Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The folly of a 'reactive security posture'

Guest-blogger Armed Folk Singer posts:

In 1973, I was VP and GM of a company with 800 employees, most of them female. In one week, we received 3 bomb threats. Each time we evacuated the plant causing lost time, lost wages and obviously creating emotional impact much to the joy probably of some former employee. About a week later, an employee’s spouse attempted to enter our plant in order to do harm to the employee. This had been an ongoing problem with spouses/boy friends.

One week later, we did the following:

1. Hired a security service (armed) to verify employee ID’s and do random inspection of all bags brought into the plant. No one entered the building without an ID or a pass.

2. Developed a “bomb search team” with special pagers so that if a bomb threat was called in, the team was notified and did specified searches of all areas of a very large plant. This also forced a high level of orderliness.

3. Installed TV cameras at all entrances and exits which were monitored but not recorded Just the existence of cameras caused a high degree of awareness.

4. The result was that our employees came to work feeling much safer about their environment and confident that the employer cared about their safety.

5. Over the next 15 years, any incidents that occurred were outside the building and the police were immediately notified. We never again had a serious bomb threat or internal domestic disturbance.

This situation took place over 30 years ago. Today, it is unconscionable for any business, institution or organization to be so naïve as to assume a "reactive posture" on providing a safe environment.

In addition, every educational institution should teach a one hour course weekly on "how to protect oneself in a crisis" (a hurricane, a tornado, a terrorist act, a fire, a bomb, an attack, etc. etc.) Education is teaching our youth survival in a very complicated world... and that is not just economic survival.

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