Friday, April 3, 2015

Early Registration Discount Offer on May 5, 2015 Augusta ME Business Protection Training

Blue-U Defense Offering 25% Discount for Early Registrants to May 5th Augusta ME Seminar

Register Early and Save

We have decided to offer anyone registering for our Full Day, Complete Business/School Protection Course on May 5th, 2015 at the Senator Inn and Spa in Augusta ME a 25% discount off the regular $200/person registration fee. So sign up by the end of the day on April 15th to receive this reduced rate. I have changed the Registration Page on the website ( to reflect this discounted rate.

This is going to be an incredible day of training for anyone who attends and we look forward to seeing you there. We will revert the pricing back to
$200/person on April 16th.  This training is exceptionally well-suited for school administrators and faculty.

We look forward to seeing you there. 

Complete Business Course in Augusta ME on May 5, 2015

Blue-U Defense


 Complete Business/School/Personal
Safety Course 


Understanding Policy
Basic's of Effective Policy Generation


Recognizing the Signs of Drug Addiction and Distribution in the Workplace


Threat Assessment


Dealing with Aggressive, Angry,
and Mentally Ill People

Augusta, ME

Tuesday May 5, 2015 

Senator Inn & Spa
284 Western Ave
Augusta, ME 04330
(207) 622-5804
(Coffee Served)

Following the success of the success of our day-long Complete Business Protection Course's, and based on numerous requests, we are bringing this course to the great State of Maine to serve our
increasing client base.

This course covers the basics of  Workplace Violence/Active Shooter, Practical Personal Protection, and Drug Recognition for EmployersUnderstanding Policy and Basic's of Policy Generation, Threat Assessment Principals, and Dealing with Aggressive, Angry and Mentally Ill People.

This course has been designed to EMPOWER attendees through instruction in making fast, effective decisions under the extreme stress associated with sudden, traumatic, encounters, as well as practical and highly effective tactics that apply both at, and away from, work! If your employees are your most important assets, they must be protected regardless of whether they are at, or away from, work. What we teach in this course will significantly raise the level of confidence and expertise in those attending.

As this is a "Complete Business Protection Course" it could not be titled as such without a section on Drug Recognition for Employers! Drug are destroying our society and, as a result, they are having a negative impact on your business! You must recognize the signs of both drug addiction and distribution and you must have a policy in place to deal with it when you suspect it. This course covers, in great detail, the signs of addiction and what you can do about it.

Finally, everything that we are teaching in this course must be accompanied by appropriate and effective policy! Few companies have successfully accomplished this yet it is a critical aspect in an overall safety plan. We will discuss the basic elements of a practical and effective policy and start you on your way to where you ultimately need to be.

This course has received absolutely RAVE reviews and we guarantee your satisfaction! Regardless of the size or area of expertise of your business, the highly effective and extremely practical knowledge, confidence and skill that you will gain from this course will be invaluable to your business, its employees and family and loved ones! I guarantee you that you will go home and tell those that you love about what you learned and how it can keep them safe! 

See Interview of Blue-U Partners Terry Choate and Joe Hileman by Peoples VC/TV
Founder Akhil Garland

For more information and to register please visit

We hope to see you on May 5th in Augusta, ME

The Critical Nature of Front Entrance Security

The Critical Nature of Front Entrance Security

What is the most dangerous area in your business (typically) when it comes to safety against unwanted or potentially violent subjects?  When I asked this question did you think shipping, manufacturing, administration?

If you didn’t think any of the above and instead thought about the main entryway/reception area, you would be correct!

This being the case, who then, is both the most valuable, and vulnerable, person in your facility when it comes to safety against unwanted or potentially dangerous subjects?

If you said that it’s the person charged with controlling the main entrance to your facility… you would be correct!  Your “Gatekeeper”, or whatever you happen to refer to them as.

We spend a great deal of time with clients who are investing in securing their facility against unwanted and/or hostile visitors. These clients, through unfortunate circumstances, have realized that their security and, more importantly, their security policies, are not where they needed to be. These clients, by the way, are not in any way unique. In fact, most companies that we work with are in the same position. The only difference is that they have recognized that security is critical to the safety of their employees and that you can never assume that “nothing will happen”.

Anyway, during these facility visits we focus the majority of our attention on the main entrance area of the building. Why? Because the physical aspects as well as the more extremely important “mental aspects” of main entrance security should be the most critical security concerns in your facility.  Typically, when we throw a scenario at a receptionist, very rarely do they have appropriate answers. When we ask them exactly what they understand their responsibilities are should they encounter a dangerous client in their work area, the vast majority answer that they have no idea because no one has ever told them.

It is true what they say – security is 10% physical and 90% mental! The problem is that very few business or personal safety consultants focus on the mental aspects of  site/personal security.  They focus far more on the physical site security aspects of protecting their business than the mental aspects, or people! Remember this:

You can spend millions of dollars on the absolute best physical site security systems and equipment, however if your people are not trained to know and fully understand your expectations (your policies), if they are not trained and prepared to make good, fast effective decisions, then all of this technology, equipment and money spent will be completely useless. We see proof of this time and again when we are inside facilities that have entry scanning requirements, sign-in procedures, badge systems, alarms, video surveillance, etc., etc., etc. and almost inevitably, there will be people inside the walls of the companies without badges or identification of any kind. And no one is questioning these people! So in these cases, which are extremely common, what good are the millions of dollars that were spent on the physical site security? Someone lets these people in and, once there are in, others allow them to stay in! Most of the time, these “unauthorized” visitors either gets in through the main entryway or through an unlocked/unmonitored shipping/receiving area. Correcting these problems requires training, policies, compliance, and, when security is breached, disciplinary action for those who knew, or should have known, about the breach!

How Critical is Main Entry Security?

Main entrance physical security and, more importantly, training the most vulnerable and important person in your business, should be a top priority in your overall security plan. The most likely place for a problem to initiate is via the main entrance. This means that the person at the front desk or main entry area can be critical to the safety of all of your employers. Their decisions may be life or death decision not only impacting their lives, but the lives of others!

This is a tremendous responsibility and one that must be taken very seriously by both the person themselves and company management. Most receptionists, when asked about this topic, have never really considered it themselves, nor has their company provided them with training, a policy, or both on this critical topic.

Again, your receptionist must be trained and your main entry security should be as high in quality as you can possibly afford!

Of course, there are many things to consider when it comes to physical site security measures. For example, what type of business do you have? Do you have clients coming in-and-out on a regular basis? Are you a business that needs to provide a “quality customer service experience”? Is your business considered “high risk” in terms of potential for violence? Does your business provide services or products that may be cause for emotional debate? And there are many, many others! Setting up your physical security must match the experience that you are trying to create for your clients. You obviously can’t have barbed wire and alarms at a business where you are trying to create positive Zen for your clients! Conversely, there are ways to get close to barbed wire level security and alarms without the clients ever even knowing it.  The bottom line is that, if these things are not things that you have formerly considered, it is critical that you get it done quickly.

Our New Product Offering

We are now offering a new and very critical service package (Understanding Main Entry Security) where we will come into your business, look at your main entry security situation, analyze it thoroughly, provide you with feedback and recommendations, a summary report, AND train your front entry people on preparation, recognizing danger at the main entry, making good and effective decisions very quickly, and policy related issues.  This is one of our most important training curriculums that we offer and a MUST for any business, school, or hospital.

If you have an interest in this service please don’t hesitate to contact me and we will work with you to get it done.  We see this service as requiring approximately 2 hours for those involved to include assessment, discussion and training for the front desk employees.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Have You Considered Incident Command as a Part of Your Safety Program

Have You Considered Incident Command as a 
Part of Your Safety Program

The Importance of  Critical Incident Command

Critical Incident Command is an extremely critical, yet often neglected area of Emergency Management training within our businesses and schools. In public safety professions (for the sake of this article when I use the term “Public Safety Professionals” I am referring to Police, Fire and EMT professionals), on the other hand, we receive extensive training in the skills and expertise of Incident Command. Why is this? Because, as public safety professionals we are the ones responsible to respond, rescue, and eliminate the threat or danger. And we do! Its critical, however, that skills and proficiency in Incident Command be recognized and achieved by those tasked with the safety of their employees, students, and patients as well. In fact, in those instances, it may be even more critical!

So what role does Incident Command play during a sudden and traumatic incident of workplace/school violence, active shooter, explosion, fire, etc.? While I will go into the details of incident command in just a moment, for now, and to answer this question, it is the need for someone to immediately manage the danger and safety of those that they are tasked to protect, including themselves. In more simple terms, to make decisions about what needs to be done “RIGHT NOW” to save those in immediate danger and potentially eliminate the threat of danger. This may be by escape to safety or dealing directly with the threat.

So lets go into Incident Command

Lets start with a definition of “Incident Commander” according to “Wikipedia”

the person responsible for all aspects of an emergency response; including quickly developing incident objectives, managing all incident operations, application of resources as well as responsibility for all persons involved. The incident commander sets priorities and defines the organization of the incident response teams and the overall incident action plan. The role of incident commander may be assumed by senior or higher qualified officers upon their arrival or as the situation dictates. Even if subordinate positions are not assigned, the incident commander position will always be designated or assumed. The incident commander may, at their own discretion, assign individuals, who may be from the same agency or from assisting agencies, to subordinate or specific positions for the duration of the emergency.

So from this definition we can break Incident Command down into decisions regarding immediate goals and objectives of the incident and ultimately transferring to decisions regarding overall goals and objectives of the incident. It is the decisions regarding immediate goals and objectives that we are concerned with in this article.

First, Training Must Be Practical

For training of any type to be effective, it must be practical. What is practical in safety and self-defense? If you cant use your skills or weapons, whether they be physical or mental, without thought; if your weapons are not instinctual; if they require something specific from your opponent (like a straight punch to the stomach) in order for your practiced moves and defensive techniques to be effective; if they are based on a pre-programmed series of movements, locks, holds, etc.,; if they require extensive thought in order to be placed into action; then they are not practical.

So How Does “Practical” Apply to Incident Command?

Consider that in any incident of sudden and traumatic violence or danger, chaos naturally ensues. And, without training, it will almost assuredly ensue! To have the best opportunity to protect others or ourselves we must manage fear, control the heart rate, bring order to chaos, and make good, fast, effective decisions.

How Does Incident Command Work

In most cases where an Incident Command is required, a designated Incident Commander is not only appropriate, but a necessity. Here’s how an incident plays out in regards to Incident Command in a Public Safety Incident:

The first responder (first to arrive on-scene) always assumes the role of “Incident Commander”. This person makes decisions based on incoming, received information and current circumstances. When the designated Incident Commander (typically the highest ranking person in the department that controls the scene – Chief of Police or Chief of Fire) arrives on-scene, Incident Command is relinquished to them and they are briefed on all current and previously received information.  The key is that the first person to “establish command” (first responder) is typically trained to take on this responsibility with proficiency.

Incident Command is a trained structure that is highly effective and has been proven to work. And, typically, that first responder or temporary Incident Commander directs and controls the incident from a location either at, or extremely close to, the scene. The ultimate Incident Commander, in contrast, will direct and control the incident, many times, from an offsite or remote location to the actual scene.

Incident Command works! So why do we not spend far more time preparing those responsible for our businesses, schools, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities, etc. to manage a potential incident in the same way that public service officials manage crime scenes and disasters? How are things different? First, it is a highly unrecognized necessity within our businesses and schools. Second, most businesses and to a lesser extent schools, believe that they will experience an incident of violence or disaster within their facility. “It’s not going to happen to me/us”! This must change as a proficient Incident Commander can save lives! Conversely, a lack of proficiency in incident command or training in the dangers of workplace/school violence can destroy your life or business. You MUST recognize the need for the responsibility and provide the appropriate training to everyone who might find him or herself in a position to establish Incident Command.

What Needs to Be Done?

So there are three distinct yet critical needs in Incident Command:

1)   Immediate Internal Incident Command
2)   Designated Internal Incident Command
3)   Overall Incident Command (Public Safety)

This article and topic focuses on the first one – Immediate Internal Incident Command.

What is the Difference?

In most all businesses, schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, etc., the Overall Incident Commander is a designated individual, many times either the highest ranking person within the company or location, and in others, it may be the person responsible for security.  But what are the likelihood that this designated person will be present when and where the disaster strikes? What is the likelihood that they will be able to begin making life saving decisions the second that a sudden and traumatic violent encounter or disaster strikes? More likely, this person will be someone who is located, briefed and, at some point, takes command at best, several minutes after the incident begins. This is too late!

There will be people, however, near to or at the point of the initiation of a violent encounter or the initiation point of a disaster. These are the people who need to be trained and able to take command and immediately begin to direct a life saving effort based on circumstances that are happening right now, in many cases, in their presence.

Remember – There is Strength in Numbers!

I have said this many, many times – there is strength in numbers. Do not neglect your masses – your employees and/or students! Too many schools and businesses, after recognizing the very real danger of the possibility of workplace violence, proceed to train only their administration staff or faculty. While this is a huge step forward, it falls way short in an overall safety plan that must allow for each and every school and/or business to take advantage of its most powerful advantage – Numbers! Again, in incidents such as those that we are focusing on in this article, numbers wills undoubtedly always defeat weapons. Psychologically, weapons will usually defeat anything else. But for those who are trained to understand this, it takes very, very few to overpower someone with a firearm or other weapon.

So we MUST train everyone within our respective schools or places of business on safety and tactics as well as Incident Command and the skills necessary to act as temporary Incident Commander, and most importantly what information and tactics are required to end the threat, or at least contain it.

Consider this example:

In the very crowded hallways of a large high school, students are moving in all directions as they prepare for their next class. At one point a student notes a male subject with a duffle bag walking down the hallway amongst the other students. Inside this bag this students clearly sees a handgun that she is convinced is real. So, what does she do?

She goes to the Principals office to report the incident. Good job right? Exactly what is expected of her?

Possibly. This student, in all likelihood, had no previous instruction or training on how to handle such an incident.  So she does the only thing that makes sense to her and runs to the Principals office to report the problem.

So, if you were the person that this incident was reported to in the Principals office, what would be the first thing that you would want to know? My first question would be – Where is this person now? In this case, the reporting person wouldn’t have any idea. There would be numerous additional questions that this person would likely not be able answer. Why? Because they left the person that posed the potential danger to report the problem. Does this create an issue with making life-saving decisions and how to proceed to protect the others inside the facility? No one knows where this person is at this point, who they are, what they are doing/planning, etc. How can you make appropriate decisions without all of this information?

Now Lets Consider an Alternative:

Instead of going to the Principals office to report the problem, she tells another student, or teacher, that is in closer proximity to the problem.
Would this be better? For numerous reasons, I would submit that this would be a far better and more effective solution. Why? Because the person that this is reported to would become the initial Incident Commander and will begin to make far more accurate decisions based on more immediate, accurate, and useable information.

How can this be even more effective? The student who notices the problem takes on the immediate role of Incident Commander and is trained to formulate a plan and immediate response to the potential threat. Now, all decisions are being made are being made based on real time circumstances.

Again, this Immediate Incident Commander role is only temporary. But like public safety responders, someone must immediately begin to bring order to an incident in order to save lives.

So What Does All This Mean?

Everyone (numbers) must be trained to be able to make effective, fast, practical decisions and to establish himself or herself as Incident Commander. Everyone! Everyone must be trained to formulate a very fast and effective plan that will immediately begin to alleviate the potential threat.

One Possible Plan for the Above Scenario (Although There are Many)?

If the student notices a firearm inside this persons bag, and there are numerous other students inside the hallway at the time, she could gather other students, inform them of the problem, and then as a group address the person with the firearm without allowing him any access to the bag in which he carries the firearm until school staff and/or police can arrive to deal with the potential threat.

There are many who would say that this might create a danger for those addressing the problem. There are those who would say that addressing the person might cause him to act. There are many would might think to immediately jump on him and take the bag by force; not allow him to gain control of the firearm. There are yet others who would say “protect yourself and just get out and leave others to their own devices”.

Again, there are no right or wrong answers. Everyone, however, needs to be trained in how to effectively and quickly make good decisions, guide and direct others to safety, and decide for themselves based on their particular circumstances, how to react to the danger that is present. Good decisions will likely not be made without appropriate training, the ability to access effective and practical options, and a controlled heart rate.

The bottom line is that everyone in your business/school must be trained in Incident Command. Everyone should have the ability and authority to take immediate command of a situation. 

Don’t Forget Policy

Remember, as with everything else in school/business safety, we must have policy that addresses Incident Command. Everyone must know that the policy exists and what its purposes are, what their respective roles and responsibilities in such incidents will be, and they must be trained to be able to enact the policy and carry out their responsibilities with confidence.

Incident Command is Critical

The role of Incident Commander is critical! It may be the most critical role in an incident where preservation of life is at stake. Please do not take this lightly. If you don’t have training in Incident Command, get it immediately. If you do not have policy and procedures that include Incident Command, develop one! If every person capable of taking on the role of Incident Commander is not trained to do so, get them trained!  If everyone inside of your school or business are not training in how to react to the types of incidents that might be faced, get them trained. Unless everyone know exactly what information will be needed by the Incident Commander and how to quickly get this information to them, you need to get them trained “know and do”. And remember, there is a difference between the need for immediate decisions (Initial Incident Commander) and longer-term decisions (Designated School/Business Incident Commander), and overall scene Incident Commander (Police/Fire). Don’t confuse these roles, the responsibilities of each role, and how command will transition from one Commander to the next. Again, your role as Incident Commander, whether it be initial or designated, will only be temporary until public safety agencies arrive.  Incident Command brings order to what would otherwise be chaos. Incident Command saves lives.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Are We Asking Your Employees/Students/Patients to Fight Back?

This is a very common question that arises regarding our Workplace Violence/Active Shooter training, especially when we are presenting to school administration and/or parents. The concern is that an offensive act would put them in danger of harm. And it’s a completely understandable concern, isn’t it? 

Well, here is the answer to the question:

No we are not teaching them to engage and fight!

Make no mistake however:

In an incident of violence or active shooter, they are in danger simply by the very fact that they are there! There is nothing that anyone can do about that; it is what it is!  

You see, we (Blue-U Defense) train in tools. Minds are toolboxes, options are our tools in this case, and we simply train you to fill your toolbox with options (tools).  

Remember, there is strength in numbers!

I have written on this topic at least once in the past. When we analyze a battle of any sort, if we are to have any chance of winning, we must take stock of our strengths and weaknesses as well as those of our opponents. There are many categories that need to be analyzed and I am in no way attempting to over-simplify this by discussing only one of them.  However, one advantage can overcome almost all others, in most instances – the advantage of numbers. Numbers, in a case of an active killer, can typically overcome the majority of their strengths, in the end. BUT – we have to have our “numbers” prepared. Their toolboxes must be full of tools. Otherwise, we hand this huge advantage right back to our adversary by allowing him defenseless opponents.

So, lets consider an incident of Active Shooter inside of a school:

First, in regards to victimization, we cannot differentiate between adults, children, patients, disabled, etc. Victims are victims regardless of age in most instances. The “bad guy” just kills/injures everyone. Just look at Sandy Hook where many extremely young children were killed along with adults. And there are numerous other examples of this as well. The difference is that in institutions where there are those who cannot defend or care for themselves (children, elderly or disabled patients), those charged with their care and safety simply have to do more; they have to be better prepared and trained; they must have an elevated level of skill and expertise; and they must have a toolbox full of more powerful tools.

Think About This

When we see a video of an adult being abducted, and this adult doesn’t fight back we say, “that’s horrible. They didn’t even try to fight back". Why? Why do we expect them to fight back? To give themselves a chance of winning! Because we don’t want them to walk helplessly, compliantly and willingly to their deaths! We want them to give themselves a “fighting chance”. Children deserve a chance as well. Children, even if deemed incapable in some instances, still deserve to have as many tools in their toolbox as an adult does. They should be taught more than just to hide and hope, or worse, nothing at all because we don’t want to scare or traumatize them. Most parents typically give their children only some of the necessary tools; only the tools that will be less likely to scare or alarm them. There are numerous examples, however, where parents provided more tools to their children and it paid off by potentially preserving their lives.

A perfect example of this is the recent attempted child abduction where a very young  girl (5-6 years old) was grabbed by an adult male who started running away with the child. What did this child do? She bit him, scratched him, kicked him, and screamed.

And she got away!!!!

Now think about this:

Someone taught her to fight! And because someone taught her to fight she lived!

She didn’t go out looking to fight. She didn’t go out looking to be abducted so she could “use her skills”. She didn’t go out scared that she would be abducted. This child only fought in a situation where she was in danger! She didn’t go to the danger nor did she create the danger. It was created for her and she was trained to react. She had been provided with options and she used them. Wouldn’t it be a shame had that child been abducted because her parents were concerned about “scaring her” or “sheltering her from the reality of violence”?  We all teach our kids to stay away from strangers, not to take anything from them, etc so we acknowledge that the danger exists, otherwise we wouldn’t find it necessary to say anything at all to them. Teaching them avoidance is great, but it’s only a part of the safety equation. There are aggressive criminals that will take a child against their will regardless of whether the child comes to them willingly or not. It happens daily throughout the world. It happened in the example above.

Finally, we have no problems teaching our kids about the dangers of fire, do we? From the day we step foot into school until the day we retire from work we practice fire drills. We have no issues with “scaring” our kids in regards to fire danger, do we? Yet, do you know how many people die in fires in either a school or workplace each year? Very, very few to none! Yet, we practice and practice for this danger all our lives. Comparatively, there are thousands that become victim to violence, abduction, etc and we do little to train for this possibility, which is very high relative to fire danger.

Again, the fact is that the violence and danger exists regardless of our attempts to shelter ourselves and/our children from it. Everyone must be prepared to consciously avoid becoming a victim and, to react quickly and effectively should they be chosen as a victim regardless of age.

So the Options Are?

We can either run or hide
We can fight, or not
We can lockdown or evacuate
We can do something, or not.
We can be a helpless victim, or we can fight for our lives and others

So the Bottom Line:

Our goal in our training is to teach people - children, adults, young adults, elderly, patients, disable, etc how to give themselves the best chance to survive a violent encounter. The best way to do this is to not be there in the first place. Next comes escape, followed by hide/shelter, followed by fight.  What we are advocating for is giving everyone the most effective tools and options to accomplish survival goals in the above order of preference. There will be times when you either use physical means to defend your life or you will either die or be seriously injured. And again, criminals, most of the time, do not care how old you are.

Again, the age and ability of those that you are charged to care for (the disabled, elderly, elementary school children, etc) can change the level of training and responsibility required of those who care for them. As a caregiver, you will simply be required to do a lot more than those who can take care of themselves.

Everyone just has to do something! And training to possess and effectively utilize as many options as possible is simply smart and responsible.