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Employers should take the lead on workplace safety and trauma response

The National Center for Victims of Crime today urged all public and private employers, including government agencies, corporations and schools to review and drill their safety procedures and victim response plans for mass shootings and other emergencies.

“Lives are saved when safety plans are prepared and regularly drilled,” said Mai Fernandez, Executive Director of The National Center for Victims of Crime. “All workplaces in America have a duty to urgently review their own security and safety plans to protect their staff and the public,” she said.

“Mass shootings in the workplace and other public spaces are rare, but we all have a responsibility to be prepared.”

Preventing a personally or politically motivated mass killer from carrying out an attack can be extremely difficult, but there are ways we can protect our citizens and workers when an attack occurs, and respond to victims’ needs in the aftermath.

Safety preparations include employers taking the lead on regularly training their staff for emergencies, putting systems in place to allow employees to communicate about potential threats, and devising a real-time communication plan during the emergency itself.

Employers also need to ensure they address victims’ needs in the aftermath of workplace violence.

“We must not neglect the long-term health, mental health and financial support that victims will need to recover when the media glare fades,” Fernandez said.

Employers will need to have to a flexible response for those recovering from trauma, including allowing staff to take time off, providing them with ongoing counseling, and allowing them to be re-trained if they physically or mentally cannot return to their previous duties.

Safety planning resources available for workplaces, churches and schools can be found at:

Department of Homeland Security School Safety page: http://www.dhs.gov/school-safety

Technical assistance for Schools and Campuses/ US Department of Education Office of Safe and Healthy Students: http://rems.ed.gov/Display.aspx?page=homepage

Safety and emergency planning in schools: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/emergencyplan/index.html

Houses of Worship: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/rems-developing-eop-guide.pdf

US Department of Labor resources on workplace violence: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/