Workplace Violence Blog

Managing Fear and Anxiety after a Mass shooting

Posted on Fri, Dec 04, 2015

After an active shooter incident or a mass shooting, it is very important that we check in with ourselves and others regarding our anxiety levels and level of fear, even for those on the other side of the county, or the other side of the world.

Workplace productivity drops as co-workers chat about the horrific shooting and fears around whether their company has a plan in place if they were to encounter an active shooter. We go home and then deal with our children who are exposed to way too much violence and must uncover their fears. Our teenagers may be chatting about what if their high school is attacked or what about that “Muslim student” in their geometry class.

Talk Radio, National News Channels and Local TV stations are constantly talking about the panic and the frequency of these events. We can either become entranced by the events or we can become numb to them.

Here are a few tips to help at work and at home:

  1. Limit your exposure to the news of the shootings. Too many people are glued to the TV, radio or internet with their children watching in the background. It’s okay to catch the details and be informed, but be very careful that you are not being over exposed to it. The images that you see can affect you and your children.
  2. Talk about your feelings! It is important for you and your children to share your feelings. Sometimes we simply need to say the things out loud that we are thinking. Listen to your children and their concerned concerns. Address their issues in a matter of fact way not from a place of fear.
  3. Be sensitive to others. People who have suffered a past trauma, those who have an anxiety disorder, PTSD, or deal with substance abuse or mental illness may have a more severe, negative reaction to a shooting event, especially if they have little or no family/social support. Be sensitive to those from other cultures. After an attack like yesterday we see hate crimes rise and prejudice soar. This is a time to open our hearts to other religions and cultures. This is not a time to blame an entire religion for the fanatical outbursts of a few people.
  4. Honor your feelings. It is common to have a range of emotions after a traumatic event. Trauma bears a toll on us. Anxiety, fear, stress and even physical symptoms of exhaustion are normal after exposure to a traumatic event. You might not have been present but the images on TV, especially if you have watched it over and over, can have a very profound effect on us psychologically.
  5. Get back to normal! It is extremely important for both adults and children to get back into our normal routines as quickly as possible. There is safety and comfort in our normalcy!

Remember that we stand a better chance of being killed in a car accident or struck by lightening than we do being shot at work. If you, a co-worker or a family member are having an exceptionally hard time dealing with negative feelings after a mass shooting, please get yourself or them to a professional for counseling.

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Tags: active shooter, workplace violence, mass shooting

PTSD – A Global Issue Affecting Frontline Emergency Workers

Posted on Fri, Nov 06, 2015

Mental health experts in Australia have launched the “World’s First Guidelines” for PTSD in frontline emergency workers, a proper step in the right direction towards helping improve conditions for these important workers who are fighting a disorder that is not well understood.

Article: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Australian researchers develop 'world-first' guidelines to support emergency service workers

Upon completion of my programs I find myself speaking with attendees who are dealing with someone with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It’s either a co-worker, friend, relative or sometimes it’s the person themselves that are having issues with PTSD. Many people who approach me are former police officers, fire fighters or EMS workers who are faced with traumatic events routinely. Recently, I have had lengthy discussions with former military personnel who are attempting to not only cope with the PTSD, but who also handle the prejudices and judgements of other co-workers who simply do not understand what PTSD is and how someone with it may be triggered.

It is important to know that there is a distinct difference between s PTSD sufferer’s emotional reactions and workplace violence. PTSD may show up as irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior, which supervisors can falsely mistake for workplace violence. While the reaction may not be appropriate for the workplace, it is imperative that we become aware of the symptoms and how we might help an employee or co-worker. 

How are you committed to helping your workers who suffer from PTSD or other emotional/mental disorders that aren’t easily understood? Through conversation and education, we can deflate stigmas attached to such disorders and create safer, more efficient workplaces.

Tags: conflict resolution, PTSD, workplace violence, angry employees

Violence in Healthcare: Nurses and Personality Conflict

Posted on Fri, Oct 16, 2015

Healthcare workers, and nurses in particular, have to deal with a great amount of personality conflict in the workplace. This conflict doesn't just come from patients and their family members who are overly stressed, but also from co-workers who are now having to do more with less, causing major burnout.

Megan Murdock Krischke recently interviewed me for a Nurses Rx piece on this very topic where I discuss deescalating conflict with co-workers.

ARTICLE: How to Overcome Personality Conflicts with Fellow Nurses

Nurses_Conflict

Workplace Violence: Man Ejaculates in Co-Workers Coffee

Posted on Fri, Sep 05, 2014

The people who attend my seminars are always curious and in disbelief when I
share some of the stories of workplace violence that we have encountered
over the years; especially regarding sexual conduct in the workplace. While this story is certainly not the norm, it demonstrates an example of workplace violence that can happen in any organization.

Minnesota Man Faces One Year in Prison for Ejaculating in Co-Workers Coffee: http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/09/03/charges-minn-man-ejaculated-in-co-workers-coffee/

man hiding

Tags: workplace conflict, bizarre workplace stories, workplace violence

Workplace Conflict: Handle Criticism with These 10 Techniques

Posted on Fri, Jun 06, 2014

Have you ever witnessed an employee "snap" over what seemed to be constructive criticism? One comment, especially if it's made in front of other people, can cause an on-edge employee to become enraged.

When we teach our "Managing Angry People" workshops, we dig into the psyche of an angry person and give strategies to combat the rage. I love my friend Dr. Alan Zimmerman's list of "Top 10 Techniques for Dealing with Criticism". This is a good reminder for all of us.  

angry employee

 

 

 

 

Tags: workplace conflict, managing angry people, workplace violence

A Tribute to Law Enforcement Officers Around the Globe

Posted on Thu, May 22, 2014

Since my partner and I both have law enforcement experience, I wanted to share this tribute in honor of the law enforcement heroes around the world. You are appreciated! 

An Officer's Life (author unknown)

You wonder why he pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding, He just worked an accident where people died because they were going too fast.

You wonder why the cop was so mean. He just got done working a case where a drunk driver killed a kid.

officer and childYou work for 8 hours. He works for up to 18 hours.

You drink hot coffee to stay awake. The cold rain in the middle of the night keeps him awake.

You complain of a headache and call in sick. He goes to work still hurt and sore from the guy he had to fight the night before.

You drink your coffee on your way to the mall. He spills his as he runs Code 3 to a traffic crash with kids trapped inside.

You make sure your cell phone is in your pocket before you leave the house. He makes sure his gun is clean and fully loaded and his vest is tight.

You walk down the beach staring at the pretty girls. He walks down the highway looking for body parts from a traffic crash.

You complain about how hot it is. He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in July and still runs around chasing crack heads.

You go out to lunch and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong. He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.

You get out of bed in the morning and take your time to get ready. He gets called out of bed at 2 a.m. after working 12 hours and has to be into work ASAP for a homicide.

You go to the mall and get your hair redone. He holds the hair of some college girl while she’s puking in the back of his patrol car.

You are angry because your class ran 5 minutes over. His shift ended 4 hours ago and there’s no end in sight.

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight. He can’t make any plans because on his off day he still gets called back into work.

You yell and scream at the squad car that just passed you because they slowed you down. He’s in the driver's seat of the squad car going to cut somebody out of the car.

You roll your eyes when a baby cries in public. He picks up a dead child in his arms and prays that it was crying.

You criticize your police department and say they are never there quick enough. He blasts the siren while the person in front of him refuses to move over while talking on their cell phone.

You hear the jokes about fallen officers and say they should have known better. He is a hero and runs into situations when everyone else is running away in order to make sure no one else gets hurt and loses his life doing it.

You are asked to go the store by your parents, you don’t. He would take a bullet for his buddy without a question.

You sit there and judge him, saying that it’s a waste of money to have them around, yet as soon as you need help he is there.

 

Take a moment today to appreciate the law enforcement officers that help keep you safe on a daily basis.

Stay safe,

Carol Fredrickson

 

Tags: law enforcement tribute, thank a police officer, an officer's life

Sample - How To Post

Posted on Tue, May 06, 2014

INTRODUCTION:

Your “how to” blog post should teach the reader how to do something by breaking it down into a series of steps.

Begin your blog post by explaining what problem you are going to solve through your explanation and be sure to include any relevant keywords. Add in a personal story to establish your credibility on this topic. And make sure to end your blog post with a summary of what your reader will gain by following your lead.

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BODY:

Now deliver what you promised in the first section. This is the longest part of the post, so make it easy to read. Use short paragraphs, bullet lists, and bold headings to set different sections apart. 

Some common section headers include:

Step 1: Getting Started

Step 2: Do Your Background Research on…

Step 3: First Steps for…

Step 4: Analyze and Repeat

Step 5: Wrapping Up

You can use bulleted lists, numbered list, or multiple headings. Include as many steps, numbers, or bullets that will allow you to discuss your topic thoroughly.

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  • At the end, transition into your conclusion


CONCLUSION:

Now it’s time to say goodbye and wrap up your post. Remind your readers of your key takeaway, reiterate what your readers need to do to get the desired result, and ask a question about how they see the topic to encourage comments and conversation. Don't forget to add a Call-to-Action to turn your blog post into a marketing machine!

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The Deadly Street Drug "Krokodil"

Posted on Fri, Apr 04, 2014

A deadly street drug, "Krokodil" has made its way from Russia to parts of South and North America. It’s named for its flesh eating properties causing skin to rot and become scaly like a crocodile. It’s clinically known as desomorphine and also referred to as "Zombie Drug."

This highly addictive new drug is injected and it then begins eating the user’s body from the inside out. Typical ingredients of this drug are gasoline, codeine, paint thinner and hydrochloric acid. The corrosive byproducts rot cause the blood vessels to burst and the surrounding tissue to die. Skin on the injection site becomes black or green and scaly. It is estimated that a user of this synthetic drug will not live more than two months.

Krokodil

What's the draw to its users? It's cheap and potent. It is said to be 10 times more potent than morphine (and is 3 times as toxic). It originates from Russia, where drug-users found it difficult to access and pay for heroine. There is also the same home-made factor as we've seen with the emergence of meth. When people can produce a drug with cheap, store-bought items from a pharmacy or hardware store it's more likely it is to spread at a rapid pace.

It is currently unclear how much krokodil has penetrated the US. Some say the media has sensationalized its impact; others see a spiking trend in cases that look very much like krokodil use. In October 2013 five people were hospitalized in a Chicago suburb with symptoms similar to cases that were also reported to health care providers in North Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

Is it just a matter of time before krokodil becomes the new "it" street drug with devastating consequences? Or can we hope that even most heroine users will choose the lesser of two evils and shy away from a substance that literally kills them from the inside out?

Tags: street drugs, deadly drugs, krokodil

Staying Safe in Parking Lots During the Holidays

Posted on Fri, Nov 15, 2013

 

In the United States, with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, it's a good idea to remind yourself and your loved ones about staying safe during the most hectic - I mean wonderful - time of the year.

Depending on the country, design, time of day and location, parking lots in general can present a real danger and risk of violence. During the holidays it gets even worse. Make sure you're always prepared and on alert in these areas where predators can attack.

When you are parking in a garage, there are a few things you can do to make sure you are not putting a target on your back for holiday criminals.

  • Street level parking is always safer than garage parking. If it's necessary to use a ramp or parking garage choose the center levels. Avoid the very top and bottom levels, as they are the least travelled.
  • It’s always important to pay attention to where you are parking, especially after dark. For instance, choose a well lit, highly visible area and park as close as possible to an exit, entrance or elevator. Remember you may be parking in the daylight, but accessing your vehicle after dark.

ParkingLotCriminal

  • Back into your parking space. This makes it easier and faster if you need to get out of there immediately.
  • As soon as you get in your car lock the doors and start the car immediately. If someone were to approach you can easily put the car in drive and pull right out.
  • When approaching your car, have your keys ready to unlock the door. Your keys should be out of your handbag or pocket and in your hand to gain access to the vehicle.
  • Make extra trips to the car to put away bags. You want to have a free hand available at all times in case of an emergency. Always put your bags in the truck so they don't attract criminals.  
  • Walk with confidence, keeping your head up and looking around. Have your cell phone available in case you need to call 911.
  • Get to know the parking lots in the shopping areas you frequent often and have an emergency plan in place. Learn where the panic buttons are located and how to contact security. Most shopping malls' security personal will escort you to your car if you have parked a long distance away or are feeling nervous or threatened.
  • Avoid parking lot stairwells. Newer ones are safer because they are built with glass walls versus heavy concrete walls where no one can see you, but avoid them all together if possible.
  • If you are grabbed draw attention to yourself! Shout "FIRE!" rather than "HELP!" It's more likely to get others' attention.

Holidays are stressful and our minds are often racing from one thing to another. This lack of focus can impact safety. Make sure you pay attention and stay confident to avoid potentially harmful situations.

Stay safe,

Carol

How Knowing Your Arrival Airport Helps You Stay Safe

Posted on Fri, Nov 01, 2013

Violence Free is always on the lookout for travel safety tips from a variety of sources to share with our readers. With the peak travel season upon us, I was pleased to come across the article "9 Things to Know About Your Arrival Airport."  This blog has some great info for international travel as well as a couple of good U.S. sites that can be very helpful.

We believe that staying safe is all about knowledge and empowerment (as opposed to fear and doubt), so this article aligns perfectly with our philosophy. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, criminals are on the lookout for travelers who are confused or distraught, so check out this link for info that could reduce your risk and lessen the chance that you will be marked as a target.

www.airfarewatchdog.com - "9 Things to Know About Your Arrival Airport"

Happy Travels and Stay safe,

Carol

airports around the world main

Tags: safe holiday travel, work travel tips, travel saftey, safety tips, workplace safety tips