LP Magazine

JUL-AUG 2014

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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we should go, who we should contact, and how we should respond. We then provide the plan to the stores, where the information is shared with the team. On paper the plan may appear to be strong, reasonable, and strategic. But is it? Do we consistently take the next step? The Value of Practical Training "To create a true culture of safety, there has to be a common sense approach," Hart states. "Talking about the issue is a good step, but practical training is much more valuable. Following the steps and practicing simple techniques that can be recalled under stress can save lives." Hart strongly urges that we need to take the time and make the effort to validate that the plan works, and ensure that our teams know how to respond. This has to go beyond a plan that is committed to paper, or simply sending a document, policy, or file that our associates sign acknowledging it has been read and received. This must be approached as an actionable learning experience. "During a crisis, people don't typically rise to expectations, but fall to the level of their training," he emphasized. "Abnormal responses to abnormal situations are normal responses." Although our plans may be reasonable and strategic, we must also consider that such situations are not; and simply reviewing a written plan may not lead to the results that we expect. We can't assume that people are going to react in the manner that we anticipate just because we provide them with a document that describes how we believe they should respond. For example, we may tell our associates to run or hide during an active-shooter incident, which experts tell us is the correct initial response. However, as an actual situation unfolds, stress mounts, and anxiety intensifies. This may lead to confusion, panic, disbelief, denial, and even a feeling of helplessness. Especially if we haven't been adequately trained, we may react to this in different ways, and running or hiding may not necessarily be our initial reaction. In fact, freezing can be a very common response. Practical training and simple exercises can help commit actions to memory, stress that employees need to run, and help others who may freeze. Even if it's simply the importance of yelling, "Run!" to others as they flee the scene, these exercises can save lives. "We tell our people to be aware of gunfire, but do they actually recognize the sound of gunfire? Very few people do. It's not like on television. It can sound like a balloon popping, a pounding hammer, or other construction sounds that are very common in store locations. Also, gunshots can sound different depending on the environment. The sound may be different in a big-box store versus a small store, in the mall space, as well as inside versus outside. Employees should also know what gunfire smells like." Hart suggests contacting law enforcement agencies and requesting that they visit during off-hours with employees in attendance and shoot off blanks in different environments. These types of exercises can provide opportunities for multiple stores or companies to attend, improve rapport, and further build relationships with other store teams, local police, and other emergency responders. It may be emphasized in our training guidelines that if you're going to hide, lock the door behind you and barricade it when possible. But as simple as this may sound, employees may experience difficulty under stress. Some struggle locking the door, especially if it's a door that's not familiar to them. Some doors in our facilities simply may not have locks. Hart also recalled an incident at a hospital where he asked a nurse, "Show me where you would go and what you would do if you encountered a shooter." She pointed to a room and continued on page 52 ACTIVE SHOOTER Teaching employees what to say when calling 911 during an active-shooter episode is vital, and should be part of practical training sessions. State the facts and don't make assumptions. Police can respond more quickly and appropriately when they have a clear understanding of the circumstances and the urgency of the situation. 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 25 20 15 10 5 0 *Statistics Provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation 2014 Number of Events Year ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENTS BY YEAR 51 LP MAGAZINE | JULY - AUGUST 2014

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