I recently read there are three stages of a Crisis: Prevention, Response, and Aftermath. For this article, a crisis is defined as a violent criminal act committed in a public place. In summary, the article talked about how to plan to prevent a crisis, offered suggestions on how to respond in the moment of the crisis, and then what actions to take after the immediate crisis has passed. While the article didn’t specifically mention two way radios, I believe it should have. Here’s why.
Billions of dollars are spent yearly by businesses and institutions to help prevent a crisis happening. As the old saying goes, “not on my watch,” security personnel install cameras, metal detectors, x-ray machines, and a host of other tools to watch and search those who are coming and going. The problem here is these types of devices are only effective at “keeping the honest, honest.” Two way radios allow for the immediate notification of key personnel when a situation is seen developing. Two way radios are the only tool available offering immediate, instant communication at the touch of a button.
If a gunman enters a building with the intent of shooting, it is a safe assumption the guy at the x-ray machine will be the first victim. The key to protecting the most people when a crisis is developing is to immediately communicate the threat and work to minimize it. The recent shooting at fort hood is a prime example of this. Military personnel were immediately locked down to keep them safe and security personnel swarmed the shooting site. Lives were saved as a result. The shootings at Virginia Tech several years ago showed weakness among the school and law enforcement officials because they didn’t communicate and more lives were lost as a result. Two way radios offer key personnel the ability to communicate during the crisis and make decisions about how best to respond. Locking down buildings and rooms immediately, getting security personnel to the right spot, and eliminating confusion among those charged with leading during a crisis is key to minimizing the situation.
The aftermath of a crisis provides its own set of challenges. Many times you’ve got emergency services personnel, media, law enforcement, and concerned family/friends to deal with. Providing the right, coordinated response reduces panic, misinformation, and further chaos. Your leadership team needs to communicate instantly, have the ability to coordinate on the fly, and huddle up to make immediate decisions. Two way radios allow the team to fan out across the facility or campus while still maintaining instant communication.
Unfortunately, incidents affect all types of businesses and institutions. In the 30 days preceding this article, there have been shootings at a Publix grocery store in Florida, a Walmart in Texas, a roller skating rink in California, a school in Colorado, the Pentagon, and these are just stories which made the national news. Businesses and institutions must have a plan in place to protect their employees and their customers and two way radios should be an element of said plan.