Business professionals learn how to protect themselves in case of workplace shooting

Posted at: 04/19/2013 5:54 PM
By: Lynette Adams

What would you do if a shooter came into your workplace? With the events in Boston and around the country recently, it's a legitimate question. On Friday, a group of business professionals learned how to protect themselves in that situation.

News10NBC heard from FBI agents, police and other professionals. Their number one piece of advice is to be prepared and have a workplace plan. It could make the difference between life and death.

Lynne Monaco, Frontier Communications, said, “We have to be prepared. If we don't plan ahead of time, you're going to fail.”

Lynne Monaco has spent the last 12 years as the Corporate Director of Security for Frontier Communications in Rochester. Never did she think she would need the information she's learned at a conference in Buffalo.

Monaco said, “Rochester is no less vulnerable than any place else. I'm a graduate of MIT. Last night, when I saw one of our campus security people shot and killed, it can happen anywhere.”

The bombings and violence in Boston were on the minds of many people at the conference Friday. This was a conference focusing on how to protect yourself and your business from workplace violence, incidents like those that happened in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado and in West Webster.

George Gast, Former FBI Special Agent, said, “I like to equate it to a fire drill. Since you started in elementary school, you always did fire drills in the school.

People like George Gast provided Friday's training. He's a former special supervisory agent with the FBI. He taught the group three things to do if a shooter comes into their workplace: the first, evacuate. If you can't get out, he says, hide, and if that's not an option, Gast says fight back with everything you have.

Gast said, “The better people are prepared like in a fire situation, the more likely they are to survive the situation.”

At the conference, they also talked about how every company should have a workplace violence program, that includes a formal policy that fosters respect in the workplace, training that includes a warning of what will happen if your behavior is violent, harassing, or threatening and every company should have a threat assessment team, people who can determine what is threatening and what should be done about it.