What if you could identify potentially dangerous situations before they escalate to verbal or physical violence?

Active shooter events are becoming more common and workplace violence is on the rise. What can you do to prepare yourself?

You can practice situational awareness. Situational awareness is the ability to pay attention to your environment and recognize anomalies while you conduct normal activities. In some cases, situational awareness can help with active shooter prevention.

This may sound complicated, but it’s actually something you’ve likely seen before. When the airline flight attendants go over the safety card before take-off, that’s situational awareness. When the moderator at a conference points out the exits, that’s establishing situational awareness. The lighted exit signs at a movie theater are designed to help raise situational awareness.

How can you practice situational awareness?

A model of a room to show where to sit for situational awareness | Active assailant prevention
  • Create a baseline awareness of your environment. This doesn’t just have to be your workplace; it can be any environment, like restaurants, movie theatres, and more.
  • Note the behavior of the people around you. Note their gestures, speaking volume, behavior, and the distance between people. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not creating a baseline. If you don’t have a baseline, you won’t see anomalies.
  • Have a plan of action. Imagine any type of danger: fire, active shooter, etc. What would you do? How would you escape? Create a plan and always be mindful of your exits. If you think about your plan enough, it will be second nature if and when it comes time to use it.
  • Find a vantage point in the room where you can see the activity around you. A position against a wall can help you scan for anomalies without worrying what’s behind you.
  • Trust your instincts. If something seems off, determine where the anomaly is coming from and remember your action plan.
  • Keep your focus. Phones and headphones can distract you and you could miss anomalies.

What behaviors should you be watching for?

People behaving differently also indicates an anomaly. It’s rare that people just “snap” and commit serious violence. In most cases people are on a pathway to violence. Employees should be able to identify behavioral indicators, or warning signs, indicating a co-worker or customer is on this path, and they can get the troubled person emotional support or, depending on the severity, notify law enforcement. Behaviors on the “pathway to violence” can include:

  • Extreme emotions
  • Making threats either in person or on social media
  • Changes in behavior, such as an extrovert suddenly becoming reserved
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Holding grudges against specific people or groups of people

Situational Awareness Aids in Active Assailant Prevention

Situational awareness reduces risk because it allows you to see anomalies before they escalate. This will give you time to respond, de-escalate, or escape. In some cases, situational awareness can help with active assailant prevention. If you notice a change in behavior of the people in your workplace, you can report that behavior and prevent future violence.

Learn more about situational awareness, verbal de-escalation techniques and the Run, Hide, Fight methodology with TPOP’s active shooter preparedness training. In less than an hour, your workforce can feel confident and prepared to take on workplace violence.

Let’s talk about your specific training needs today.