP barrier should the one in a million chemical weapon attack happen but would be quite useful in the far more likely event of a crazed employee shooting up the place. Security kills the elevators, alerts to each floor causes the door locks to be engaged, killer leaves a floor and becomes trapped in the stairwell with the police waiting at the exit.

No, security likes hollywood plots, their ideas are not so pedantic as locking doors. I'm sure they do dream of black tactical uniforms and flash bangs though. Reaction is nice, but passive containment is better.