By Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI

Another tragic shooting has befallen our industry in recent days and left us both heart-police linebroken and in search of answers to that perennial question – what motivates this violent behavior? As we ponder the state of a society in which such acts occur, answers are difficult to find, and lessons hard to learn, but as an industry we must collectively stand up against these senseless acts of violence and do everything in our power to prepare for them. As central gathering points in local communities, grocery stores provide more than just a place to purchase food. They create so much more in communities, and I think this survivor of a store shooting explained it best:

“It also gave me an appreciation for community and how much like a grocery store can mean to people. It’s the center of the community, and it just means so much more than you than, than you think.” — A survivor of the King Soopers shooting in Colorado, reported by The Washington Post

The sense of community that exists within our industry is also strong, and we will help each other heal and find peace. At the same time, we must work together to find new solutions and strategies to help mitigate growing levels of violence in our facilities and empower our employees with the tools they need to respond when necessary. FMI  has developed resources for this empowerment, like our Active Assailant Preparedness and Response Guide, and partnerships such as our engagement with The Power Of Preparedness (TPOP), but we also need to take time to examine this latest incident and determine how it can help us re-think and re-strategize to better meet the challenge.

FMI will offer two opportunities for the food industry to examine and learn from the events in Buffalo.

  • On Wednesday, May 25 at 2:00 pm EDT we’ll host a digital seminar with William Flynn, partner & chief content officer at The Power of Preparedness (TPOP). We’ll discuss the changing nature of active assailant threats, motivations behind them, and steps you should take now to protect your customers and employees. We’ll also discuss how the industry can collaborate more effectively to share best practices on identifying, preventing, and minimizing violent conflict, and learn about training and mitigation resources available to retailers through FMI’s partnership with The Power of Preparedness.

Register for Active Assailants: Time for a New Approach Digital Seminar

  • On Thursday, May 26 at 1:00 pm EDT FMI, along with TPOP, are organizing a call with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for industry. Information related to this latest incident will be shared, including details about the threat environment, replacement theory, and the motivations, tactics, techniques and procedures that shooters take. This information can help inform strategies to reduce casualties in future attacks.

Register for the DHS/FBI Call

Unfortunately, the likelihood of future tragedies like the one in Buffalo is real and can happen to our stores anytime and anywhere. We need new strategies, technology, collaboration and best practice sharing to help us all find a safe way forward.