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Evacuate or Protect-In-Place?

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  • Evacuate or Protect-In-Place?

    Our Physical Security Specialist and I (Lead Security Officer) are working on our SOGs for response to workplace violence incidents. Though we can't address every scenario a Security Officer can be faced with, we do need to establish guidelines on how to handle an incident based on major factors.

    We are protecting a population in excess of two thousand in a secure scientific/industrial environment.

    As I see it, there are two basic modes to operate in - Evacuate and Protect-In-Place. Each has its place according to the situation and when applied incorrectly can be disastrous.

    Does anyone have an opinion on the matter of Evacuation v Protect-In-Place? What factors would drive you in either direction?

    >> I recognize these two basic response formats do not apply in every case and both may apply to some.

  • #2
    only time i would PIP would be disabled persons or if the threat outside is greater then the threat inside, i would generally evacuate to a safe location, across the street or oppisite corner of the block.
    Its not how we die that counts.....
    Its not how we lived that counts....
    all that matters is how we saved that one life that one time by being in the right place at the right time....


    • #3
      UPF's answer is at the crux of the matter, it will be a dynamic fluid situation. Were I you two, I'd plan for both, and get the coordination for both. One thing more, evacuate senior staff to their designated safe room asap in either eventuality.
      Enjoy the day,


      • #4
        I'm not trying to be a wise guy or anything, but what is your procedure for preventing work place violence in the first place?
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)


        • #5
          The problem with evacuating is that you may cause someone who was in a safe place to move through a place that is not safe. As the others have said, it depends on the situation.
          I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
          Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.


          • #6
            When I worked as Dir. Security with an IT company, we had a safe room for execs off my office which was secured and accessed by exec team only. You cannot predict what is going to happen in all scenarios but let me just toss a few around:

            1. Disgruntled employee goes postal - move those who can away from the danger (ie. out of the building or out of harm).

            2. Group attack - you need to have isolated or `safe areas` where people can move to (like using a bathroom as a shelter).

            3. Other scenarios - people panic in a crisis and then you get some idiot who sticks his head up like a meerkat and BLAM ........ trouble hits.

            What gets me and I have pounded my head against the wall for years - when you have Emergency Wardens who order Execs or management to move and the Execs pull rank on them. This happens far too often and it should never be that way - when you are ordered to move - you move !!
            "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu


            • #7
              All I can answer to that is, "BRAVO -- BRAVO!"


              • #8
                I always run scenarios thru my mind since there is no written procedure for this in the government buildings I work at.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kingsman View Post
                  I always run scenarios thru my mind since there is no written procedure for this in the government buildings I work at.
                  Kingsman, if that building is federally owned or operated, what is the jurisdiction, Federal Exclusive, partial Federal Exclusive, Concurrent or Proprietary? Federal Property Management Regulation (FPMR) requires there be a current and up-to-date Occupant Emergency Plan (OEP) and there must be a "Designated Official," normally the highest-ranking official of the primary occupant agency. Jurisdiction? I don't care if it is an outhouse and it is run by or for the federal government the 18 USC Section 13, "Laws of States adopted for areas within Federal Jurisdiction" applies. Someone within the security office is required to have a cadre of security police/guards trained in the issuance of magistrate judge summons.
                  Since 9/11 there must be in place a core of plans dealing with any emergency and GSA is required to inspect them. If GSA gives you a spot of bother, please let me know. I think there will be fun with this one.
                  Enjoy the day,


                  • #10
                    Lead Security...I have a couple questions first....

                    Is your department armed? I ask because this would dictate some of your guidelines.

                    After Columbine the procedure (LEOs) if an Active Shooter is to engage the shooter(s) in an attempt to locate, fix them, and attempt to neutralize the threat thus giving others a chance to escape. You would also be directing anyone you find to evacuate as you went.
                    This goes for most forms of workplace violence.

                    Of course any type of fire alarm or other such incident you mayevacuate again depending on type and size of building. Say you have an electrical room fire on one end of a L shaped building, would you really need to evacuate the othe end?


                    • #11
                      I have worked on creating policy for a static hostage situation and an active shooter situation. Unfortunately the resources available for the active shooter scenario create a bleak picture unless you have armed personnel to tackle them. Google active shooter policies for universities and you'll get the idea. To gain a little insight I started here:

                      Article written by JLt. Dan Marcou, (ret) of the LaCrosse, WI Police Department

                      There's alot of information available elsewhere as well. In fact alot of the information already given is invaluable if you are trying to create a policy from scratch. Remember the term "Best Practices".

                      Good luck and if you can post your findings.


                      • #12
                        It's very difficult to offer generalizations. Everything else being equal, evacuation would usually be the best choice. Unfortunately, there are lots of things - some having to do with the characteristics of your population (younger/older, etc.), some having to do with the physical characteristics of the facility (how many floors, exits, layout, access control systems, locks on lab/office doors, type of materials used in construction, executive office suite, etc.), some having to do with the specifics of the incident (one shooter or more, "reason" or purpose of the attack, knowledgeable about the facility or not, etc.), and some having to do with the skills and size of the on-site response force - that would dictate otherwise.

                        This is such a grave issue, and there is so much at stake (the loss of one key employee in many science/research organizations can literally cripple the whole operation), that it really deserves to be kicked outside the organization to a personnel protection specialist for expert evaluation. If a client came to me with this issue, I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole because I think it really requires someone who truly specializes in this area.
                        Last edited by SecTrainer; 10-26-2007, 03:29 AM.
                        "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                        "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                        "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                        "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron


                        • #13
                          This could be a timely debate as we watch CNN coverage of the San Diego fires.

                          Life safety, yours and others, is the main concern.
                          Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
                          Groucho Marx


                          • #14
                            Indeed Eric. As Sec noted earlier, there are many variables. I'd say plan and train for all senarios, as best you can and resourses allow! Best of luck!

                            Be Safe,

                            " We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on one hand and of overwhelming force on the other" - General George C. Marshall


                            • #15
                              Reply to ACP01


                              Our Security Officers are not armed. We work for a corporation that feels they pay taxes for the police to take the responsibility for training, staffing, liability, etc. so they don't have to. Our responsibility lies in the first few minutes before the police show up and take command.

                              Our SOGs will have to provide guidance to our officers on what to look for in deciding on a particular tactic. One cannot just pull the fire alarm and let everyone leave where they may. One cannot just tell people to leave the building and let them choose their path out. One cannot just tell everyone to go back to their office and close the door. There are many forms of violence to be considered. Building, business type, weather, population demographics all play a part in the decision.

                              I am just looking for input as to what conditions would make one choose either Evacuate or PIP. I know we haven't thought of everything.

                              Thanks, SecTrainer. Good input.
                              Last edited by LeadSecurityOfficer; 10-30-2007, 05:19 PM.