Friday, November 13, 2009

Oh sure...I'll remember all that!

Have you ever been at a place that has an Emergency Procedures Manual?

Just about every place I have worked since the 1990's has had one.

In light of the Ft. Hood shooting, I thought it would be interesting to share the instructions from one work place concerning:

Violent Criminal Behavior

(Please note that I did not write this particular list...although I have written lists for a couple of libraries that had a lot better instructions than this one!)

If you see or know that a person has a firearm, hear shots fired or witness an armed person shooting people, you should protect yourself first.

You should immediately move to a safe location and take the following steps:.

1) Conceal yourself and others within a room if it is not safe to evacuate. You should enter and stay in an office, classroom, bathroom, or closet.

(We librarians have always discussed what we planned on doing if we had a shooter in the library work area, after noting how many shooters seem to wind up in libraries. We librarians agreed that if we were out on the library floor or reference desk we would all charge a shooter...throwing waste cans, books or anything else we could heave as we ran. We figured as middle aged librarians we could probably scare a guy long enough for a few younger and stronger types to tackle the shooter. We also agreed that NO WAY would we just sit back and let someone shoot up a bunch of students while we awaited security's arrival.)

2) Close the door and lock the door if it is safe to do so. During violent crimes in progress, entering the hall to lock the door would be unsafe.

3) Leave no external indication that you are in the room. (tuck away coats, purse, coffee cup, shut down websites on computer screen, turn off lamps. Oh sure...I could do all that in a flash!)

4) Dial 911 to give your location, the number of people present, injuries, etc.

(Let's I need to dial a "9" first to an outside number, or will just 911 work? Will I remember my address? How on earth would I have any idea how many people are in the library/facility at any moment?)

5) If the door cannot be locked then you should place heavy objects, from within the room, against the door as a barricade.

(I'm supposed to do this while concealed?)

6) Turn off the lights.

(Again, while concealed?)

7) If there are windows with window coverings then you should close them.

(Don't you just know that the blind cord will jam this time for sure...)

8) If glass is present in the door it should also be covered.

(Covered with what? Scotch tape paper up? Any ideas??? Ideas that can be done while hands are shaking like mad?)

9) Move to a floor level position furthest from door.

10) Get under a desk or table if possible.

(Another reason to watch my weight to make sure all of me could fit under my desk.)

11) Silence cell phones.

(Oops...must dig out cell phone in the dark now...set it to vibrate? Should I text message someone? And if so...who?)

12) Do not go near or open the door until instructed to do so by police or firemen.

(this could take awhile...regular potty breaks should be taken so in an emergency situation one could cower under a desk for up to three hours without a continence issue. Of course if someone is shooting up the place, wet pants might just be the least of your problems.)

Seriously...I have written security procedures for several companies in the past. The one thing that we always had going at most public libraries was the presence of an armed guard. We also had concealed alarm switches in a couple of places.

The public libraries were cool like that.

One oil company's building had unarmed security. A few months following 9/11 a semi-opened package was left in front of the company's library doors, in a hallway.
I called the security department. A young guy showed up. I showed him the box, and he decided the best course of action was

(...are you ready for this???)

to kick it.

Yup, kicked that box like it was a soccer ball during a playoff game.

I about came unglued. If that box had held a bomb, and it had gone off, the whole floor could have been blown up.

In Academic libraries there were security guards that did sweeps at closing time to make sure everyone were out of the building. They would also come by if you call anywhere from 5-15 minutes.

Our burliest staff guy was usually drafted to speak to any questionable people with a request that they leave the area. No extra pay was involved in that "other duties as assigned" part of his job description.

Those are just a few examples of how various places have handled the idea of a shooter in the past. I've learned that most larger churches in America now have plain clothed security guards with guns, and the police have floor plans of the church buildings on file. Interesting, no?

Here in Utah we have a thing called Concealed Weapon Permits. By paying a small fee, and attending a class, and undergoing some background checking, a person can be licensed to carry a weapon in public legally.

I have to admit...that fact makes me feel a little safer here in SLC. If some shooter decides to fire at folks in a public place, there is a pretty good chance that someone is going to return fire before the shooter has a chance to re-load.

I'd like to think that a dedicated Licensed Concealed Weapon Carrier regularly visits a shooting range, and will be able to wing, (rather than kill) a shooter seriously enough to stop the shooting quickly.

In fact, with that option in mind, this is what I really would like to see the Violent Criminal Behaviour policies to read as follows:

1. If you see or know that a person has a firearm illegally, hear shots fired or witness an armed person shooting people, you should protect yourself first.

2. Pull out your weapon and shoot at the criminal shooter. Continue shooting until the shooter is hit, and you are sure the criminal shooter is down.

3. Get the criminal's weapon away from the criminal.

4. Call 911.

5. Give interview to the newspaper.

6. Get back to work.

I've never liked having to remember more than six steps to do anything anyway.

The original Twelve Steps Guide that was issued?

You've got to be kidding me!


Lovella ♥ said...

Oh vey .. .and on that list should be call your BCGF and let her know what is going on. .
I pray you NEVER need to use the list. .that one or the one you made at the end.

Vicki said...

Gee...where have I been? I can't believe I've fallen so far behind on reading what you've been writing!

I'd be so terrified if a shooter was around that I would do good to remember to be quiet!

Florida has pretty much the same deal for obtaining a concealed weapons permit. We've discussed going through this ourselves. Yeah, me...the one who is so terrified of weapons that I've never even touched a gun of any type! Well, there was that cork gun that I had as a kid...

Marie Christopher said...

Oh, yes .... I like your procedure.