After today's elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., two nationally recognized experts on campus and workplace violence are offering advice on emergency plans and situational awareness. 

Bo Mitchell, president of 911 Consulting, tells Security magazine:

"Tragedies like this always hit every one of us as just unbelievable. The right response is to understand this has all happened before--and it will all happen again.

So, as tragic and shocking as the incident is, each campus and each company should take the time to:

  1. Review their emergency plans.
  2. Make sure everyone is currently trained.

Felix P. Nater of Security Management Consultants says that credible workplace violence prevention programs are to be reviewed as well. "They include multiple intervention strategies and tactics of which properly conducted training represents a key component of the plan," he says. "The topic of Situational Awareness in workplace violence prevention can not be over emphasized in assessing and evaluating potential threatening and at risk situations. It is an important part of workplace violence prevention training. If it is not discussed don't waste your time," he says.

Felix notes that while "Warning Signs and Risk Factors are key and relative in identifying at risk employees and situations in the workplace in helping identify early warning signs, the problem is that the observations and information is often guarded and protected under privacy rules and regulations. Having knowledge of Warning Signs will not help employees recognize an active shooter or hostile intruder on the day he/she wants to exact their vengeance.  Warning Signs will not provide any immediate clues on the day of the violence if employees are not familiar with the value of recognizing suspicious behavior and conduct before the shooting starts. The value of Situational Awareness is that it will be embed in quality workplace violence prevention training.  Such designed training should enable employees to connect the dots in a variety of different situations. Such training should instruct employees on what to look for, how to respond and when to report the concerned behavior.  In other words, if it looks strange, suspicious or out of place that is Situational Awareness."