Be prepared for the unexpected: 3 tips to keep you on your toes

By Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith

Workplace violence seems to be back in the news again, with a man taking hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters building in Silver Spring Maryland on Wednesday. Although your average nine-to-five worker doesn’t anticipate facing an explosive-wielding gunman at the office, that’s exactly what your average cop has to be prepared to respond to, any where, any time. Are you ready?

Mentally prepare. We all know things have changed; we don’t automatically button up the area and wait for SWAT. Are you ready to form that ad hoc team and run toward the shots, or maybe even go in by yourself? Visualize how you would respond to that “bank robbery gone bad” and several other realistic scenarios.
Train with your beat partners. Not all departments have formal or frequent active shooter training, is yours one of them? Get together with the people you work the closest with and “tabletop” some scenarios. Where are the potential hot spots in your area? How would you approach? Where would you set up the inner and out perimeters? How would you make entry if you had to? Communication is key!
Get that “go-bag” together. Load it up with a few basics: lots of fancy extras are fun, but basically you need a couple of energy bars, a bottle of water, some a couple of tac med bandages, and lots and lots of ammo. Your go-bag doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy, or complicated, but it needs to be ready to go when you are!

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