By: Doug Baker, Vice President - Industry Relations, Private Brands, Technology, Food Marketing Institute
Even as food retailers, we need to be prepared to ensure the safety and security of our employees and customers. At FMI’s 2017 ASAP Conference, Mark Seguin, founder and CEO of TBG Solutions Inc., presented a two-part workshop on “How to Survive an Active Shooter Situation.” He shared valuable information on how to save your own life and the lives of others in the event of an active shooter. Seguin shared his insight with me on how to train and immediately implement crisis plans:
Doug Baker: In the event of an active shooter, you said we shouldn’t obey the shooter when he tells us to get down, etc. Why shouldn’t we obey the shooter?
Mark Seguin: Looking at past shootings, the incidents that had the highest number of survivors were the ones where the victims did not stick to the status quo. They reacted in a way that the shooter did not expect. The shooter is expecting compliance and for you to do exactly what most people do. Sit still and pray that you are spared. A New York Police Department study showed that 48 percent of the time, when a shooter encounters resistance, they will stop shooting, commit suicide, or flee the scene and look for a softer target.
DB: At the conference, we learned training will increase the chances of survival, what’s the strategy behind training staff members to know various survival scenarios?Why not tell everyone to simply run? Wouldn’t that make their response faster and more effective?
MS: [The opportunity to] run is not always an option. You may be in an office or classroom and the shooter is in the hall. You may be in a windowless interior room and the only exit is past the shooter. There are so many situations where “running” simply won’t work. We have to be prepared to hide in any situation and ready to fight if we are found or that is our only option. The response principals of Run, Hide, and Fight are endorsed by the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Education. They have determined that Run, Hide, Fight is the most versatile response for any active shooter situation you might find yourself in. But again, training is the key. If we simply tell them to run, hide, or fight, they will not be prepared to act when the need arises. We have to take their mind to a place with specialized training so that they are prepared to act on a moment’s notice and act effectively.
DB: We need to be proactive and train our staff on active-shooter survival, but are we exposing ourselves to a potential lawsuit if we provide this training and someone is unsuccessful at executing the Run, Hide, Fight responses they learned in our training?
MS: Statistically, immediately following an active shooter situation, there are going to be lawsuits and commonly from multiple parties. Would you rather have your defense be that you didn’t have an active shooter response policy, or would you rather have your defense be that you provided training that is recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Education to best equip your employees to make an educated decision about what might be the best possible response, God-forbid they are in one of these unthinkable scenarios. The goal of training is to equip individuals with life-saving principals so that in the event the need arises, they will have the tools and techniques to be successful and stay alive rather than being a victim of a shooter.
DB: Are there any other things that are vitally important to take away from your training?
MS: Seconds are lives. The typical Active Shooter Situation lasts anywhere from 6-12 minutes on average. Time is of the essence. The sooner you notify employees that active shooters are on the premises, the quicker they can act decisively and buy time by reducing the shooter’s opportunity to gain access to them. The body cannot go where the mind has never been. Equip your employees so that they can take their body to a place that could save their life. Training is the key to accomplish this.
If you are interested in more information about how to train for an active- shooter situation, please visit his website at TBGSolutionsInc.com.