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Active Shooter Preparedness: Expand Your Definition of Workplace Violence

Last week, Everbridge partnered with Security Management and Steven M. Crimando, Principal, Behavioral Science Applications, to present a webinar, “Comprehensive Active Shooter Incident Management,” which covered numerous topics organizations must address to better prepare for an active shooter incident, including the need to expand the definition of workplace violence.

Traditionally, workplace violence is categorized into four different types:

  1. Criminal Intent
  2. Customer/Patient
  3. Worker-to-Worker
  4. Intimate Partner

Crimando suggests adding a fifth type, ideological violence, which is violence directed at an organization, its people, and/or property for ideological, religious or political reasons. Generally, ideological violence is perpetrated by extremists and targeted based on rage against what the organization does or represents.

Benefits of an Expanded Definition

Understanding the expanded definition of workplace violence is critical in today’s environment. Crimando states that it allows organizations to realize that extremist-driven violence may be directed at the workplace. Perhaps, even more critical, it allows organizations to offer more inclusive training for employees i.e.

  • Warning signs of workplace violence;
  • “Warning behaviors” associated with mass shooters;
  • “Eight Signs of Terrorism.”

To learn more about expanding the definition of workplace violence, and active shooter preparedness, watch the recording of the live webinar, and download the slides. You can also read the transcript below!

Webinar Transcript

Mike Moran – ASIS

Good afternoon and welcome to today’s webinar, Comprehensive Active Shooter Incident Management, presented by Security Management Magazine and sponsored by Everbridge. Everbridge is a global enterprise software company that provides applications which automate the delivery of critical information to help keep people safe and business running. My name is Mike Moran. [00:00:30] I am the Learning Content Director with ASIS International and I will be your moderator today.

Today’s presentation will be an hour, including time reserved at the close for questions and answers. We encourage you to submit a question at any time in the Q&A panel. If you hold an ASIS International certification, your attendance today is approved for one hour of continuing education toward that re-certification. This credit will be applied automatically based on your attendance record for this event.

This is [00:01:00] the second in a three-part series on active shooter management. You will receive an email tomorrow with a link to today’s archive event. That email will also have links to the other events in the series, Seven Best Practices for Active Shooter Preparedness, which is now available. It will also have a link to register for the third event in this series, Shooter Down Active Shooter Consequence Management, which will be presented on June 1. That email will also contain a link to a brief online survey that will ask [00:01:30] you to assess today’s presentation. Both the society and our sponsors and presenters are committed to continuous improvement of our growing online events. Please do take a few moments when you get that email to fill out the survey. You are indispensable in shaping the work ahead.

There are a number of active shooter assets in the Resources Panel. I would encourage you to check those out. Those come from Everbridge, ASIS, and Security Management Magazine. I am really pleased and gratified [00:02:00] to report that more than 3,400 people have registered for today’s event, making this the largest online event we have ever produced. We are not going to get to every question asked today, but I don’t want that to dissuade you from asking. We will follow up with questions that aren’t addressed after the event by email.

We are very fortunate to have with us today Steven Crimando. Steven Crimando is the Principal of Behavioral Science Applications, a training and consulting [00:02:30] firm focused on human factors and crisis prevention and response. Steve is board certified expert in traumatic stress, a certified trauma specialist, and holds a level five certification in homeland security. He is a diplomat of both the American Academy for Experts in Traumatic Stress and National Center for Crisis Management. You can read more about Steve’s background here or on the Bio Panel we have here on the left, but right now, I know we have a lot of ground to cover. Steve, I’m going to get out of the [00:03:00] way and let you get down to business.

Steven Crimando – Behavioral Science Applications

Mike, thanks so much and thanks everyone for joining the program today. I really appreciate you taking the time and effort out of your busy day for this. I certainly hope to bring some value to that time that you’re investing. As you see in my background and Mike started to allude to, my background is actually as a behavioral scientist trained as a clinical psychologist. I work primarily in an area today that’s referred to often as operational [00:03:30] psychology. By definition, that’s the use of clinical, cognitive, and social psychological ideas for their tactical or operational value, so not for the assessment, diagnosis, or treatment of things related, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or other mental health conditions. Really, how do we start to work at human behaviors or human factors in a way that informs us in terms of people’s behavior during a crisis event?

We’re gonna broaden [00:04:00] this today and one of the things you may have noticed on the cover slide was this phrase about maturing your active shooter response plans. This program, as you’ll see very quickly, it’s not an Active Shooter 101 level course. We’re making certain assumptions that you and your organization have a good depth of basic knowledge. There’s lots of good guidance out there, whether it’s the NYPD active shooter recommendations, it’s the FBI guidance, [00:04:30] the many different sources, we’re making some fundamental assumptions that you’ve got a pretty good handle on it and we’re looking to step it up. We’re looking to take your active shooter preparedness, response, and recovery plans hopefully to another level and we’re gonna do that by looking at human factors, looking at the people piece of this, and what we do across the whole life cycle of an active shooter event.

One of the fundamental concepts, this would be about the most psychological I get in our program today, [00:05:00] is what we refer to as Lewin’s Equation. Dr. Kurt Lewin was thought to be the father of social psychology. Lewin had said that behavior is both a function of both the person and the environment. I don’t need to tell you all as a group or individuals that being inside an active shooter event, being inside a deadly force encounter of that type is a very rarefied sort of environment and the sort of behaviors it will bring out in people [00:05:30] obviously are radically different than any other sort of crisis.

I want to stop there for one moment. I said that this was one of the few psychological concepts I’m going to share today. I just want to piggyback that for one moment to make a point on how your active shooter and your violence prevention programs need to be distinct. You can’t be making the same assumptions you do in other forms of emergency management and that’s simply to say that when we look at human behavior in crisis [00:06:00] conditions, we know it’s both phase specific, meaning it’s sensitive to timeline. The way that people react in hour one is different than day one, week one, month one, year one, and so forth, and that’s gonna inform our discussion today, but also it’s very hazard specific. We do not react the same way to fire, flood, and earthquake as we do to a disease outbreak, as we do to a shooting event, or some other sort of act of mass violence.

With that in mind, come back to this idea that we need to have some understanding of both [00:06:30] what these events are like, the idea of the environment, but also what people are most likely to do or not do in those situations. That all comes down to what you see in the red on this slide, which is the tremendous importance of making accurate behavioral assumptions to guide plans, policies, and even exercises around an active shooter. One of the things you may hear me say once or twice during the program today [00:07:00] is when we think about exercising, two critical thoughts just to get out of the way very early in our presentation. One is that during a crisis, we do not rise to the occasion, we fall to our training. When the discussion comes up in your organization about rehearsals, and drills, and exercises, different ways of keeping practice alive, it’s important that you practice but it’s also important that you practice making realistic assumptions about what everyone in [00:07:30] the shooter event is likely to do, that means the shooter, or potential victims and witnesses, or incoming law enforcement, everyone who’s in that environment.

This theme of accurate behavioral assumption, it’s gonna transcend everything we do and it’s how we help mature your existing active shooter plans, policies, and procedures. How we take them up to the next level is by layering on top of the work you’ve done these human factors in a way that we really [00:08:00] test our assumptions to say, “Is this really how this is gonna go down?” In doing that, what I’ve proposed for our work session together this afternoon, is to discuss quickly five areas for maturity.

One of the things that many people walk away from this session with, I hope, is questions, more questions. Some of those will be in the Q&A session later, but I really mean questions you bring back to your organization and say, “Do we have this? [00:08:30] Those are things that Steve mentioned in the webinar. Do they make sense in our setting?” I understand in a group of 3,400 people who registered for the class, we’ve obviously got tremendous variation in the type of work setting, the type of workforce, the type of risks you have in your environment. So we’re making some generalizations here and it’s gonna be up to you to really think, “How much does this fit my world and our organization?”

[00:09:00] Very quickly, to touch on where we’re going, kind of a roadmap for our session, what I’ve selected is five areas for maturity today. There are more, but this is what made sense in the context of our webinar. One, to talk a little bit about life cycle because we’re already doing that. I know in the other session that comes up in June is finishing up the life cycle, talking about after action and post-shooting, but I want to start in this event introducing a little more about the life cycle idea. You know this. [00:09:30] You know that the shooter has thought, in most instances, in a true active shooting situation … This is not a shooting incident. We’re talking about a classic active shooter incident or situation in which the person is prepared, they have picked a target rich environment, and they’re going for numbers. That’s the kind of populated environment, target rich environment we’re discussing.

In that situation, we know that the shooter always has the tactical advantage [00:10:00] because they’ve engaged in all this planning and all this preparation. Guess what? It was a big surprise for us when that first shot goes off and then we’re in our response mode. Just as the shooter has thought long before the event, if we look at something like the shooting in Oslo, Norway on Utoya Island in July of 2011, Anders Breivik, who shot 69 kids out at the summer camp there, in court he said he started his planning about seven years prior. We [00:10:30] need to really look at the life cycle in terms of before, during, and after as being a pretty long cycle.

We’re gonna talk about that a little bit today but in part of that, we’re gonna expand our definition of where the workplace is and what that means to us in terms of active shooter response. We’re gonna talk a little bit more in number two here, bullet point two, about the changing nature of the actual attacks. Many of us are keenly aware attacks that are going on [00:11:00] in the world, going on at this very moment today, and what the nature of these attacks look like. They continue to morph, continue to change. We’re also gonna change our ideas about threat assessment and bystander intervention.

Four and five are gonna be very close because historically, what many of our organizations have done is when we use the term “bystander intervention,” you’re thinking about run, hide, fight, and essentially you’re probably thinking about fight right? That’s accurate, I get that, but bystanders [00:11:30] are your eyes and ears. They are actually your initial threat detection mechanism because it’s not gonna be a security guard, it’s not gonna be a police officer who picks up on some of these early behaviors. It’s likely to be a co-worker, if it’s a classic co-worker to co-worker, or several other variants we’ll discuss in our class here today.

We’re gonna expand our models of threat assessment and expand what bystander intervention means and there’s one other direction we’re gonna extend bystander intervention, and that’s post incident, and I mean [00:12:00] immediate post incident. The model I’m using today, if you haven’t been introduced to it, is a little bit beyond run, hide, and fight. The way we refer to it is stop the killing, stop the dying, and stop the crying. All of those will be more clear to you as we move our way through the program. Let’s start by jumping in and talking life cycle.

This model which I had import [00:12:30] help develop for a special online 10 module project for the Justice Department and Office for Victims of Crime a couple years back really was the application of the classic four phases of emergency management. Prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, applying them to the active shooter problem. When you start to apply that model and drill down, it helps you in anticipating the life cycle and some of the challenges you’re gonna encounter.

Having said that, what [00:13:00] you see in my graphic here is I’ve boxed out the words “preparedness, response, and recovery,” ’cause that’s where we’re gonna focus this session. We’re not gonna talk much about mitigation. What I’d like to do during the program is discuss for you different ways to think about those three phases, different ways to up your game in preparedness, response, and recovery today. Obviously, even just on this one slide, the number of bullet points under any of those categories, preparedness, response, recovery, they’re limited. [00:13:30] There’s obviously more challenges and more tasks to do, but I’m using this as a way kind of just to give you a sense of what I mean, at least in this life cycle model.

Having done that, one of the first places I want to suggest or recommend we change our thinking, and this may be for some of you already water on the bridge. You may have been there done this already, but please do not create active shooter response plans [00:14:00] or procedures or exercises that standalone from your workplace violence policies, plans, procedures, and such. It is one manifestation. In fact, it’s statistically the most rare but obviously the most extreme manifestation of workplace violence. The most common weapon in workplace violence is hands and feet, it’s pushes and shoves, and kicks and punches, and obviously, it even starts before that with psychological intimidation and verbal intimidation, and all [00:14:30] of that. Yeah, in a very rare number of these cases, they evolve to weapons involved and maybe evolve not just to a shooting incident involving a weapon, something very targeted where there was one or two very identifiable targets for the shooter, but evolving into the classic active shooter scenario where the person is going for numbers, where they’re really looking for a mass casualty event.

I just want to use the next two, three slides [00:15:00] very quickly, I’m not even gonna linger on them, just to give you an idea of some of our life cycle thinking from a behavioral science standpoint and then I’m gonna move right past that because the concepts touched on in there, they’re gonna get swallowed up. They’re gonna get embedded in everything else we do over the next few moments. That’s to think to yourself from a behavioral human factor standpoint, what are the assumptions we should make about people’s behavior in a shots fired scenario? [00:15:30] What are they likely to do? Are they likely to follow our plans? Are they likely to stampede towards the doors? If we think about someone calling out shots at LAX or JFK and we see this stampede behavior, what should we anticipate from people in a high stress situation?

We refer to that very often as extreme stress responses. If you haven’t had a chance, I think it’s an excellent training tool. [00:16:00] Go back and find the old documentary from HBO about the terror at the mall, the attack at Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, and just look at the close circuit television footage, hundreds of cameras of capturing how people behave. The reason I bring this up, and again you’re starting to get the feeling already, I’m not gonna be the speaker who reads each of the bullet points to you, is we know we’re gonna see some radical fight, flight, and fright behavior. [00:16:30] This goes back to the idea, of course, of accurate rehearsal, of training, and drilling in exercises because, as I mentioned before, during the crisis we fall to our training. That’s gonna inform some of our discussion later around things like run, hide, fight. How do we train people? What do we tell them to do and what do we really truly want them to do in the moment?

I’m gonna walk us quickly through some of the life cycle issues. Immediate phase, minutes to hours after the event, [00:17:00] short-term, hours to days, mid-term, days to weeks and into those early months, and then long-term, up to the first year anniversary. Obviously in the context of a one-hour webinar, we’re gonna move through that content pretty quickly. You’re getting a feel already at least about the tempo that we’ll be moving at and introducing this idea to you, as I said, which I think really helps you mature your existing plan is to go beyond. That’s an important word right there, [00:17:30] “beyond.” This is not to say, “Destroy, ditch, forget about the active shooter plans you have in place, they’re no good.” That’s not my message. This is, “How do I add another layer on an existing active shooter plan that brings it to a new level of maturity?” We’re gonna start talking to you shortly about this idea of stopping the killing, stopping the dying, and stopping the crying. It’s gonna start here [00:18:00] with our first set of recommendations. That recommendation is expanding our definition of the active shooter event.

I’m gonna do this slide very quickly because I’m also making some assumptions that you are all familiar with OSHA’s classic four types of workplace violence. Type one is criminal intent, that’s the robbery at the convenience store late at night, cash on hand, folks are all alone, and certainly if a weapon’s involved, the risk of violence, injury, death goes up dramatically. The second area, [00:18:30] patient, customer, client initiated violence you’re familiar with and you’re probably very familiar how high those numbers are in healthcare and human services organizations. What most people think of, of course, when they think of workplace violence is a classic type three co-worker to co-worker, co-worker to supervisor violence. You’re all familiar with those cliches, you know about disgruntled former employees, that kind of language. Increasingly, organizations have got their heads around the fact that domestic violence does follow people [00:19:00] to work. We now look at that as type four workplace violence.

Let’s go beyond. Let’s talk about the reality we see in our country and around the world today, and that is that despite OSHA’s four-point model, there is a clearly fifth type of workplace violence. The reason I bring this up, it goes back to what I said earlier, please do not make your active shooter plans, policies, exercises stand alone or stand away from your workplace [00:19:30] violence. This is controversial. I get this. There are people who said, “The shooting at Charlie Hebdo, terrorism. Shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, terrorism.” Folks, those are workplaces, aren’t they? The vast majority of terrorism is directed at places where people are working. They’re also workplaces. Type five violence, a little bit beyond OSHA’s classic model, is ideological [00:20:00] violence in which the motive of the shooter or shooters is much more like a terrorist sort of motive. In fact, you can think of this as the intersection of terrorism and workplace violence. It is driven by the extreme, that’s the operative word, extreme views, politically, religiously, ideologically.

Yes, this is the shooter who shoots up the Planned Parenthood clinic and his first day in court says, “I’m a warrior for the babies.” This [00:20:30] is the person or two who walk into an editorial meeting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, and there’s a photograph of these folks around the table having this meeting shortly before the attack begins. It is their workplace, but was not one of those other four types of workplace violence. It is violence that comes to the workplace because of what the organization does or what the organization represents.

[00:21:00] If we do not teach our employees, if we do not create our plans to bring terrorism in as a potential source of violence to our workplace, you are cheating yourself. You’re doing yourself a disservice because the same eyes and ears that you are training in workplace violence program to say, “Watch out for these behaviors,” you could piggyback on and say, “And these are the signs of type five violence. This is what the pre-indicators [00:21:30] of terrorism look like. This is what hostile surveillance looks like. This is what we should be looking for in addition to the guy on the other side of the cubicle wall who now is increasingly angry, and smoldering, and seething with anger about some perceived injustice at work.”

My invitation to you is one of the key ways we start maturing our plan is look at our world today. There is a fifth type of workplace violence and it comes from extreme ideology that finds [00:22:00] you. It finds your company that may do experiments with animals if you’re in life sciences or pharmaceuticals. It finds your company that works with genetically modified seeds and materials because they’re an extremist from an environmental movement. It finds you at your workplace not just because they’re one of the classic four types, but because of what you do. Terror does come to the workplace and it took us a while to realize that domestic violence came to the workplace. There’s a benefit by expanding that typology. [00:22:30] As I said, it helps you educate your workforce, it creates the force multiplier effect that we have more people who understand that violence takes many different forms when it comes to work and we need to be vigilant for all of those.

The other thing to think about, especially if you do buy into this idea that there’s a potentially a fifth type of workplace violence, type five, is that these attacks may be conducted more like other sorts of terrorist attacks, not [00:23:00] just a classic disgruntled employee. If you’re not already familiar, I want to take this term, you may be familiar by Tracy Frazzano and Matt Snyder, which is the term “hybrid targeted violence.” This is multiple attackers potentially in multiple locations, but they are geared up. These are people who are true believers. This is San Bernadino, guys. If you’re thinking about how to supply to the workplace, where do we see this as an active shooter, [00:23:30] this is San Bernadino, but it’s Mumbai, and it’s Westgate, and it’s Paris, and it’s San Bernadino as I said, and elements of this even in the Boston Marathon bombing.

This is usually, as I said, it may be an individual, it may be a group, or just a small cell of people, but they are much more sophisticated, they are much more willing to die, they have trained up, they have geared up, [00:24:00] and they are much more in that terrorist mold to create the dynamic mass casualty event. So I want you to start by thinking about workplace violence. Is there that fifth type? Is there terrorism that comes to work? I say yes, there is. When it comes to work, does it look different than other workplace violence? Yeah, sure it can. It can look like San Bernadino where people are in tactical gear, and they’re kitted up, and they’re ready to roll. If that’s true, then how [00:24:30] do I start to train my workforce around that?

We’re gonna jump ahead to our first poll question. Our first poll question today, actually I’m gonna hand this back to Mike. Mike, if you could take us through that and get us started with our first poll question, I’d appreciate that.

Mike

Yeah, Steve. Thank you very much. Yeah, let’s take advantage of the large crowd we have today and go out to you with a question. I apologize in advance, I see a couple typos in here, but let’s just walk through that. In your opinion, can an employee working most or all [00:25:00] of their time from a home-based office be subject to workplace violence in this setting? That’s a yes or a no question, and we will give us just a moment. Those in.

While we’re waiting, I just wanted to mention some of you have asked about a copy of the slide. That will be available in the Resources Panel when you get your link to the archived event tomorrow. [00:25:30] Yeah, we have a great response right here. Let’s go ahead and push the answer. 95% say yes. What do you think about that, Steve?

Steve

What I say is, in a way, “Hallelujah.” The question is, if we understand that, what are we doing about that? One of the things I see and you may see in your organizations as well, is we may be thinking about workplace response and active shooter response as the thing that happens when the bad [00:26:00] guy comes to our office. What if that bad guy finds your employee at home? What if it’s a manager who’s terminated them three years ago and that manager now works all or part of the time at home? As you mature your plans, that’s our theme, as we mature our plans, we need to also now start thinking beyond the walls. We need to start thinking about our mobile workforce.

With our partners at Everbridge, one of the topics we discussed a while ago is duty to care for mobile workers. [00:26:30] Guys with the numbers tell us by 2020, nearly 75% of the US workforce is gonna be mobile. They’re primarily gonna be outside of the building for most of their job work. So we need to think about this because from OSHA’s perspective, as you reflected in your opinion in the polls, the term “workplace” is synonymous with “on the job,” and “on duty.” It’s wherever you are.

If you think about our employee who is traveling that day, walking through the airport in Ft. Lauderdale [00:27:00] when it all breaks loose with a shooter, are there responsibilities for us? Should we be thinking about, how do we start educating our workers for violence that occurs beyond the walls? Because guess what, within the walls, many of you probably have great security. You have security infrastructure, and apparatus, and personnel, and all kinds of stuff. I tell you what, this photograph says it all to me. Here’s our worker at home doing her thing, [00:27:30] and there’s that guy outside who’s kind of been creeping on her. Who knows that motive? Is there a risk of violence when she’s on the job at her home?

I want you to start thinking about the motives changing, maturing our idea about the type of violence that happens to bring in this idea of type five. Now I’d like you to think a little bit more about where workplace violence happens and yes, whether it’s duty to care, it’s OSHA, it’s worker’s comp. All the good reasons [00:28:00] tell us we owe the same level of protections for employees wherever they’re working if they’re on the clock for us. I’m not touching base today on expats, but if you have employees working abroad, you may have some responsibility for their safety even in their down time when they’re not on the clock. That might even expend to some of their families.

We need to continue to think, expand our thinking about who’s at risk, what does that risk look like, and what are the appropriate [00:28:30] counter measures, and does our plan, our policies, do they reflect the reality? If you agree with me that the nature of workplace violence has changed and terrorism has come to work more often, if you agree with that idea, and you agree with the idea that the workplace is changing, and people are working outside of those walls, and we look at those statistics here, this growing mobile workforce, [00:29:00] it says that when we started our active shooter plan, we started it right.

We started with the moments of terror. We started with that brief window from shots fired to shooter down, and folks you know this, that’s like five minutes long, five, six minutes as statistics tell us, but there’s all that happens before, and there’s all that happens after. Now we need to start building on that. I understand why we started [00:29:30] there ’cause it’s the most frightening part, it’s the most dramatic part, and it’s the part we felt we had to start with, and it’s correct. Now, as the risk changes and our workplace changes, we’ve got to keep adapting our workplace violence and our active shooter posture ’cause everything is changing. Mike, I’m gonna throw it back to you because I know we’re onto our second poll question.

Mike

Yes we are, Steve. Our second poll question. Does your organization [00:30:00] have a trained threat assessment team? Let’s give you a moment to respond here. While you’re doing that, I just want to point out that our last poll question had over 1,300 responses. It’s really great to have this size audience. This is not just a web poll, this is 1,300 of your peers. All right, that’s good response folks. Let’s push this out to you. Does your organization have a trained threat assessment team? [00:30:30] It’s about 50/50, Steve. What do you think about that?

Steve

That sounds about right to me. I think in the ideal setting everyone would say either, “We’ve got it,” or “We know we need that and we would love to have it, but for whatever reason, the nature of the organization, its budget, some of the reasons we can’t do that. I want to talk a little bit to those organizations that have existing threat assessment teams and those that don’t because there are still some key concepts from [00:31:00] threat assessment that you can, I believe, educate yourself about. I have to tell you, what we know about the behavior of the active shooter, it’s different than the classic four types of workplace violence.

I know some instances, and I had a slide that spoke to this early on, some classic aspects of workplace violence may turn into active shooter events. Type one, not so much, the robbery at the convenience store. [00:31:30] Type two, you know what? When we see violence in places like hospitals and healthcare, those instants of violence are almost always targeted violence. Someone’s got it in for that doctor, that nurse, or the facility. We’ve had some active shooters, but they’re not someone looking for mass numbers. In the workplace, we had a few that were like that, but most workplace shootings tend to be more targeted as well. Type four, the intimate partner. Those get sloppy and there’s a lot of collateral damage [00:32:00] when someone comes in with all that emotion, all that romantic baggage, whatever that is. They kind of spill ove