Connect, Plan, Train, Report

Years ago, I owned a large-ish mental health agency here in Maine, with offices in 10 counties. Some of those offices were in buildings we owned; some were leased.

Because we were sprawled across a wide area, and had over 200 employees, many of whom were on the road constantly, oftentimes visiting clients in their homes – and because sometimes we could be the target of extremely upset individuals – it was critical that we have a well-designed emergency plan in place.

That plan – which covered both the agency as a whole, but also had components specific to each individual office and job type – saved us untold nightmares on several occasions. (The one time that it could have been devastating was when a staff member, out of loyalty to another staff member who was rapidly escalating into a full-blown psychiatric crisis, decided he could handle the situation without telling anyone else what was happening. Luckily, we found out in time, and everyone at risk – including the person in crisis – was enveloped in our “safety net”.)

The Federal Government’s “Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency” (CISA) suggests all organizations develop a security plan, using the Connect, Plan, Train, Report model. It’s a good one, and provides an outline within which you can create your own plan for addressing threats from within and outside of your organization, whether it’s a disgruntled former employee or a terrorist attack.

I’ve been in the work world for more than 45 years, and have dealt with situations I never thought I’d have to face, including: a staff member’s abusive husband coming on-site and threatening her, a psychotic client showing up in my office with a handgun, an employee’s spouse threatening to sue the company because the spouse was having an affair with another employee, a squatter somehow living in the crawl space between floors, a murder-suicide (I worked at that company, but was not directly involved), and of course, the terrible days of 9/11.

It only takes a minute for a normal day to turn into chaos – or worse – if you don’t have the policies and procedures in place to handle a tough situation.

If your organization needs or wants a good quality safety plan, created by someone who’s both been there, and who needed and implemented that plan on several occasions, Linda a call at 207.740.2247.

Peace of mind is a wonderful thing. Being an ostrich isn’t such a good idea.

Categories: Business Practices

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