You may not want to think about an active shooter threat at your practice, but not taking the time to prepare can be deadly.
Just by working in healthcare you are at an increased risk of harm. Nearly 75% of workplace assaults occur in healthcare settings, and healthcare continues to be one of the most dangerous professions. That’s why it’s so important to prepare your staff.
Although it may seem like common sense, in the heat of the moment, many people don’t think about everyday items as defensive tools. However, training your staff on their use, can make all the difference in a life and death situation.
Being prepared – and making sure your staff are ready in the event of an active shooter threat – is essential to protecting your team and patients. Your response plan can’t just rely on everyone hiding until the police arrive. It is essential that everyone in your office knows how to respond should they be left with no alternative but to fight back.
Note: Post this free tool in your office to remind your staff how to respond should they be faced with a dangerous situation.
Tables and Chairs, Oh My
Office furniture, especially chairs, tables, small filing cabinets, and desks, can be effective tools if you’re ever forced to defend yourself against an attacker. There are several ways you can use these objects for protection, distraction, and to give you more time.
- Blocking Doors: If you can get everyone into a closed room, office furniture can be easily used to block the doorway. This can make it more difficult for the perpetrator to get inside.
- Barriers: Desks and tables also can be stacked in hallways or other entrances without doors as a barricade, also with the goal of slowing down the assailant.
- Weapons: Smaller pieces of furniture, such as chairs, can be thrown at the attacker. Not only can this be a defensive weapon, but it can be used to distract the attacker and give everyone a chance to escape.
Office Supplies as Weapons
Scissors and pencils are great for their intended purposes, but they can also be used very effectively to incapacitate an attacker. The problem is that people don’t commonly think of these items when they’re faced with a dangerous situation.
Although there are numerous office supplies that are sharp and can be used as weapons (i.e., scissors, sharpened pencils, letter openers, keys, etc.), you should only ever take action or use a weapon as a last resort.
If an attacker comes into your practice and threatens your staff and patients, the first thing you should do is ask them to leave. If they don’t comply, tell them you are going to call the police. If they still don’t comply, you may be left with no choice but to defend yourself, staff, and patients.
In a pinch, a heavy, blunt object also can work to subdue an attacker (i.e., paper weights, awards, etc.). Even momentarily stunning or injuring an attacker can allow you to get a weapon away from them, give everyone a chance to escape, or provide you with enough time for the police to arrive.
Beyond Office Supplies
Items such as books, binders, break room appliances (microwaves, toasters, etc.), telephones, and even computer monitors are easy to lift and throw. While they may not fully stop an armed intruder, they can distract or incapacitate them, giving you time to escape or for the police to arrive. Even a slight distraction can make the difference between someone getting hurt or walking away unscathed.
Every day, you use items in your practice that can help you defend against an active shooter threat. Sharing this information with your staff will get them to look at these items differently, and hopefully think of them if they are ever face-to-face with someone that is threatening harm.
Further Fortify Your Front Desk
You can help your staff quickly and easily fortify their front desk skills with our new 5-part online training series presented by expert Tracy Bird, FACMPE, CPC, CPMA, CEMC, CPC-I. During each section of this series, Tracy will provide your staff with practical, step-by-step tactics that will help them overcome the most common, and costly mistake areas at your front desk. These include:
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