Workplace Violence Awareness course taught at Fort Pickett

Soldiers from the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute provide an Active Threat/Workplace Violence Awareness class to Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Fort Pickett employees Feb. 20, 2015. (Courtesy Photo)

Soldiers from the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute provide an Active Threat/Workplace Violence Awareness class to Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Fort Pickett employees Feb. 20, 2015. (Courtesy Photo)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – Soldiers from the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute provided an Active Threat/Workplace Violence Awareness class to more than 30 Virginia National Guard Soldiers and Fort Pickett employees Feb. 20, 2015.

“Our goal for the class was to draw attention to all the recent incidents targeting schools, places of worship, workplace violence, shopping malls and movie theaters and assist all sections within the Virginia National Guard in developing plans to identify, prevent, respond to and mitigate active threats,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Sammy Jones, a Military Police Officer course instructor who taught the class alongside Master Sgt. Brian Coleman.

The class included a range of topics, including how to define an active shooter or threat, recent events involving active shooters, a statistical analysis of active threats, warning signs, how to communicate with first responders and individual preparedness.

Before the class, the instructors provided a site assessment at the workplace of several of the class attendees, evaluating the building for security risks and then, during the class, providing the employees with recommendations on how to make the site more secure. This portion of the class encouraged all attendees to have a plan in place for how they intend to react in an active shooter situation, to include how to escape the building, where they would hide, how they would treat any casualties should the need arrive, what sorts of items in their work are could be used to barricade entrances or, if needed, be used as weapons against an attacker.

“Everyone should have a plan of egress at all times for themselves, their coworkers and their families,” explained Jones. “Not only should they have a plan but they should discuss these plans and even rehearse them.”

Jones explained that the first course of action in an active shooter situation is to run, then hide, then, as an absolute last resort, fight.

“The number one take away for the students is that they take our recommendations seriously and develop and incorporate comprehensive emergency response plans for these types of active threats,” Jones said.

Department of Homeland Security: Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation

• Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers

• Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit

• If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door

• If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door ‘

• As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.

CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!

For more tips on how to survive an active shooter situation, check out Active Shooter: How to Respond, by the Department of Homeland Security.