In grade school,  teachers taught us to “Duck, Cover and Hold,” in response to the common earthquakes we experienced in California. For children in the midwest, assembling in hallways, basements and getting low to the ground and away from windows during tornados is essential. For today’s adult workers, I ran across a workplace tips newsletter that offering this sobering advice about a disturbing new trend: violence in the workplace. Unfortunately it’s becoming a common occurrence for U.S. businesses to experience a violent incident. When it does happen, employees must be prepared to immediately “Run, Hide or Fight.” An organization must also prepare for emergency communications and have a plan in place. For public relations professionals, it’s essential to have a plan in order to respond quickly and appropriately to employees and various external publics–particularly the news media. Many proactive organizations prepare for crisis situations with written plans and practice drills. Nowadays, crisis plans must include preparation and response to employee violence.

Run Hide and Fight


36 thoughts on “Run, Hide and Fight

  1. To think that the world has gotten so messed up where we aren’t just training to do our jobs in the work place better, but to train in case of something violent in the work place. By having a safety plan implemented in case of a potential crisis like that can be the difference in saving your own life, and potentially others. I think this blog relates to PR, where if you have a plan in case of potential crisis’ and you implement it when the crisis does occur, it could save your company and its reputation, if handled correctly.But being prepared, is never a bad thing.

    1. I agree that having a plan for different incidents can make you look prepared and if an incident does actually occur it could save someones life. The company or institution can at least say that they took time to do training to try to prevent an incident. Are work places more violent than before? I do not really think so.

      1. I think work place violence is on the rise. It doesn’t have to be something extremely intense all over the news, but it doesn’t mean its still not happening. Some small violence may go under the radar between co-workers and bosses that just go unreported. Just because its not necessarily always out in the open.

    2. I agree with Renee here, it is sad how our world is shaping up to be so violent. I agree, it almost seems that every department in every company has to have a potential crisis plan today. I think in anything in life it is valuable to have a potential crisis plan. Whether you are writing a paper for class or pitching an idea at work to your boss–always be prepared for something going wrong, and how you would handle this. The more prepared we are in life, the more successful we can be. Life isn’t perfect, and there will always be forms of crisis that we all will face at one time or another.

    3. Training in most case is well worth the monetary and time value put into it. Obviously if something does happen you are better off with the training to avoid situations but also just giving people the security is an important move as well.

  2. I agree that having a plan for different incidents can make you look prepared and if an incident does actually occur it could save someones life. The company or institution can at least say that they took time to do training to try to prevent an incident. Are work places more violent than before? I do not really think so.

  3. It’s sad to think that a place of work can also be a violent . There seems to be a growing trend of more adults showing violent aggression in public places. And like in previous comments, prevention is the key. I also enjoy how “sobering advice” is the highlighted link, as to suggest that other advice may make you feel drunk.

  4. In our diary life, incidents like terrorist, bomb threats, fires, and natural disasters, especially employee violence, happen more frequent than any point in the past. However, it is rare to hear companies have crisis plan to deal with those incidents. It seems to me organizations don’t want to bother to do that, and oftentimes when it is included, not much beyond “lock the doors” and “call the police” is referenced. Actually, every organization should have a special crisis response plan that is focused on workplace violence. This is recommended because workplace violence, unlike any other hazards or disasters, involves a thinking, mobile, and dangerous human being. Consequently, it must be dealt with in a manner that is specifically designed to address workplace violence so as to avoid errors that could add to the mayhem associated with these incidents and actually cause additional employees to be in harm’s way.

  5. I totally agree that it is best for an organization to prepare for emergency communications and have a plan in place, especially for the employee violence incident. In my opinion, employee is “the wealth” of a company. Workplace violence is a growing concern for both employers and employees in the world. Firstly, employers must to secure the workplace. For example, alarm systems are very necessary and important. Secondly, organizations also need to provide safety education for employees so that they know what conduct is acceptable and not, and how to protect themselves. In addition, in the crisis plans which are written by public relations professionals, it’s really essential to have a specific plan and strategies in order to respond quickly and appropriately to all the publics. Certainly, here, I would like mainly to focus the employees. Employees belong to the internal publics of the organization. In short, strong employee relations equal solid organizations.

    1. I agree that the company has the responsibility to prevent the violence issues in the workplace such as alarm of fire system, security of access entry in the workplace, and providing safety education training for employees. Those are training may minimize the injury because when the violent is happened, they know how to protect themselves and help each other.

  6. We recently had an emergency preparedness meeting at work. It was an hour long and included what to do in a number of different disaster situations. The Run, Hide, Fight video was shown for an example of what to do in the event of violence at work:

    It is sad, but important to be prepared. I haven’t seen the data, but I am not convinced that we are getting more violent as a society, only more connected. Thanks to social media and the internet, across the world now feels like our own backyard. Workplace violence isn’t new, it may just feel new, especially in light of all the recent school shootings.

    Believe it or not, I’d argue that we might be less violent on the whole. Does anyone here remember where the term “going postal” came from? What if we go back even further? Let us not forget our nation’s ties with slavery. For some, the “workplace” was always a very dangerous, violent place.

    1. Finally someone who realizes that these incidents aren’t necessarily on the rise, the media simply sensationalizes every single one bringing them to our attention. Crime in the United States has been on a steady decline for years. This doesn’t mean however I don’t think we should be prepared for violence though, I think it is everyone’s personal responsibility to have a plan of action in place to combat any number of threats that may arise.

  7. My current job is located on the waterfront in Portland and there is often a shady element that is around. I wish that my employer had a clearer plan in place in case of violence. I am not sure a single employer I have had ever had a concrete plan in case of workplace violence that they communicated to their employees. Makes me think there is a new marketing opportunity here…

    1. You know that moment following a tragic event where the news media jumps into: “How did we let this happen? Who or what is responsible?” That moment where we remove some of the responsibility from the perpetrator of violence and go down the list of possible contributors to reassign culpability for the tragedy?

      My question to you Clay, if you get this message, is: if something violent happened at your workplace, would you feel as though your employer failed its employees? If there was a video like this shown (I posted a link above), would that be enough?

  8. When I worked at the Chinese Garden, a public tourist sightseeing place in downtown Portland, all employee were trained to different type of crisis such as earthquake, fire, missing child, and injured visitor and/or employee. However, it never occur to the organization to train their staff for employee violence.
    It is indeed sad to see the increasing occurrence for the violent incident at work place, and it is as important to train employees to deal with such incident as other type of crisis.
    Public relation professionals always need to respond to situation quick and appropriately, especially, an employee violent incident is a delicate case since it directly tide to how the company handle their relationship with its employees. How PR professionals handle the situation would have strong impact with the company’s reputation and image.

  9. Though I have never experienced any violence at any job, I can see how it can affect the company’s image. Obviously, violence isn’t positively looked upon by the public, which makes it a huge PR problem if it occurs. I feel like one of the best ways to avoid violence is by creating a culture within a company that will value its employees. There is greater potential for violence where the company’s culture is all twisted. The company has to set a good example if it wants its employees to be good representatives within the company and avoid violence. I’m not saying this will prevent violence completely because a company cannot control an individuals actions, but a company can strive to act in a positive way where violence can potentially be decreased.

  10. I haven’t heard about the “Run. Hide Fight.” but I am also familiar with the duck,cover and hold. I learned in one of my other classes about having crisis plan for continuing operations and accessing data in case the employees can’t get into the building or a natural disaster makes it impossible to continue operations. Part of that plan included an employees facing communications plan. I think the major thing that stuck in my mind was having a go-to person on each floor that is designated as a sort of leader that helps keep the employees of the floor together.

  11. It is a shame that the world has become such a place where we cannot feel safe anymore, anywhere. But it is the reality and since it is beyond our control to change that, we can however prepare for it. The same is true for a crisis communication plan for public relations professionals of any company. As time plays an important factor when responding to a major crisis, having a crisis committee ready to jump as soon as a crisis occurs can be crucial to the future fate of the company.

  12. It’s the world we live in in 2014, it (sadly) requires businesses to have practices in place for their employees to deal with EVERY situation. This could be from a form of harassment, to a terrorist attack. It is as important for the PR team of the company to be aware of all these procedures and have their own action plan in place should any of the scenarios arise. Through the proactive planning when a crisis isn’t happening, it gives the company and PR team a better chance of managing an issue successfully.

  13. I agree that the company has a plan to prepare for emergency. if emergency actually occur it could be helpful. I think if the company doesn’t prepare for it public or people could accuse the company after incident occurred. I’m sad that it can be violence. preparation can help someone life in emergency.

  14. It’s a shame to see that there is a need to implement trainings like these in the work place, however being cautious is always a good thing for the company….it also helps the PR for always being ready to handle such incidents. This could potentially save lives and thus is of the uttermost importance.

    1. I agree! It’s terrible that violence has become a concern in the workplace as well as schools these days! But being aware and prepared for potential dangers that could arise is very important and could definitely save lives.

  15. I agree with all of that and it is unfortunate that in todays world people are resorting to violence for different reasons. I wouldn’t say that this is just aimed towards organizations because really at any point in our everyday life someone could react poorly and use violence on any surrounding area, people or places. Although we are lucky to live in the US where there isn’t a war zone surrounding our neighborhood, we still need to be cautious of our surroundings and ensuring we treat everyone with kindness and respect. I believe that if people would spend more time in their day interacting with their peers and saying high to the person who always sits alone for lunch, we would have a lot less unhappy people in the world. Sometimes all it takes is you being nice to everyone you meet, you could make someone’s day or even save a life just by being nice. I think people have lost sight of what is important and spend too much time looking into their phones when they should be focusing on meeting new people and spending time not only making themselves happy but other people too.

    1. The idea of human connection that you bring up at the end of this is extremely important I feel. Not enough people take this into account in todays world. While something might look good on paper on on screen that does not necessarily mean it is the most fulfilling option to choose from.

  16. It is a sad reality, but we live in a violent world. Even as I am writing this there are reports of a shooting at Seattle Pacific University happening right now. The strange part is that it is beginning to feel normal. Violence should never feel normal. The fact that workplaces are having to account for violence that may occur is really disturbing.

    1. It’s interesting how desensitized our society is now to violence and blatant acts of hate and cruelty. We hear reports on a daily basis about police shootings, gang related violence, drug related violence, violence in the Middle East, violence violence violence. The word is just like any other, when it’s overused we start to disassociate how serious the word is with the word (and act) itself. It’s sad that workplaces need to cover their asses from a very real threat of physical violence in today’s day and age, but it is also necessary now.

  17. Crisis plan are a definite must, not only for businesses but for groups in general. Take families for example, it is wise for them to have a plan for what to do in case of an emergency such as a house fire. Just recently there was a boil notice on Portland’s water which apparently had traces of E.Coli in it. Those that worked retail that day knows a little bit of what a crisis looks like. People were scrambling for all the ice and water in the whole building and in my case we sold out of both in less than an hour. Luckily we had a crisis plan in place to deal with the long lines and volatile customers.In terms of workplace violence I have yet to be witness to that, but nevertheless that type of conduct is appalling. Its crazy to think that you might have to fight someone when you go into work tomorrow.

  18. This is a surprising article but with recent school shootings and such, I guess violence has become somewhat normalized. It’s worth noting that this article came up in a specialty publication and wasn’t in a regular paper or magazine, because we are all so used to hearing about situations more violent and headline grabbing.

  19. It is necessary to make plans for different potential crisis situations a company may face. An example of a must have crisis plan can be recognized in the company of Henningsen Cold Storage (family business I worked for). It uses Ammonia for freezer refrigeration, and if some of it is released into the air from cracks in the pipes, then it can kill people. Henningsen has safety measures planned in the employee handbook and runs routine drills to prepare for a potential crisis. One time on the job, I actually was in the area of a broken ammonia pipe and felt the effects of it slightly before I evacuated the area. It can happen at any time, so companies like these have plans for crisis situations so they do not get out of hand.

  20. I agree that being prepared for any potential crisis is always a good idea. Especially when it comes to employee safety. Keeping employees safe should be a company’s top priority in my opinion. In order to do so there should be some bureaucratic procedure on how employees and managers should handle potentially harmful situations. The public relations work that comes afterwards will be an easier task if the company took the right measures to protect employees in the first place.

  21. Depending on the company you work for, as an employee, you really should do research and familiarize yourself with your companies reputation especially in regards to company protests. A friend of mine was working at a Safeway during an employee strike and faced bullying by picketers to the point of physical threat, as a young kid trying to make money, the management at safeway had not warned him of the issues he might encounter outside of the workplace for being a “scab”, but this is just another situation that needs to be addressed by the companies human resources sector and the public relation’s reps.

  22. It seems like violence has always been a reoccurring thing year after year involved with all aspects of life. The only things that have changed in regards to violence are the people involved with the incidents and the magnitude of the situation. Negative externalities within public and business realms happen all the time. The violent behavior has become a social norm today where people actually enjoy watching real life fights and such on youtube or other social media type platforms. It think it is important for people to take these situations more seriously so we can help promote to the younger generations how important it is to get along with everyone regardless of different views.

  23. Wow. As somebody who’s completely self-employed, I can’t even imagine how difficult of a job it must be to manage violence in the workplace— either before or after the event.

    I feel like there’s a delicate balance of politics to consider when alerting your employees of safety protocol in case of emergency. You, of course, want your employees to be and feel safe at work, so providing a plan is necessary. But you also don’t want to preemptively frighten them.

    It takes a very thoughtful approach to be able to find that balance. It takes a care for employees. It takes sensitivity. And it takes work.

  24. That is just a crazy thought to think that we need to have things in place in the case that their in workplace violence. While I was in elementary school we had earth quake drills in case it would ever happen, also in the later years we had lock down drills. We had two practice the lock down when they’re was a shooter in a close by neighborhood. I think it is important to have protocols in place and to practice them in the workplace in case the unthinkable actually happened in the workplace.

  25. It is troubling to realize that people are often not in control of their emotions, and you have to be prepared for that every time you are in public. It isnt something new, as past wars have often caused schools and places of work to set up drills at school or in the workplace. I think more businesses should provide counseling services as a preventative measure. A lot of outbursts can be avoided by giving someone an outlet, rather than waiting for their anger or frustration to boil over. Simple things like counseling and periodic check-ins can prevent employee deaths or injury from violence.

  26. I was really surprised reading that article, about the training about tornados or earthquake in school and also about violence at work. I have never heard of anything like that in France! Though it doesn’t reflect a good work atmosphere and does not really give me more desire to work here.

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