Read, think, train for the unexpected www.privateofficer.com
Read, think, train for the unexpected http://www.privateofficer.com
BY: Rick McCann
NTL. ASSOC. PRIVATE OFFICERS
I can still remember what it felt like to sit down and watch the evening news every night with my dad. First, we’d sit and watch the local news and then the world news with Walter Cronkite. In the mornings, we’d often race to the door to see who got the morning newspaper first.
Even at the age of 9 or 10, I loved reading and hearing about the news. Not just the sports, but the crime beat and stories of local interests and politics and news from all over the world. It was educational and actually served as a training tool for life. I would consume details of the different news articles and learn as much as I could about the topic or area and sometimes I would place myself in the story to see what I might have done differently had I been in their shoes. This was and still is especially true with crime stories. I’m still the same way today and I love to read the news and constantly flip between CNN, Fox News, NBC, CNBC, and the local Atlanta stations.
I have found that the news actually is a good resource for what I do everyday and I use the news often in my training, marketing , various writings and even security planning and procedure for companies that I consult for, own or speak to. I try to take away something from every piece of news that I watch or read.
News items are like watching reels of football footage before the big game or studying your opponent before the wrestling or chess match. The more information that you have on a subject, the better prepared that you’ll be by knowing their strengths and weakness, habits and traits and how they operate. It also allows you to use this information to set up various scenarios and “what ifs” so that you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way. Reading about a situation can be informative and shows what types of things or crime are taking place locally and nationally. These news articles allow a person to study how the people involved in the incident were taken advantage of, accosted, robbed, assaulted etc, the methods that the bad guy used to perpetrate the crimes, how the victims reacted and it gives you the opportunity to look at it from the outside and figure out what happened, what you might have done differently, and to get a game plan together should the same thing happen to you, your business, your client or those around you.
I have been involved through-out my life in many emergency drills as a volunteer fireman, rescue responder, law enforcement officer, security and public safety chief, emergency management responder, chaplain, military officer and can easily remember all of the “what-ifs” mock disasters, fire scenes, plane crashes, kidnappings and negotiations, mass murders, riots, bomb explosions, and everything else that a mind can think up that we turned into training. Was it because we were under any particular threat, heightened risk or there was even a remote possibility that these huge disasters would happen? No, not really, but then again, we never know what the day will bring our way, do we?
Today, we call it “Situational Training” and it can make a difference between a prepared department, agency or officer and one that will be overwhelmed when a major situation or incident occurs in their jurisdiction or company. Without training, there is no way to know how you’ll respond to a particular problem or disaster, emergency or a major crime scene.
Long before the tragedies of Columbine and 9/11, emergency responders which includes all law enforcement, fire and medical personnel, civil defense agencies which are now called emergency management and others would coordinate and drill together so that they could know how well they would work together, if they could communicate, what their response times would be, did they have the right equipment to handle the particular disaster or crime scene, would there be enough personnel to manage the scene and so forth. This also allowed for mistakes and short comings to happen there, at the mock drill instead of during an actual emergency.
Now, most colleges, universities, shopping malls, large corporations, airports and many security departments including contract and proprietary have been included in or initiated their own training drills, operating procedures and they have used information from prior events to help guide them in their endeavors to strengthen their training, equipment and personnel.
As professional security personnel, we must step outside of the old mindset of observe and report and be ready to take a more proactive role in our duties and that includes being ready and able to respond correctly to the many different situations, incidents and scenarios that we could face in our daily job. While the frequency of these responses may be limited, depending on your assignment location and duties, the likelihood of you responding to medical emergencies, bomb threats, fires, armed robberies, shootings, muggings, fights, natural disasters and just about anything that your mind can imagine are high. As security officers, we are already primary responders in, on, and around the properties that we have been hired to protect, and incidents are bound to happen on your site.
Recently I read a comment on a forum from a loss prevention agent who was questioning several security supervisors who were role playing “what-if” scenarios and they were brainstorming how they would respond. He commented that it was stupid to plan for things that’ll never happen to them or on the properties where they worked. I was first sadden by the LP’s comments because it showed that he had not thought about all of the things that can go wrong even in his own work environment as a store security agent. Stopping shoplifters is highly dangerous and many different problems can and do arise from making an apprehension. Many LP’s are injured, run over, and stabbed, sometimes shot and in 2007, 4 were killed trying to stop a shoplifter. There was also a kidnapping of a store security agent and numerous other serious situations that all came about during a shoplifting stop. So, the LP misspoke and probably is in danger himself because he has not prepared himself mentally or physically and he has not trained for the possibilities that could occur on his job while trying to perform his duties.
Situational Training is extremely necessary in this day and age. If you work in law enforcement, private security, the fire or medical service or any area of private or public safety, training is essential for proper, safe, and speedy response when a crises or major incident does occur on your watch. Training is the key that unlocks the door into that situation and allows you to enter with a clear, confident, and tactful approach instead of a panicked, overwhelmed, and haphazard response.
If you’re department doesn’t train for crises and major incidents as often as you’d like or maybe not at all, talk with your superiors and see if you can set up mock drills. Work with other departments within your company and coordinate them with area responders like police and fire departments. They’ll be glad to be involved and it’ll strengthen your relationship with those agencies. And don’t be afraid to work out situations and what-ifs among your peers and co-workers. It will make a difference when that time comes!
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