Security and Self-Defense in the Workplace

There is no lack of discussion on self-defense these days among tactical circles.  Ironically, workplace security and self-defense still get less of the lion’s share of thought, even though workplace violence is one of the most common forms of criminal assault.  There are a number of things to consider for your personal safety regardless of what sort of office environment you are in.  To begin, let me say that being armed with a firearm is, obviously, ideal, but many people cannot be due to working in restricted areas.  Regardless of whether or not you can carry a gun while at the office, here are several considerations for all:

Have an Evacuation Plan

Where are the exits?  What exit is closest to your own office or cubical?  Where does that exit lead?  If something bad happens, be it a disgruntled employee who comes in the office to shoot everyone, or be it a fire or earthquake, where is the exit and where will it take you?  You need to know how to get out of the building as quickly as possible.  If the closest exit to you leads to an untenable location, such as on to a roof, then be aware of what exit is closest that leads out of the building.  Even beyond exiting the building, have a plan.  Can you get to your vehicle?  If you don’t drive to work, can you get to a place of relative safety quickly?  If you live in an area with cold winters, can you get into a different building quickly so that you don’t succumb to the cold?  Give all of these parameters some thought.

Have a Defensive Plan

Should you not be able to evacuate on time, have a defensive plan.  Where can you quickly barricade?  If armed while at work, where can you quickly take cover so as to have have a position of advantage to shoot from when the threat emerges?  If unarmed, what can you arm yourself with?  Do you have a fire extinguisher near by?  Can you barricade yourself in an available room or office with a strong door?  Can you brace a door?  While being stuck in a room is not ideal, active killers are usually looking for a body count and will not likely waist a lot of time trying to open one room.  Stay low to the ground to minimize your likelihood of being shot through the door or walls. If you have no gun, grab any weapon of opportunity to take out the killer when he transgresses the door, should he get it open.

Things to Have on Your Person Beyond a Weapon

Armed or not, there are a few other items you should have on your person at all times while in the  work place:

Your keys:  If you drive to work, do you keep your keys on you while you spend your day in the office?  Should you have to evacuate in an emergency you may not have time to get to your keys sitting back at your desk.  Should this be the case you may be stuck for a long time without being able to get out of the area and make it home.  Keep your keys on you.

Your Access Badge:  If you need an access badge, ro perhaps keys of some type to get into restricted areas of your building, or out of the stairwells, be sure to keep it on you at all times in case you need to move around the building quickly or escape an area.

A light:  I realize that carrying a large tactical flashlight while in formal or business casual clothing is not possible for most, but we live in the modern era of high-lumen tiny keychain lights.  A small light that can go unnoticed in a pocket or even on your key ring that packs over 100 lumens is the norm today, and such a light can save you if you find yourself in a suddenly-dark office environment due to a power outage or smoke.  A small 100 lumen light will illuminate a pitch black stairway with aplomb.  Carry one, always.

Your phone:  Like your keys, you should keep your phone on your person while in the office.  Should you need to evacuate quickly, or find yourself barricaded in a room, separated from everyone else, you will want to be able to call emergency services.  Also, should you need to evacuate quickly, you will want the option of calling your family members as soon as possible to let them know that you are out of harms way.

A tourniquet:  There is no denying that tourniquets save lives.  I advocate carrying one on your person even while at the office.  Perhaps have a few more available in your work bag or at your desk as well.  In the event of an emergency being able to stop massive hemorrhaging in yourself or a coworker can truly be the difference between life and death.  Medical personnel will not enter a scene until it is secured.  As we have seen in the past, it can take hours for victims to receive help in the aftermath of an attack.  You will be on your own and the ability to tie off a major bleed can keep someone alive until help arrives.

Consider these things to make your work environment more secure for yourself and for others.  Most of us spend a lot of time in the office, be prepared for personal protection while in this space.

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