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Crisis Management. Intervention and Response . Safety Goal.

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Crisis management

Crisis Management

Intervention and Response

Safety goal
Safety Goal

  • Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc. strives to minimize the potential of human injury and to ensure a safe workplace to the best of our ability. ACT staff, volunteers, clients and visitors are reminded to utilize safety precautions and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

Basic procedure protocol
Basic Procedure Protocol

  • Locate all exits throughout the building.

  • Locate all Fire Extinguishers, detectors and emergency alarms throughout the building.

  • A cell phone shall be available for each group site.

  • Locate a ground land-line phone in the building if available.

  • Bring or locate a first aid kit with instruction booklet.

  • Review all safety procedures with volunteers and program participants at the beginning of each group session.

  • Staff and/or volunteers shall secure and exit the building (group site) together.

  • Staff and/or volunteers shall enter the building (group site) together.

  • The doors shall remain locked prior, during and after group.

  • If Walkie-Talkies or cell phones are utilized, all Walkie-Talkies shall be on the same frequency.

  • If staff and/or volunteers are responsible for collecting monies, there shall be two persons present with the monies and the monies shall be placed in a locked box. It is recommended that payments be made in money orders and cashier checks.

  • During the group session, staff and/or volunteers shall have a clear view of the door.

Parking lot safety
Parking Lot Safety

  • Be observant and cautious at all times when entering and exiting the premises.

  • If someone follows you in the parking lot without stopping, you are to park your car and assess the situation. If it is another staff member or a known individual then you may determine that it is safe to leave your car and enter the building. If you do not know the person you may want to stay in your car until you can determine if they are authorized to be on premises. If they are not allowed in the building then you can assume that they are not authorized and you may not want to exit your vehicle.

  • If you perceive a threat in the parking lot then you may want to leave (if it is safe to do so) and call the hotline and/or administrative office to alert staff and/or to find out additional information about the situation.

Parking lot safety1
Parking Lot Safety

  • Always look at the front door of the building to see if there is a yellow, red or blue colored paper posted. If you see the colored paper, do not enter the parking lot. If you are already in the parking lot and see the colored paper leave the parking lot if it is safe to do so. Contact the hotline if you see the colored paper to determine the reasons for the colored paper (drill, actual intruder, etc.).

    • Yellow – Caution

    • Red – Do not stop

    • Blue – Serious Threat – Do not Stop

    • Green – All Clear

  • Individuals are granted access through the door by shelter staff or the receptionist. They must be authorized to be let in the parking lot.

Parking lot safety2
Parking Lot Safety

  • Authorized residents, staff and volunteers should be let into the walk-up door immediately if they are being threatened by someone outside the door. Staff that notice entrance into the parking lot should IMMEDIATELY call the hotline with their cell phone and tell the building “we have an unidentified individual on the grounds and no one is to leave the building until they are given the all clear”. There is no need to call an Intruder alert but all staff should be prepared to react to an Intruder announcement and the police should be alerted to ask the person to leave. Once the threat is gone and the parking lot is safe call the hotline to give the all clear.

  • If someone is at the front door when you are entering and you do not know if they have permission to come inside do not come in and do not let them in. You may want to return to your car if you feel the situation is not safe.

Parking lot safety3
Parking Lot Safety

  • Your safety is paramount. If you feel threatened or in danger take steps necessary to be safe, notify the police (if warranted) and the appropriate ACT personnel.


  • Emergency Code Words:

    • Code words are only used via walkie-talkies, cell phones or door speakers among staff and volunteers when 911 must be called immediately.

      • Perpetrator: Glenda’s Here

      • Program Participant behavioral: Glenda’s Upset

    • In the case of perpetrator presence that is not yet dangerous, staff will use their cell phone to request the presence of a back up staff person to approach and be aware of the possible need to contact 911.

    • Similarly, when a program participant is presenting escalating or threatening behavior, staff will use their cell phone to request the presence of a back up staff person to approach and be aware of the possible need to call 911.


  • In case of an intruder:

    • Position yourself near a door if a program participant seems threatening to you.

    • Remain calm, time is on your side.

    • Be observant.

    • Offer to listen.

    • Don’t judge or argue with perception of the intruder.

    • Treat each concern as if it is important and valid.

    • If a threatening program participant comes towards you, leave the room and call 911.


  • If you can’t exit the room:

    • Keep gestures and body language open and non-threatening.

    • Use a low, soft, slow voice when you’re speaking.

    • Ask or tell the person before you make any moves.

    • Ask the intruder to suggest a solution.

    • Wait patiently for help to arrive.

Intruder plan
Intruder Plan

  • Alternate Exits:

    • If a perpetrator enters the building a Glenda’s Here warning will be issued via intercom or cell phone to all staff. Call 911.

    • The location of the perpetrator and demeanor/speed of movement through building will be discussed over cell phones by referring to the perpetrator as “Glenda”, if safe to do so.

      • This may allow program participants, children, and staff to silently exit the building, if safe to do so.

  • Lock Down Procedures:

    • If staff is unsure of the safety risks per Exiting the building during a “Glenda Alert”:

      • Staff members will turn out their room lights and order silence from the other individuals in their area.

    • If a perpetrator is known to be near a particular room, staff may temporarily turn off their cell phone or adjust the volume so as not to call attention to themselves.

      • If the perpetrator leaves that area, they would then turn their cell phone back on and warn others of the perpetrator’s direction of movement.

Safe choices location safety
Safe Choices/Location Safety

  • General safety procedures in this section must be followed, in addition to the ones listed previously.

  • If you have a personal cell phone keep it with you at all times.

  • Locate land-line phone in the room. In case of emergency dial extension 209 or 200for assistance.

  • Request security to unlock emergency exit door before session begins.

  • In case of emergency, usher program participants through emergency door, lock behind you and exit through back stairs.

  • When exiting building during an emergency, remember to bring the Security Sign in sheet with you to ensure that all program participants are accounted for.

Intruder at the door with a hostage
Intruder at the door, with a Hostage

  • In the event that an intruder is at the door or in parking lot with a hostage (staff or program participant) the individual being held hostage should say, “This is your name and I am here to see Pat Eakes.” Do not identify yourself as staff. (Based on the assessment of the threat, staff may let themselves and the intruder into the building.) At this time, staff on duty should dial the intercom and say, “There’s a visitor for Pat Eakes at the door.” The silent alarm and Paper Codes should then be activated, if you are able to. Be sure to grab the silent alarm necklaces and/or activate your silent alarm under the desk. One is located under the receptionist desk.

Intruder at the door with a hostage1
Intruder at the door, with a Hostage

  • At this time, the receptionist, or staff person speaking with the hostage, would activate the silent alarm and calmly take any other individuals located in the lobby and go to the hotline room. The door should then be locked. The receptionist or staff member is not responsible for any individuals that refuse to clear the area.

Intruder at the door with a hostage2
Intruder at the door, with a Hostage

  • During a crisis involving a threat by an intruder, the following guidelines should be remembered:

    • Say, and do, anything necessary to keep yourself safe.

    • If the hostages do not have the means to let themselves in the building, the staff on the inside of the building has no obligation to allow entrance.

    • Never identify individuals by name or position.

Hostage survival
Hostage Survival

  • Everyone is a potential hostage. Although there are no guarantees that law enforcement can give to those who become victims of a hostage situation that the event will be successfully concluded, there are suggestions which can be offered concerning actions, demeanor, and thought processes that have been researched and designated to increase your chances of survival.

Hostage survival1
Hostage Survival


    • Any significant action on your part may cause the hostage taker to react in a violent manner. Try to remain calm and accept what has taken place. Prepare yourself, physically and mentally for an eventual rescue. Time is on your side. Do not attempt to negotiate with the hostage takers. REMEMBER, “CONTAIN AND NEGOTIATE” is the general course of action in the law enforcement community. They will negotiate for you.

Hostage survival2
Hostage Survival


    •  Your actions during the initial phase of hostage situations may very well be the reason why you are either dead or alive at the conclusion of the incident. Initially, the hostage taker is experiencing a "fight or flight" state of mind and any hesitation on the part of the hostage to follow his instructions may result in a reaction harmful to the hostage(s). Do not attempt to threaten the abductor because of the action that has been taken against you. Once the initial confrontation has subsided, the hostage taker will become more aware of his own emotions and the position he is in. After a period of time, the phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome, or transference or survival identification, can start to develop and under that influence the hostage taker is less likely to harm the hostage. This is natural and has kept many hostages free from harm or death.

Hostage survival3
Hostage Survival


    •  The hostage taker will be in an emotionally heightened state and may become upset by your conversation. If there are other hostages, do not whisper or talk among yourselves and do not stop talking when the hostage takers look at you. Both the aforementioned could be interpreted by the hostage taker(s) that you are being deceptive, or plotting against them.

    •  If and when conversation begins, try not to be hostile, but don't be overly friendly or phony. Be aware of the words you choose to utilize in conveying your thoughts. Talk slowly and concisely. Do not argue. Be a "yes" person. Do not engage in argumentative subjects and do not talk about sex. Your words may become the power of suggestion to cause bodily harm. Think before you talk.

Hostage survival4
Hostage Survival


    • If the hostage taker(s) are constantly referring to you as anything of a non-humanistic quality (e.g., pig, dog, garbage, etc.), you should realize that he is attempting to dehumanize you. Whenever it is possible, you should reinforce your position as a human being. Tell him that you have a family (wife, kids, mother, father) and these people are worried about you. When the opportunity presents itself, attempt to find a nonviolent subject of equal interest to discuss. DO NOT ARGUE. This will help to humanize the situation between you and your hostage takers.

Hostage survival5
Hostage Survival


    •  Do not turn your back on your hostage takers. Attempt to get as much rest as you can as soon as the initial confrontation has calmed down. It will be important for you to reserve as much strength as you can in the event you are released and have to run to safety or you can escape or to endure a long period of captivity. If you rest while the hostage taker(s) is active, you may be awake when he needs sleep and this may offer an opportunity to escape.

Hostage survival6
Hostage Survival


    •  The hostage taker(s) have a tendency to view suggestions as commands. This may add to the confusion and increase the possibility of violent actions being carried out against the hostages.

    • The hostage taker(s) may use your suggestions and if it fails, he may think you planned it that way and are trying to work against him. This may be cause for a negative transference, looking at you as the enemy rather than a victim of circumstance.

Hostage survival7
Hostage Survival


    •  If you or any other hostage needs medical treatment, advise the hostage taker(s). The hostage taker(s) does not want you to die. Do not pester him about it, just advise. Chances are that you will be treated. However, do not feign illness hoping to be released. If you are found to be lying, you may cause a violent reaction by your hostage takers.

Hostage survival8
Hostage Survival


    •  No matter what your position or authority before becoming a hostage, you must realize that all of this has been forfeited. You are no longer in control of anything. The hostage taker(s) is in control and he is the boss. If you are a person who would normally be in a command/decision making position in government or law enforcement, resolve yourself to the fact that you are no longer in that role. You are a hostage. Assume a submissive, low-key demeanor.

Hostage survival9
Hostage Survival


    •  Even though it may seem as though law enforcement is not doing anything to end your ordeal, you can assure yourself that they are engaged in a complete hostage recovery program because they will be. Every action and plan will be implemented to the safety of your life and the lives of all those involved. Be prepared to wait. Be patient.

Hostage survival10
Hostage Survival


    •  The only attempt to escape should be made when you are 100% sure that you will be successful. And even then, THINK IT OVER. If you are caught, your hostage takers may use physical violence to teach you or the other hostages a lesson.


    • If a rescue is taking place or shooting starts, hit the floor and stay down. Keep your hands on your head and don’t move. If you are contacted by police, be prepared to be frisked, do not make any quick moves and keep your hands open and in full view. If you are given verbal instructions by the police, follow them to the letter of the word and quickly.

    • The hostage(s) is the key element to the hostage situation. The attitude and demeanor of the hostage(s) will affect the chance of survival and recovery from the crisis.

Hostage survival indicators and self diagnosis of anxiety increases
Hostage Survival - Indicators and self diagnosis of anxiety increases

  •  The following are indicators that your anxieties are reaching an uncontrollable level:

    • Rapid pulse

    • Unreasonable sweating

    • Inability to concentrate (thoughts come and go very quickly in your mind)

    • Hyperactivity

    • Uncontrollable shaking

    • Frequent urge to urinate

  • These are all indicators that your anxieties are reaching an uncontrollable level. Counter conditioning steps should be employed. Develop relaxing techniques.

Hostage survival relaxation techniques
Hostage Survival - Relaxation Techniques increases


    •  Take deep breaths, and then exhale very slowly. Try to clear your mind of all thoughts. Continue this deep breathing and exhaling slowly. This has a very calming effect.


    • Bring anxieties down to a fear level. Fear is a controllable state of mind.

    • Recall a calming scene, something that you enjoy doing which is very relaxing to you. No one else should be involved in this relaxing scene, including wife, husband, children, etc. This also has a very calming effect on an individual.

    • Slowly count backwards from 20 to 1. This also helps bring the reality of the crisis situation back into focus and reduce anxiety.

Hostage survival11
Hostage Survival increases

  • The first thirty (30) minutes is the most crucial period of time in a crisis or hostage situation. It is in this early stage that most violence erupts and injury occurs. Order, presence of mind, in possession of one’s mental faculties, and calmness – these things must arise in one’s personality at the earliest possible opportunity to insure the best positive percentage of survival.


Intruder in the building
Intruder in the Building increases

  • Intruder inside the Building/or Attempting to Enter the Building

    • Each telephone should have a list of “Pat Eakes” announcements taped to the bottom.

    • If an intruder is actually inside the building, staff should dial intercom and say one of the following phrases to alert staff and residents in the building:

      • “Pat Eakes, Line1” = Intruder in shelter

      • “Pat Eakes, Line 2” = Intruder in administration/non-residential

      • “Pat Eakes, Line 3” = Intruder Rape Crisis Center or Children’s Building

      • “Pat Eakes, you have 2 (3,4,etc) calls” = indicates multiple intruders

Intruder in the building1
Intruder in the Building increases

  • Location of Silent Alarms

    • Under receptionist’s desk

    • Under hotline desk

    • In the Chief Executive Officer’s Office on Desk

    • In the old waiting room/where printer and shredder is located

Intruder in the building2
Intruder in the Building increases

  • Designated Safe Areas

  • Staff and residents, in the building, should go, quickly and calmly, to the designated areas listed below. (Bring cell phones with you to the secure area.) Please note: Staff and residents should not enter the building when the red or blue colored paper is on the outside door. Also, staff should not unlock doors unless “The staff’s Name is Spoken” is spoken. (Example: “Jenne Benton, their name”)

    • Staff and all residents should go to the nearest office, bedroom, or room with locking door. Lock the door and move away from doors and windows.

    • Administration staff should go to the (old waiting room/old volunteer room) where the shredder and printer are located. Lock the door. If possible, activate the silent alarm under Anna’s desk or grab a silent alarm necklace and activate.

    • Children’s Program staff, when in the Children’s Program Building, should lock classroom doors and attempt to keep children calm. Children and staff should not be near doors or windows. Page extension 200 (Receptionist,) 235 and 236 (Hotline room) or extension 209 (CEO’s office) to inform staff that the children are secure and to provide a head count. If the children are outside, at the time of the intrusion, and the intruder has made entry to the building, the children should be kept outside. They should be led to exit the playground, through the gate, and go to the dumpster area.

  • Please note: no staff should put themselves in further danger by attempting to check on individuals in another area like administration.

Intruder in the building3
Intruder in the Building increases

  • Calls to 911

    • Staff in hotline room should maintain telephone contact with law enforcement. If police have not arrived, or called, by the time that all individuals are in the safe places, staff should call 911, in order to make certain that the silent alarm was received. Further communications with individuals at extension 200, 209 or Hotline room at 235 or 236 would be conducted as directed by law enforcement depending on which building the intruder is in.

    • Staff in break room should call 911 to tell law enforcement when the childcare and school are secured and to provide head count.

Intruder in the building4
Intruder in the Building increases

  • Evacuation Information

    • Follow instructions as provided by law enforcement.

    • No one should leave the building until orders are given by law enforcement.

    • Keep emergency exits closed and clear.

    • Remain in the secured area until the all clear message is given: Example: “FORT MYERS SHELTER IS CLEAR.”

Intruder in the building5
Intruder in the Building increases

  • Intruder at the Thrift Store

    • Since the Thrift Store is open to the public, this procedure relates specifically to an abuser seeking his victim who is working and/or shopping at the store.

      • Attempt to move program participant/employee to a safe place, i.e. office, back restroom, etc.

      • Call 911.

      • Attempt to get the customers out of the store, if possible.

      • If a weapon is involved, this may become a hostage situation (See Procedure THR-6).

      • If a speaker system is available, a coded announcement may be used. If a silent alarm is available, use it.

      • Also, be aware that the abuser could come to the back of the store posing as a donor instead of a customer; procedures remain the same.

Safety during donation pick up
Safety During Donation Pick up increases

  • For safety reasons, donors are encouraged to drop off donations at the Thrift Store.

  • On rare occasions where we elect to pick-up from non-business sites, at least two staff and/or volunteers shall pick-up donations.

  • Staff and/or volunteers will not enter the non-business site and donations shall be placed outside for pick-up.

  • While at the non-business site, one staff and/or volunteer will remain with the vehicle in sight of the other person or the vehicle will be locked.

  • Staff and/or volunteers shall be aware of their surroundings at all times.

  • The vehicle shall be parked in a manner for quick exit.

  • Staff and/or volunteers shall have a means to communicate with ACT and/or the police.

  • Upon arrival at the donation pick-up site, staff and/or volunteers will contact the receptionist, hotline staff or dispatcher to confirm their arrival and departure from the site.

Bomb threats
Bomb Threats increases

  • Bomb threats and similar threats cause serious concern when received. While experience has shown that most threats of this nature do not prove to be valid, they cannot be dismissed lightly because there is a risk of real danger that the threat might be authentic.

  • A bomb threat may be received in any of the following ways:

    • By telephone, which is the most frequently used method.

    • By written message, delivered through the mail or by messenger.

    • By receipt of a suspicious package through the mail.

    • A statement or admission made in person.

Bomb threats1
Bomb Threats increases

  • There are two reasons for a caller to report that a bomb is to go off at a particular location:

    • The caller knows that an explosive or incendiary device has been or will be placed in the building and wants to minimize injury. The caller may be the person who planted the device or just someone who has such information.

  • The caller wants to create an atmosphere of panic and disrupt normal activity. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of all bomb threats are false, but there is no way to tell a hoax from an actual threat. ALL CALLS MUST BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. It is important to accurately record bomb threats. All employees should be given bomb threat checklist forms (See Forms Section for Bomb Threat Telephone Checklist), which should be kept near the telephone at all times.

  • Bomb threats2
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Action

    • Remain calm. DO NOT USE THE FIRE ALARM – This could detonate the device.

    • Do not use two-way radios or cell phones since such transmissions are capable of detonating some types of bombs.

    • Telephone threat – Anyone receiving a threat by telephone will take the following actions:

      • Keep the person talking on the telephone as long as possible. Do not hang up or put caller on hold.

      • If possible, contact a co-worker and let them know what is going on so that they can call 911.

      • Use the Bomb Threat Telephone Call Checklist (See Forms Section for Bomb Threat Telephone Checklist) when recording the information the caller is providing.

    Bomb threat telephone checklist1
    Bomb Threat Telephone Checklist increases

    • Additional information to obtain:

      • Exact time & date of call

      • Exact words of caller

        • Ask them to repeat the message, if necessary, and write as much as possible.

    • Pertinent questions:

      • Ask when and where the bomb is going to explode?

      • Ask what the bomb looks like?

      • Ask what type of a bomb is it?

      • Ask what will cause it to detonate?

      • Ask why they are doing this?

      • Ask where are you calling from?

      • Try to get callers full name

      • Try to get callers exact location and phone number

    Bomb threat telephone checklist2
    Bomb Threat Telephone Checklist increases

    • Listen carefully to the voice; note whether it's a man or a woman;

      • Notice the Pitch, accent of the caller. Circle the following:

        Calm Slow Nasal Angry Broke

        Stutter Disguised Lisp Sincere Rapid

        Giggler Deep Crying Squeaky Excited

        Stressed Accent Loud Slurred Normal

    • Notice:

      • If the voice is familiar, who did it sound like?

      • Did you notice any Background noise? (Ex: Cars, train, etc.)

      • Share any other pertinent information

    Bomb threats3
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Record, in writing, the exact words of the caller to the best of your ability. Ask questions that are on the Bomb Threat Form. Encourage the caller to keep talking be being friendly and using words such as “OK”, “YES”, “I UNDERSTAND”, etc. During the call:

      • Do not interrupt the caller while he/she is talking.

      • In general, do not argue or be antagonistic.

      • Note the caller’s exact wording.

      • Note any accent or peculiarity of speech that may help to identify the caller.

      • If time permits, ask the caller questions such as: “Who is calling please?” or “What is your name?”

      • Attempt to ascertain the location of the bomb, the type of device, what it looks like and when the bomb is set to go off.

      • Listen for background noise.

      • Try to get the caller’s name (See Forms Section for Bomb Threat Telephone Checklist).

      • Do not evacuate the building until all areas are checked by the authorities.

    Bomb threats4
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Attempt to determine the sex, the approximate age and mental attitude of the caller, specifically the motives or why they placed the bomb.

    • Note the telephone number that the call was received on. Check Caller ID.

    • Call Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

    • Until questioned by the Sheriff’s Office, the Threat receiver should isolate himself or herself. Quite often co-workers concern will add to your confusion as to what is actually being said by the bomb threat caller.

    Bomb threats5
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Threats received by other means

      • Bomb threats received by mail or through other means will be brought to the immediate attention of the CEO.

    • The CEO or designee will call 911 and report the bomb threat.

    Bomb threats6
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Suspicious Objects

      • Should you locate a suspicious object that no one claims or can identify, contact the CEO or designee immediately. Make sure you talk to a person. Do not simply leave a message. Give full details of the location and description. Further instructions will be given to you.


        • FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF THE CEO OR POLICE OFFICER. CEO or designee will determine whether to contact law enforcement.



    Bomb threats7
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Evacuation

      • If an evacuation order is given, calmly request people to leave as quickly and calmly as possible. The Fire Alarm will not be sounded. The order to evacuate will be given by Law Enforcement or Senior Management on duty, utilizing the intercom system.

      • Assist the disabled.

      • Make sure everyone is safely out of your area.

      • Do not reenter building until ok is given by law enforcement.

    • Law Enforcement

      • Follow the instructions of law enforcement at all times.

    Bomb threats8
    Bomb Threats increases

    • Recovery

      • When the threat is over or the bomb has been removed, readmit staff to the facility or areas that have been vacated.

      •  When staff is in place, readmit residents or customers to the affected area of the building.

    Our goal is safety
    Our Goal is Safety! increases

    • Our number one goal is safety!

      • Stay alert.

      • Stay calm.

      • Think

      • React/Respond

    Crisis management1
    Crisis Management increases

    • I acknowledge receiving from Abuse Counseling and Treatment, Inc. the Crisis Management trainingand I have read and understand the information set forth in the PowerPoint presentation.

    • I understand it is my responsibility to bring questions to the Chief Executive Officer, supervisor or Community Education Coordinator if I do not understand or need clarification of any of this information.

    • By signing this, I am verifying I have received and understand the Crisis Management training. I will receive a Certificate of Training fulfilling 1 hour of ACT annual training requirements.

    • Employee’s Signature:

    • Employee printed name:

    • Date: