Senior leaders committ to emergency preparedness —What about you?

By Dr. Christopher Hennen DPTMS Emergency Manager

January 10th, 2019 | News, News and Features

Workplace violence incidents have tripled over the last decade. According to the FBI, it is now the fastest-growing category of violence in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks workplace violence second among fatal workplace injuries, ahead of falls, slips and trips.
Active shooter incidents, the most extreme form of workplace violence, have tripled in the last eight years, with an event occurring in the U.S. once every three weeks.
Active assailant incidents have occurred at colleges and military installations 22 times since 2000. Alarmingly, you are 18 times more likely to encounter workplace violence and an active shooter situation than a fire.
In today’s society, it’s more important than ever for organizations to make personal protection a high priority. The first operational reality of active shooter scenarios is that when seconds count, police are minutes away.
What leaders and individuals do—or fail to do—before an incident will be evident in response and recovery outcomes. Studies show that people are better protected from risks when they are proactive in developing and instituting policies, procedures and training designed to increase personnel safety and survivability.
To promote awareness and a shared understanding of the challenges that such an event would create at West Point, USMA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams chaired a Senior Leader Active Shooter Response Exercise last month.
The event provided a forum to discuss executive-level issues related to active shooter incident preparedness, and, should the unimaginable occur, opportunities to improve protection, response and recovery potential.
Along with the Commandant Brig. Gen. Steven Gilland; the Dean, Brig. Gen. Cindy Jebb; the Garrison Commander, Col. Harry C. Marson V; and key members of their staffs, attendees worked through the initial response challenges of a notional active shooter incident in the Central Area.
The results of this exercise will serve as a basis for readiness improvement, and preparation for a full-scale protection exercise in April. The senior-level crisis preparedness exercise, the first of its kind at West Point, demonstrated the seriousness with which West Point leadership takes the stewardship of the national treasure that is West Point—the protection of our people, our mission and our image.
Yet, preserving the safety, security and prosperity of our community requires the commitment of the whole community. Truly enhancing our resilience to an active shooter incident will require everyone to take responsibility for their own self-preparedness, working together to develop the capacity needed to enhance our collective safety and security in times of crisis.
What about you—are you prepared?