Today’s hotels face what can seem like endless threats—from natural disasters to terrorism and cybersecurity breaches. Jay Hart, the director of the Force Training Institute, leads a team of first responders, anti-terrorism, cybersecurity, defense tactics, and crisis management specialists to advise companies on public safety and security and help their employees feel safe. “Every leader should be concerned with empowering their employees to feel and be safe during any type of natural or man-made disaster like an active threat,” Hart explains. “Moreover, it’s extremely important to have good answers for predictable questions, and your employees definitely have concerns and questions about active threat situations.” LODGING caught up with Hart to understand how hoteliers should prepare staff to manage and respond to active threat situations.
How should hoteliers prepare staff for an active threat situation?
Preparing employees for an active threat can appear to be a very daunting challenge. And while this type of training is very easy to do wrong, there are some simple pathways to success. For example, training should focus on empowering employees with confidence to trust their instincts. Highlight the importance of “See Something, Say Something” and most importantly, tell the employee who they should say something to. The reality is that active threat training is a leadership issue. Arming your employees with common sense survival strategies for an active threat incident is in keeping with the fundamental leadership principle of “taking care of your people.”
What are some of the steps hotel staff should take during an active threat situation to keep themselves, staff, and guests safe?
Active threat incidents happen very quickly and are almost always over before law enforcement arrives. Therefore, an adequate active threat training program will give your employees the confidence to take decisive action at the first sign of trouble. The second key is clear communication with coworkers and guest so they can move to safety quickly. Thirdly, rapid notification of law enforcement resources is essential to establishing order. Lastly, adequate strategies on how to stay safe until law enforcement arrives are critical for employee and guest safety.
What responsibilities do staff have when it comes to rescuing someone who is trapped or injured in an emergency situation?
Personal safety is a personal choice and we cannot demand or expect employees to place themselves in danger to initiate a rescue. The most effective way to assist in the rescue of coworkers or guest is to give actionable information to responding law enforcement resources. This can be achieved through technology solutions such as access to interior cameras and a sound communication strategy to account for employees/guests and their locations inside the crisis site.
What do employees get out of active threat situation training?
Always remember that knowledge increases confidence, confidence increases decisiveness, and it’s decisive action during a critical incident that saves lives. When your organization facilitates active threat training, what you’re actually accomplishing is giving your employees the “Gift of Safety.” The strategies shared with your employees to be used at work during an active threat are the same strategies they should use to be safe at their children’s school, a hospital, amusement park, or even when traveling abroad.