I could provide you with a list of simple safety tips in the hopes that it will be helpful to you, or maybe I could even give you scary statistics demonstrating why most of you reading this are not at all prepared to deal with a life-threatening situation. I think instead though, I will say that over this upcoming series of blog posts, I hope to change your thinking and views on how you see personal safety and the safety of those around you.
How often do you think about your physical safety or what it means to be “safe”? How prepared are you to deal with a life-threatening situation that might arise even as you’re reading this? I would venture to say that one’s answer to this question will be greatly informed by two things- your own life experiences and your overall sense of security. For some, it means they rarely think about safety at all. For others, their activities, environment, or circumstances dictate that safety is a constant concern. In our work at RedHawk, we encounter both sides of this spectrum. More often than not, and especially in risk-related cases, we are dealing with people that have been thrust into a threatening situation they were neither expecting nor prepared for. For some context, I will give you an example.
In June of 2015, I received a call from a client explaining that the previous Friday there was an altercation at their manufacturing facility. During the altercation, an employee made threats of physical harm against a co-worker- for confidentiality purposes, we will call the co-worker “Jim.” This was not the first time the employee had been in an altercation, and he had previously made other employees uncomfortable with comments that could be interpreted as threatening. The employee was told not to come into work while the situation was being investigated by HR. Over that weekend, Jim’s tires were slashed in front of his home. There was no evidence that the employee in question was the person who slashed the tires, but tensions were high, and Jim was very concerned for his safety and the safety of his family. He was afraid that if this employee were to be terminated that he would be targeted even more.
As part of mitigating this situation, we provided physical security at Jim’s residence during the investigation and termination process. We also provided Jim and his family with a security assessment of their residence. We went over several steps that they should take to be more security conscious and to improve their overall situational awareness in this situation but also in general. Through this experience, Jim was forced to look at his personal safety and the safety of his family from a very different perspective than he previously had considered. Upon concluding our time with Jim, he contacted me to ask what other steps he should take to continue to ensure his family’s safety. Should he get a gun in the home? Should he enroll his family in self-defense classes?
What I told Jim is also the single most important piece of information in this article that I hope you will take with you as well. I told Jim that the best and most all-encompassing thing he could do both for himself and for his family would be to focus on changing his mindset about safety and security. A sense of safety and security is more about a pivot from the idea of what tools you can get, or weapons you can use to the idea of what behaviors you can change and habits you can create. We’re talking about Jim protecting his family and his home, but this also applies to you, your colleagues, and your business. We talked to Jim about changes that, if consistently practiced,would become habits to greatly increase his security mindset. We also worked with Jim on strategies to introduce these behaviors to his kids in a way that would engage them and encourage their practice. We focused our work with Jim and his family in three areas:
These three things can easily be applied to you, your family, home, workplace, business, and assets, as well.
Fast forward to 2019… One of Jim’s daughters is now 17 years old. While leaving work, she notices someone across the street that appears out of place to her. She asks a coworker to walk to her car with her and begins to drive home. She immediately notices that someone seems to be following her. She proceeds to contact her parents and then the police, as she reroutes herself toward the police station, the car still following. As she continues to be on the phone with the police, a traffic stop was performed on the vehicle. It was found that the driver of the suspicious vehicle was wanted on aggravated criminal sexual assault and kidnapping charges. Jim’s daughter attributed her observing and awareness to the things her dad taught her over the last several years.
Small and manageable steps can lead to big and lasting changes. It takes one seed of knowledge to plant something that has the potential to become a lifelong skill. Over the next blog posts, I hope to show you how simple changes can significantly increase your ability to identify and mitigate potential risks to your personal safety.
For over two decades, Director Kai M. Joy and his team have been dedicated to applying focused solutions to each client’s unique needs. Though our mission is to provide our clients with proactive strategies, we are often called upon to respond to impending emergency situations and are readily equipped to do so. With offices in Chicago, Tampa and a national network of strategic partners, RedHawk focuses in five service areas: Risk Management, Investigations, Protection, Security, and Training.
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