An initiative through a partnership with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Local Emergency Planning Committee, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and BSR/Summit Point Training Center (an Xator Company) proves fruitful.  BSR launched an “Emergency Preparedness” initiative for commercial businesses in Jefferson County and surrounding areas.  The spirit behind the initiative was to not only raise the awareness that “Commercial Businesses” are becoming more susceptible to Active Shooter Events (ASE’s), but also to provide commercial business management with tools to plan, prepare and respond to ASE’s.  

BSR/Summit Point Training Center invited various commercial business management personnel, place of worship administrators, healthcare professionals, school faculty and Law Enforcement/Security Officers to each of these courses.  BSR/Summit Point Training Center provided a 1-day B.E.C.O.N. course every month for four months (May, June, July and August of 2018), free of cost to the participants. Businesses such as DALB inc., Hospice, Chem Pak, Bloomery Plantation Distillery, Dept. of Homeland Security, Board of Education, Prince William Co. Public Schools, Law Enforcement Organizations, St. James Church, County Commission, Big Cork Vinyards and other various organizations were in attendance.  The B.E.C.O.N. Emergency Preparedness Course was presented to nearly 100 participants during this four month initiative.  The testimonials from the participants were right on point with the purpose of the course.  It was underscored with participants stating: “I increased my own personal confidence of being able to do the right thing under stress”, “this course gave me ideas I never thought of before”, “it was the best course i have taken in my 20 years as an administrator”, “the course was practical and the exercises were eye-opening.”

Statistically, workplace/commercial businesses hold, and have been holding, the highest percentage of ASE occurrences since the early 2000’s.  One could attribute this to lack of training due to overhead costs and/or providing “insufficient” training because they simply do not know how.  I believe the primary cause of commercial businesses being unprepared (at no fault of their own) is the later- providing “insufficient” training because they just do not know how.  Generally it becomes a scenario of upper management coming to the HR office and directing their subordinates with the daunting task of finding training for their staff (in upward of 100 people).  This can be an overwhelming journey if they do not know where to look, have little to no experience as to what practical training is or means and their deadline to get the job done is just around the corner.

All to often, when tasked with such a feat, we will choose the “online” training.  I can speak from experience that when you send a “training required” email out, with an online link attached to it, the likeliness of it sinking in to the one taking the course is minimal at best.  Generally the email states “Get this required training done within 7 days” and that is where your staff will merely do 15 minutes here or there by simply clicking the “next” button as fast as they can to get it done.  With that in mind, I ask these questions:  “When you took that machine gun finger and zipped through that online course, how much of it did you retain?”. “What, if any, did you take from that online course that took you 15 minutes to complete?”. “Did you walk away from that course with a heightened level of confidence in knowing you could do the right thing under stress?”.  Now I ask this of you, “Did you learn how to swim- pool, ocean or the like, by watching an online video on How To Swim?”. “Did you go out and drive a vehicle for the first time because you learned it from a video/online course?”.  Think about it…………. if you knew that your actions could result in serious bodily injury and possibly death to yourself or others, you would invest the time, money and attention into the necessary hands-on reality based training needed to prepare you to swim, drive a 4,000 lb. vehicle or respond proactively to an emergency event.

Unfortunately, even today, we see that there is not such investment spent/put into emergency preparedness training.  We succumb to the all too often “check the box” type mentality of just getting it done so we could say collectively that our annual required training has been conducted.  Just to drive the point home further, in 2018, I personally attended what suppose to be a 2 hr. “training seminar” for nearly 100 administrators.  The event leader speaking seemed to be more focused on trying to get the administrators out of the venue more so than the training itself.  Comments from the event leader to get them on their long “Labor Day” weekend than the actual importance and substance of the training seemed to be what I personally remember most.  The event leader misspoke often regarding some statistics, advising that there would be specific information given that actually was not given at all.  Of what should have been the most interesting segments of the training was the “shot exposure” conducted in the vicinity of the administrators to get them to attempt to point out the direction.  The issue was that the venue had “acoustic insulated” walls where the administrators were sitting (not your standard work environment nor practical to get the point across) and no one could hear any of the four weapons fired until they were right outside the door of the venue from where they were sitting.

Though I am sure there were good intentions behind conducting the training, the event leader picked a poor venue to do it in (no one could hear a thing), there was no “hands-on” practical application by the participants (they all remained seated while being spoke to) and the “seminar” actually only lasted a glorious 1 hr and 15 minutes (due to Labor Day weekend and wanting to get out early).  I cannot say that I place the entire blame for the event leader putting on such a haphazard training session as much as I will say that he/she possibly had no idea on how to conduct such training effectively. They subsequently relied on their own abilities or succumbing to the mentality of “Let’s just get this box checked” to get the training done.  Regardless, the desired outcome of that training session, in my opinion, was not achieved and the administrators left with more questions than what they came with.  Our training is much different, visit: https://beconast.com/workplace

BSR/Summit Point Training Center’s Active Shooter Course- B.E.C.O.N. is not a “online push-the-button” type of course.  Our course provides the reality based, hands-on, proactive training needed to build confidence and retention individually and collectively as an organization.  Couple this experience with the ability of identifying contingencies you may have never thought of before while developing an effective Emergency Response Plan with a proactive training regimen.  This is what BSR offers and this will be what you walk away with. To review similar training BSR has to offer, please visit http://www.bsr-inc.com– Authored by Nathan A. Harmon