Tag: #Health

Active Shooter EOP: Do You Have One?

By Ret. Capt. Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR, EMT-P

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Ethan Miller / Getty Images

We are not in Kansas anymore. If you believe any statistics showing that criminal violence and hate crimes have declined significantly, I have land here in Florida I’d love to sell you. I’m not speculating as to why’s and wherefore’s, nor is my intent to start a rousing political and theological debate that might end with no real solution. Instead, this conversation examines how current world affairs spikes the risk to your employees, and how best to prepare and minimize loss.

Thirteen years ago, when I joined the Fire Service, EMT’s and Paramedics running into “active” shooter incidents weren’t a troubling trend. Due to the unanticipated rarity, our standard operating procedures at the time mandated we hold off on rescue operations until the violent crime scenes were first secured by law enforcement. Over the years, given the broadening peak in active shooter, mass shooting, and terrorist attacks, forced us to shift our policy. The Fire Service cross-trained with the local police departments and developed programs such as (Swift Assistance Victim Extrication) S.A.V.E. for short which allowed for EMS professionals to enter a scene while an active shooter/terrorist attack was still active.

Tonight watching the Las Vegas mass shooting disaster news alerts unfold, I saw Fire Service personnel dressed in tactical gear including bulletproof vests and ballistic helmets. This is becoming a new standard nationwide. Some of your Fire Personnel are now armed, cross-trained as Law Enforcement Officers, as well are some of the nation’s teachers and other municipal workers in high-risk professions. The trend is growing outside of government professions, even large religious institutions have either employed or recruited armed undercover security volunteers to protect their flock as well as their ministers.

As a member of a large non-denominational church and as a certified paramedic having relevant emergency medical services skills, I volunteered for their safety team. Moreover, an integral part of their internal response was having staff cross-trained to carry a concealed 9mm handgun. Our mandate was providing security prior to police arrival. I assure you, you would be surprised about the numbers of armed undercover security present in mega-church congregations.

Now, let’s transition to private industry. What preventative measures do you have in place? What standard operating procedures do you have? Private industry needs to stay current on trends, and bare minimum Human Resources should have a policy and a written action plan.

It doesn’t matter how you how you feel about gun ownership or how you feel about protecting second amendment rights. This conversation is not a weapons debate. What matters is having a plan should terrorists or active shooters threaten your workplace. It’s critical to prepare and train to respond appropriately. Your life and so many others may depend on it. Therefore, if you are a human resource professional charged with drafting policy, and struggling with that surreal moment of shock your company may one day, hopefully not, encounter an active shooter disaster, here are 5 tips to survive mass shootings.

1. Pre-emptive Measures:

In every situation, it is better to be proactive versus reactive. Think about your current security measures at your place of business. Visible security and/or security cameras systems function as deterrents from assailants.

2. Evacuation Plans/Protecting In Place

Do you have a rapid means of egress out of your place of business? Most organizations practice at least a quarterly fire drill and have a means of egress clearly identified. If you do not, put this policy in place now and let it serve as the primary means of evacuation in case of an active shooter scenario. You will also need alternative means of egresses as well in the event the primary means of egress is compromised. Have a plan and practice the plan. Protecting in place may also be a viable scenario if you have a room or rooms that are easily fortified. Consider a professional consultant if you are unsure or are not familiar with these terms.

3. Arming Personnel/Fighting Back

This is going to be a hot topic for many, let this only serve as a consideration. Anyone that is armed should have an adequate background check, licensure, and training. Utilization of armed personnel may conflict with existing policies, terms of a building lease, or government ordinances. Keep in mind that the arrival of police, fire, and ems will be at a minimum 5 – 10 minutes for the response. When the ability to flee and protection in place is unavailable, fighting for your life may be you and your employees only option.

4. Emergency Medical Supplies

Keep a cache of emergency medical equipment on site and consider having some personnel trained in basic first aid. There are many kits on the market available with reasonable pricing that is stocked with the primary items required for bleeding control. Six to 10 Minutes without blood to the brain due to a traumatic injury will most likely lead to death. Make no mistake about it, your employees will be the First Responders in an active shooter scenario.

5. Critical Incident Stress Debriefings

Have a relationship with a professional therapist, employee assistance provider, or properly train some employee that may perform critical incident stress debriefings post incident. The aftermath of a situation such as an active shooter scenario or terrorist attack will cause emotional scarring if left untreated. Your standard operating procedures should provide care and support to employees within 24 to 72 hours of an incident.

Remember that saying “why can’t we all get along?” I don’t have an answer to that very simplistic question, I’ll most likely walk the remainder of my days without that answer. What I do know is as the world changes, we need to prepare to change with it. Those that are slow to change whether in business or in life are doomed to failure. We have been given eyes to see and ears to hear, let us heed the current trends and signs so we may be prepared. There is a host of workplace safety/active shooter professionals available for consult, consider contacting one to help you draft a policy to protect you and your employees now and in the future.

My heart and prayers go out to the victims, families, and first responders involved in the Mass Shooting that occurred October 1st, 2017 in Las Vegas. Rest in Peace.

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HR Department & Emergency Preparedness

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Does your organization have a well-designed, informative, and proactive hurricane action checklist?  Do you have an Incident Action Plan that establishes what your department role will be pre, during, and post incident?  I am confident that many of the larger well-established departments have plans in place.  I am also just as confident that smaller departments with limited resources may “shoot from the hip” with little to no guidance on how to establish an effective plan.

Never assume that your employees know how to, have done so in the past, or have access to the required resources to survive a disaster.  As the HR Department representative, take a proactive role and educate all your employees and guarantee they have access to basic information.  My suggestion is a handout that is prepared and delivered in person, which ensures delivery and provides visual feedback as to the employee’s level of preparation.  This document should be custom tailored to your specific region with emergency contacts to the following agencies:

  1. Ambulance, Police, & Fire
  2. Social Services
  3. Highway Patrol
  4. Marine Patrol
  5. Local Hospitals
  6. Local Veterinarians
  7. Poison Control
  8. VA Clinic
  9. Utilities
  10. Emergency Managers
  11. Insurance Hotlines
  12. FEMA
  13. Emergency Number for your Organization

This document should also have additional information such as basic CPR instructions, wound management, and general safety tips.  In years past I have functioned as a professional rescuer.  In my experience, most injuries and deaths occur post incident not during.  In the case of a hurricane, once wind speeds approach 50 miles per hour, most emergency response departments will cease.  During the critical stages of a hurricane, employees must be self-sufficient.  All 911 calls at this point are “queued” based on the level of priority, resuming only once conditions are deemed safe for responders.

Be sure to assign an individual responsibility for all communications to employees.  This individual should be tasked with updating all employee files with accurate contact information such as addresses and phone numbers.  They should also be responsible for developing a check-in process, via phone, email, social network, etc.  Facebook offers a safety feature called Facebook Safety Check which allows individuals to check-in virtually during a disaster.

Make sure that your Incident Action Plan allows for employees to have adequate time off to prepare and prep for storms.  Likewise, make sure you have a written plan on how you will handle compensation during the emergency.  Emergencies happen with sufficient frequency that there should also be a written policy assigning who is responsible for maintaining each critical business activity such as payroll and vendor management pre-and post-incident.

There may be individuals that may need to work on site during the incident, or have no place to go.  Choose how you will handle these situations prior to an incident. Either a plan for assistance to local shelters or maintaining an emergency cache of supplies on site are both options.  Any required emergency supplies to be kept on site would vary based on need, this task might be best delegated to your Safety Manager.

Hurricane Irma is days away from impacting Florida and putting a written plan in place may not be feasible for some.  At the very least, make sure all contact information with your employees is current, make a “touch” and find out if they have any needs, and make sure to check in on them.  To those that are going to be affected by this storm, my thoughts and prayers are for you.  Everybody please remain safe during this storm and take heed from local officials should they request that you evacuate.  God Bless.

Health & Wellness: Thinking Outside The Box

By Wayne R. Bodie, MBA, SPHR

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Photo by NIDHIN MUNDACKAL on Unsplash

Not long ago, health and wellness were hot topics. You couldn’t walk anywhere without tripping over these industry buzz words. Though often discussed in meetings as a matter of policy or detailed in summary plan documents, over time many company programs honed in on employer cost savings via employee health screenings and staff virtual wellness courses.

Right now, mental health disorders and suicides are on the rise, and more common than ever before. Thus, we grapple for workplace wellness programs that can cope with today’s rising tide of stress, anxiety and clinical depression. Narrowly focused health programs must broaden their scope. If they don’t, their glory days are over. We need more than cosmetic cover-ups, where we mindlessly re-apply polish to restore our program’s original luster. Only a comprehensive retrofit with integrated solutions will do.

Over the last 30 years, anxiety, depression, and suicide have dramatically increased. No demographic has escaped this epidemic’s grip. The National Institute on Mental Health estimates that 40 million adult Americans suffer from some form of Anxiety Disorder. That’s approximately 18% of the United States population.

To complicate matters even further, most employers are ill-equipped to recognize, intervene and mitigate the full impact of clinical depression on staff performance, workplace engagement and the company’s bottom-line. So that 18% threatens productivity, workplace safety, and moral. One thing is certain. If we ignore the trend and do nothing, we will see greater numbers of mentally unhealthy employees in the workplace.

After scrutinizing the conventional methods they’ve used in the past, given the increasing prevalence of mental health problems, many employers have broadened their health management tactics. They now advocate positively managing and supporting their employees’ total well-being. It’s the only way employers can ensure their staffs perform to their potential – allowing businesses to achieve peak performance.

Considering how much time we spend on the job, it’s logical our jobs affect our well-being. Although there’s a mountain of program alternatives, I only want to concentrate on one of them:  A liberal policy allowing emotional support animals in the workplace. I bet you’re picturing a “mad house” or a “petting zoo” at work. Hang on for a minute and let me explain. Even better, hold on and enjoy the ride.

Over the past decade, the mega-shift from the physical world to the virtual reality of consuming content online, including digitally purchasing items, simulation gaming and electronic socializing compounds our isolation. In this merged reality movement, our work habits are steadily more and more computer-centric. As technology explodes and constantly deluges us with information, many of us struggle at home and at work with virtual connectivity overload.

Although there is no Ph.D. in my titles, l strongly encourage you, especially if and when you’re upset, to look at the picture below. Does that make you feel better? If not, there’s no need to read further. However, if it made you smile or feel better or at least say, “Ahhhh”, please continue.

 

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Photo by Andrew Branch on Unsplash

 

Titles II and III of the ADA regulate the utilization of Service Animals in the workplace. The Act limits the use of Service Animals to those with mental illness to those that require medication reminders or calming an individual with PTSD. While Emotional Support Animals (ESA) or Support Animals are prescribed as part of medical treatments, they are not considered Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I haven’t attached a generic Emotional Support Animal Policy since you will want to customize one for your organization’s unique advantage. Instead, my goal is to make a compelling enough case that well-intentioned key decision makers put positive reinforcement to work for them. A happy employee is a productive employee. In a world adjusting to mainstream workplace violence, assaults, and increased depression and mental illness, it would be really something if all it took was a puppy in the office to start repairing the social damage.

 

 

Sources:

https://adata.org/publication/service-animals-booklet

https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/22/health/us-suicide-rate-surges-to-a-30-year-high.html