The number of workplace shootings is increasing at an alarming rate – in the last ten years the number of mass shootings was 2.4 times greater than in the previous decade, and the majority of those were in businesses.
The U.S. Department of Labor confirms roughly two million Americans a year report being direct victims of workplace violence, and OSHA estimates 25 percent of violence still goes unreported. In 2017, the annual number of workplace homicides was 458, and intentional shootings comprised 76% of those homicides. Violence can happen anytime, anywhere. Is your company protected? Not sure if you need to be? Just ask our friend and client, Ronnie Odom, at C Spire. He’ll tell you it’s not a matter of if you have a violent incident, it’s a matter of when.
Company-Wide Security & Safety Plan with Guard911®
Recognizing the increase in workplace violence, C Spire, the largest privately held wireless carrier in the country, began using Guard911® in 2016. They also saw the need for a more comprehensive security and safety program and someone with experience to run it. That led to Ronnie Odom, a 25-year, retired law enforcement officer, who soon joined C Spire in 2017 as Manager of Security and Site Safety.
As an officer, Odom responded to Guard911® calls and still uses the Hero911® app in retirement, so he was pleased to learn C Spire already had this technology at four of their office, data-center, warehouse, and call-center locations. Since Odom’s hiring, it has also been added to four more large, multi-story locations in Alabama and Mississippi. Though having Guard911® at eight locations doesn’t sound like many when they have dozens, there is logic to which locations use it and why.
Alert & Save Workers in Areas Hidden from View
Many of the C Spire locations are retail and small enough that one can see from the front door to the back and all sides. Communication between staff and customers is easy. In an extremely large facility, like a warehouse, or one with multiple floors and meeting rooms and spaces hidden from view, widespread communication is nearly impossible. This is where Guard911® is critical.
In the event of an active killer, the Guard911® mobile app mass-communicates instantly with employees and 911 simultaneously. Just a tap of the icon on a smartphone screen and staff is alerted to get to safety and the nearest on- and off-duty first responders are on their way. Without it, there is a good chance the shooter will kill many more people before 911 can be called and first responders arrive.
According to Homeland Security, it takes 4-11 minutes for a 911 call to be processed and first responders dispatched, and 4-18 minutes for a first responder to be on the scene and act. Guard911® is affordable technology that shortens the notification and response times and greatly improves the chance of saving lives with the touch of a screen.
Adopt a Workplace Safety & Security Program
Odom recommends every size company and organization adopt a safety and security program that goes beyond just a guard at the entrance or a keycard for access. Many acts of violence within the workplace are an act of a coworker, someone with access to the building, or a person known by an employee, so a guard and/or keycard are not enough. A written and practiced emergency event plan with the ability to communicate to everyone in the workplace, even those in areas hidden from view, is essential.
Emergency preparedness and a formal safety and security protocol helps save lives and mitigates the lengthy emotional and economic fallout from a traumatic event. Therefore, the following actions are strongly advised to build a safer workplace and protect employees, customers, and assets.
- Implement the Guard911® mobile app and technology.
- Create a written safety/security training protocol and action plan.
- Conduct mock-shooter training and crisis exercises with local law enforcement.
- Enforce a zero-tolerance policy for violence and other forms of abuse.
- Develop a safe-reporting program that encourages employees to confidentially report questionable behavior without repercussions.
“There have been 150 employee-on-employee killings since 2010.” Kathleen Bonczyk, Workplace Violence Researcher
The Toll of Workplace Violence
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “A half-million employees miss an estimated 1.8 million workdays annually due to workplace violence, resulting in more than $55 million in lost wages. The annual comprehensive cost to businesses is now $130 billion compared to $36 billion in 1995.” In addition to simply dollars and cents, the trauma and emotional toll of anyone involved in or witnessing an active killer assault lasts a lifetime. There is no longer any excuse to not have a safety and security plan in place that includes life-saving technology. This violence pandemic can no longer be ignored.
“How we prepare is up to us. The ability to protect ourselves and those around us is an essential right. Nate and the team at Guard911® are accommodating and extremely helpful. You rarely hear them say ‘no.’ They understand the importance of what we need to do to make people safe.” – Ronnie Odom
Reduce Notification and Response Time, Save Lives
Despite a company’s best efforts, an active killer may get on the premises. In that case, reducing law enforcement notification time and subsequent response time can reduce the number of lives lost. That’s why Guard911® exists – to instantaneously and simultaneously alert the nearest on- and off-duty first responders and everyone inside a business when there is an active killer on the premises or there is a life-threatening situation.
“It’s important to all of us that we are safe in the place where we spend most of our time. To make sure we can be here as long as possible, enjoy our work, and provide for our families, we need easy-to-use, effective tools like Guard911® in place. A security program alone is not enough.” – Ronnie Odom
Protect & Empower Employees
Workplace violence and attempts to kill can happen in an instant. Providing the resources, training, tools and systems to mitigate potential violence and stop someone with an intent to harm as fast as possible is critical to keep employees, customers, and the general public safe. Join C Spire and other companies around the country in implementing Guard911® to protect and empower employees and provide peace of mind in the workplace. Contact us today for more information on how your company or organization can utilize Guard911®. When Seconds Save Lives.
The Office of Victims of Crime: https://www.ovc.gov/
National Institute for Occupational Safety & health (NIOSH): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/index.htm
Department of Homeland Security: https://www.dhs.gov/cisa/active-shooter-preparedness