The past two weeks have shown that no workplace is safe from horrific workplace violence.

Some workplaces know they are targets. Planned Parenthood, churches, government buildings, banks, temples and mosques all need to design their workplaces with an eye toward thwarting an attack using the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). The massacre in San Bernardino has revealed that even the most innocent of locales can come under massive deadly attack.

The San Bernardino bloodbath is shocking because it is apparently a hybrid incident of international terrorism as well as an attack by one coworker against his former colleagues.

Giving into mindless fear doesn’t do anyone any good. The targeted workplaces mentioned above have many workplace safety lessons for your business.

“Workplaces that survive such attacks while minimizing casualties have some very important practices that every workplace should institute,” says Richard H. Price Principal, Senior Analyst, CPTED CPD with Soteria Group, Safety by Design, who served 21 years as an FBI Special Agent.

“When there’s an active shooter, you need a plan. Your best plan is to escape. Know your exits. If you can’t escape, have safe areas that a perpetrator can’t get to,” says Price. “Communication links to the outside are most important. Every office should have a hard line telephone and a cell phone with the local police number pre-programmed in. Depending on which state you’re in, cell phones are programmed to connect you to highway patrol when you dial 911, although what you want and need is your local police. When the cavalry is responding to help you, having communication with responders is crucial.”

“Organizations who know that they are under threat make personal safety a priority for everyone on site. There is an urgent need to keep people safe, and it is built into the very design of their facilities,” says Arthur R. Tatum, Director of Design for FBT Architects and Principal of Soteria’s Environmental Design Division. “More so than any other workplace, aside from perhaps banks, these workplaces understand the need to incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Principles (CPTED).”

The Soteria Group monitors threats to workplaces across the country. In addition to online college campus violence threats, Soteria Group has noticed an increase in threats to churches, temples and mosques. The majority of workplace violence events are preceded by such obvious threats. The violence seems to strike out of the blue and only after the fact do authorities connect the dots that make the threats retroactively clear.

“You can’t expect a threat warning. Every workplace is one disgruntled employee or ex-boyfriend away from such violence,” says Paul Feist, Principal, Senior Analyst and CPTED CPD with the Soteria Group, who has 25 years of experience in law enforcement. “This massacre is a wake-up call for America. You have to treat your workplace as if you’ve already received a warning.”

Consider your workplace. What would have happened if last week’s attack happened there?

The Soteria Group can help you minimize the risks and impact of such an attack. Soteria Group’s workplace violence prevention and safety trainings are the gold standard:

Active Shooter Response Training

Building An Emergency Operation Plan


Crisis Management Team (CMT) Formation and Function Training

Emergency Management Training

National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command Systems (ICS) Training

Target Hardening/CPTED

Call the Soteria Group (505-263-7059) to arrange a workplace risk and response training session for your team.

#workplacesafety #activeshooter #workplaceviolence #SanBernardinoShooting