Sunday, September 28, 2014

Lockdown! Is it the Best Choice for Schools and Businesses?

If you have charge over others, whether it be a teacher at school, supervisor of a business, healthcare professional with patients, etc, what is your responsibility when a potentially dangerous situation is reported or known to you? This is a question that, all too often, creates for confusion. Unfortunately, it should! I think that, on one hand, the responsibilities are either viewed as, or written to be, overly complicated yet, on the other hand, far too general in nature. Why do I say this? Let's use the following, very simple, scenario as an example: A student/employees sees another student/employee inside of their school/business with a firearm inside of a bag and reports it to you. What exactly does your policy call for you to do? If you are not certain about what your policy says or you do not have a policy, then what makes the most sense? Most school policies require that you go immediately into lockdown. Lets look at a very standard Lockdown Procedure: 1) Students and staff report to the nearest room 2) Close and lock all doors and windows 3) Cover all hallway doors and windows if possible/necessary 4) Move students so they cannot be seen and to the best area to protect them 5) Turn off lights 6) Remain silent 7) If fire alarm is activated DO NOT evacuate 8) Wait for further instructions 9) Be prepared to institute other actions as necessary In a recent incident at a Manchester NH High School, a non-student was seen inside of the school carrying a bag with a firearm and knife inside of it. It was reported that a student informed a teacher and a lockdown was ordered. Reports following the incident stated that the Principal and Staff followed protocol and executed their plan perfectly. Since this time Ive had requests from schools to confirm exactly what plan they should have in place for this type of an incident. So lets think through an incident like this and attempt to determine whether "Lockdown" is an appropriate, automatic protocol. First of all, if you see a potential danger, or one is reported to you, what is your immediate goal? I would hope that you would say to keep yourself and others safe! So you must take an appropriate and immediate action to start the process of accomplishing this goal. The problem in this initial response is that your first step may be quite different depending upon your "responsibility". If you are a student, you have no responsibility to protect others and, therefore, your initial step may be to get quickly away and to safety; maybe even evacuate the building before reporting the problem. If, on the other hand, you are a faculty member, your initial step may be more towards a goals of protecting others as much as protecting yourself. So, even at this very initial stage, there are dynamics in effect that, depending upon what your goals and responsibilities are and what your choices are as a result of those goals and responsibilities, can impact the overall outcome of the situation. Ultimately, one of your top priorities is going to be to call 911 and get help started. This is a very normal reaction in those who find themselves in danger. If you want fast and effective help, however, law enforcement is going to require detailed information. Where is the person now? What is the physical description of the person? What is the person doing? What did the person say? Will you have all of this information? Maybe, however this will only be the case depending upon the choices that were made upon initial contact with the person. If someone sees another with a firearm or other dangerous weapon and has concern for the safety of others, is it best to walk away to report it and leave the suspect to potentially harm others? Think about this: If the suspect is seen on the far east side of the building, does it makes sense to have those on the far west side of the building lock down, as opposed to evacuate? Should this subject begin to harm people, you have now entombed those who potentially could've gotten to safety were it not for an automatic lockdown response. The problem is, when you walk away from a threat, you have no idea where they go and who they potentially place in danger. You have no idea what they are doing. You will not have the most important information needed by law enforcement as they respond to resolve the situation. Again, as each step progresses, an automatic response becomes less and less practical and less and less safe! In order for law enforcement to resolve a dangerous situation quickly, we must know details of who, what, where and when. As an example, many time we respond to facilities for a panic alarm investigation. The problem is, we have no idea why the panic alarm has been activated. Is it a medical emergency? Armed robbery? Error in activation? So we arrive with absolutely no idea why we are responding. Unfortunately, this adds a tremendous amount of time to ultimate resolution. Lockdown is a wonderful tool! However, its only a tool and this doesn't mean that it is the best tool for every circumstance! Schools and businesses in their entirety, to include staff, students, employees, etc, must be trained to understand sudden and traumatic situations and how to quickly formulate an effective "team" plan that will bring an incident to conclusion quickly and safely. Every staff member, employee, student, etc must understand that a policy exists, what its purpose is for them specifically as well as overall, and be training in how to react to an incident of violence or danger in the school/workplace. In the example above, training might bring the quick ability for the student to quickly recruit another to covertly watch the potential threat while they go and report it. A plan of this type established in advance would mean very quick and effective reaction. It may mean confronting the person while they are free of danger as the weapons are inside of a bag. There are so many potential options available if everyone is appropriately trained, in advance. If lockdown is only one potentially usable and highly valuable tool, training brings the additional tools. We all have a toolbox and training fills them with options. And options are the bottom line: In a sudden and traumatic incident of violence, those involved need to be empowered to make their own decisions about what they are going to do. These decisions should be based on the circumstances that they face at the specific time that they face them. Its difficult to provide protocol that will work every time. Its dangerous to so as a result. The goal should be to train your most important assets, your people (students, staff, employees, teachers, etc) to react to many different kinds of incidents.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Stand Your Ground Seminar Scheduled for Oct 4th at Peterborough Sportsman's Club

We are pleased to announce that we will be conducting a Stand Your Ground/Making Good Use of Force Decisions Seminar at the Peterborough Sportsman's Club located on Old Peterborough Rd in Dublin NH. This course is scheduled for Saturday October 4, 2014 from 9am-1pm. We are very pleased to be able to hold this seminar at this club! If you have not attended this course it is imperative that you do if you are a firearm owner and are prepared to use them in a self defense situation. If you think you understand Stand Your Ground, think again! This course also combines some of our material from our Practical Personal Defense Seminar. When you take this course you will leave with a completely new way of thinking about personal defense and have some extremely practical defensive tactics that can be utilized immediately. Please register at the Seminar Registration Tab above (www.blue-u.com). The cost is $50/Person. If you do not use Paypal and wish to attend please send me an email at tchoatejr@blueucorporate.com and provide the names of anyone who will be attending. Please keep in mind that there is a maximum attendance so if you do not register in advance via Paypal honoring your verbal commitment is critical. If you tell me that you are going to be there, please be there so that all open seats can be filled. We are looking forward to this event and hope that you will join us.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pay for 1 / Bring 1 Free Offer for June 20th Practical Personal Defense Course

Blue-U Defense Offers Promotional for June 20 Practical Personal Defense Seminar at Cheshire County Fish and Game Club

As a value-added promotional to previous and new attendees of our courses, we are offering a
Pay for 1/Bring 1 Free package to the Practical Personal Defense Seminar that is scheduled for Cheshire County Fish and Game Club on June 20, 2014 from 6:00pm-9/10:00pm. If you are interested in attending this course you can bring a friend, spouse, child, etc for the price of a single attendee $50.00.

If you would like to register please email your name(s) and email address to tchoatejr@blueucorporate.com. You can either pay at the door or prepay via Paypal at  the seminar registration tab above.

This course is packed full of numerous, highly effective and practical, ways to avoid conflict and protect yourself should the need arise. For those who have attended our Stand Your Ground or Active Shooter/Workplace Violence courses, you have received a small portion of some of the methods and theories that this course offers. The methods and theories that we teach are extremely unique and highly effective. It is an ideal course for women and children over the age of 12 years old and includes topics that will keep you and your family safe while at work, home or anywhere that you might be.

We look forward to your participation. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Blue-U Corporate Defense is Offering a Free Active Shooter/Workplace Violence/Practical Personal Defense Workshop for Local Executives, School Administrators and Director Level Security Personnel

Blue-U Corporate Defense will be conducting a free Active Shooter/Workplace Violence Workshop on Tuesday July 15, 2014 from 1000am-1130am at Samson Manufacturing located at 4 Forge St in Keene NH. The workshop is being offered to corporate executives, school administrators, director-level security professionals, and others responsible for decision-making in the areas of safety in the workplace.

You can't go any more than a couple of days without hearing of yet another incident of school or workplace violence or a mass shooting. Is your business and are your most valuable assets, your people, ready for such an event? Further, do you have your "people" ready to avoid and react appropriately to violence while away from work? If "people" are your most valuable assets, protecting them while away from work is just as important as protecting them while at work, right?

We have designed this greatly abbreviated version of our complete Active Shooter/Workplace Violence/Practical Personal Protection training course to give those responsible for security within the workplace a very usable overview of the extremely unique, practical and highly effective methods that we teach.

Many businesses just don't realize that training and planning in the areas of active shooter and/or workplace violence are an OSHA requirement under the General Duty Clause. Further, Assault/Violence/Homicide are the number two cause of death in the workplace amongst men and the number one cause of death amongst females. We train for fire from the time that we first enter kindergarten and continue this training through our working years when death or injury in the workplace from fire is extremely rare. Conversely, few business train and plan for an incident of active shooter or workplace violence even when the likelihood of such an incident is far greater than that of fire.

While this workshop will present a greatly abbreviated version of only one of many of our training courses that we offer, it is eye opening and will provide you with highly valuable and usable tools that can be put into practice immediately. It will also provide for a "mindset of safety" that will positively impact your lives away from work as well as while at work.

We will be offering this workshop in Manchester within the next couple of months as well.

To register for this course, please email your name, company, title, and phone number to tchoatejr@blueucorporate.com.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Practical Personal Defense Seminar Scheduled for Friday June 20th at Cheshire Fish and Game

Due to the demand for our Practical Personal Protection Seminar, we have scheduled this for Friday June 20, 2014 from 6-9/10pm at the Cheshire Fish and Game Club located in Keene NH. 

This seminar is a perfect follow-up for those who have attended our Stand Your Ground Seminar in which we provide a very general scope of this complete seminar. Our Practical Personal Defense Seminar is 3-4 hours packed full of extremely practical and highly effective ways to keep your self safe while at home, at work, or anywhere that you might find yourself throughout the course of each day. 

Reserve your seat by emailing your intention to participate to tchoatejr@blueucoporate.com or pay in advance via Paypal at www.blue-u.com under the Seminar Registration tab. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Active Shooter/Workplace Violence - Our Natural Instincts - Are They Helpful or Hurtful?

When it comes to violent encounters, the timeliness and effectiveness of reaction is the key to success. In most cases, you literally have only fractions of a second to make sense of what is going on, deciding what to do about it and then actually putting your plan into action. Think about that!  Fractions of a Second! And think about the sources of information that you will have to process to make a good decision! And remember, you can't make a bad decision in such an incident because people who have no understanding, because they weren't there, will "monday morning quarterback" and criticize your decisions and actions if the outcome is not favorable. 

Think about this:

If you are convicted of a crime due to a well-meaning yet not-so-good decision, how is it possible to achieve a "jury of your peers"? To make sense of whether what someone did under a stressful, possibly life or death situation, would you not have to understand it yourself? And can you possibly understand if you weren't there or have never experienced a sudden, life or death situation? How many people have? 

Scary! It tells you that the outcome of a trail can be completely erratic. 

Anyway, that was digression! The bottom line, if you find yourself in a sudden, violent, potentially life or death encounter, coming to an educated, calm and quick decision on what you are going to do to save your life is absolutely imperative!

So, this being the case, you need as many, experiences behind you as you can possibly have. Yes you need experience! You need to be calm. You need to be able to think clearly and quickly. You need to be "more ready" and "more prepared" than your attacker. 

Luckily, we have some natural gifts to get us started:

Fear, Intuition, Will-to-Power

But are these all good? They are all good to one extent or another and depending on not only your awareness of them, but how well you heed their warnings. 

Lets take a look at a few of these natural gifts:

Fear

Consider the results of fear:

Sweatiness, Tunnel Vision, rapid heart rate, shakiness, dizziness, anxiety, helplessness, numbness, tightness of the chest, breathlessness, weakness. 

Are any of these good things at a time when you need to be operating at peak levels? 

Intuition

What is Intuition?
The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational process; a sense of something not evident or deductible. “A gut feeling”, “a hunch” or “a sixth sense”
Intuition is not a conscious process and it is not a step-by-step procedure using logic, reasoning and/or common sense
So for intuition to be of any value at all, we need to first be able to recognize it and, ultimately, heed its warning! This may sound extremely fundamental and obvious yet, how many after learning of a bad incident say things like "I knew there was something wrong with that guy", or "he looked very out-of-place", or "He told me he was going to do this but I didn't think he was serious", or "that group of young men makes me nervous" (followed by a decision to continue your path towards them because you feel that you are over-reacting? 

Will to Power
Every living being has a basic instinct to survive and ultimately live. Will-to-Power goes beyond this basic instinct. Will-to-Power is your drive to win! Its your will to desire an outcome more than your opponent desires his/hers and your willingness to do whatever is necessary to achieve your desired outcome. 
The bottom line:
Its your will to NEVER GIVE UP! 

So Whats the Bottom Line of All This?
The bottom line is that you must train to enhance the things that are helpful and eliminate the things that are "less-than-helpful". 
Is this possible given that these are natural defense mechanisms? Absolutely. The general key is recognizing these things and understanding them, in detail. We cannot survive on natural defense mechanisms alone. This is why we have the ability to learn. Learning brings understanding and understanding brings tremendous defensive advantage! 
Let me give you an example:
Every healthy human being has an ability to throw a ball. Yet only a very select few have honed this skill enough to be able to successfully pitch in Major League Baseball. 
These major league pitchers have, over a lifetime, focused on learning and practicing the most accepted and tested techniques to allow them to throw a ball more accurately, faster, continuously over a long period of time. 
And this "honing" of natural ability happens in every walk of life. Most strive to become the best at anything that they can in life. And while its not possible to be "the best" at everything, we all wish that we could be, right? So we do whatever we can to, at minimum, be as good as we possibly can. 
Yet, in the areas of self defense, and honing the skills necessary to potentially keep us alive, few spend much time learning even the most basic of skills. Why?
Because we are content! Content to believe that victims of crime are always someone else. This horrible stuff just doesn't happen in small towns does it! Look around and read the news! It happens everywhere! 
Think about the importance of this. In an Active Shooter/Workplace Violence incident, training is critical! We teach you more than Run, Hide or Fight! These are natural instincts that, while learning about them can be helpful, it is not nearly enough. Just train your companies most valuable assets, your people, with as many skills to survive as possible. 




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vulnerability - Understanding Yours

If I asked a class of students to look around the room and point to the person that they feel might be most vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime, some of the things that each person would be looking for in the others, in order to make this determination, would be:

1) Age - Probably the oldest Person
2) Gender - Most likely a female (Big mistake in some cases!)
3) Strength
4) Fitness Level
5) Speed
6) Size

The person chosen would likely have the the highest combination of the worst of each of these attributes, as applied to an ability to defend themselves.

The interesting thing about this?

Few, if any, ever choose themselves!

So, let me tell you this:

We are all potential victims of crime!

Criminals, however, choose their victims in the same way that predators in the animal kingdom choose theirs - they look for vulnerabilities and choose what they see as the overall weakest available "subject" or potential victim to them.

So we must look at ourselves! Both overall and then within each unique circumstance of life, assess our vulnerabilities, and strengthen them. What do I mean by the unique circumstances of life? These are "micro-scenes". They change based on things like where you are, what you are doing, those around you, etc. For example, vacationing and sightseeing in an area that you are unfamiliar with; getting lost and being in an area that you are unfamiliar with; being anywhere that you are just not 100% comfortable with and familiar with the area or the circumstances around you; being anywhere where that there are people around you that you are not familiar with and, therefore, cannot fully trust. So, pretty much, unless you are inside your home, business or other area where you know and trust everyone, you are in a "micro-scene" and you must therefore assess your vulnerabilities and strengthen them. For those of you who have taken our training courses in Practical Personal Defense, this is an ongoing, ever changing process of the mind - very similar to OODA Loop.

To be able to quickly and accurately assess your vulnerabilities while in a "micro-scene", we need first take the time to assess ourselves overall, determine what we have that might be considered weaknesses, and fix those things as quickly as possible. The fewer vulnerabilities that we have in a "micro-scene" the fewer things we'll have to deal with and therefore the quicker we will complete the process and make decisions. For example, if you are weak and out of shape, take steps to correct this! Being in good condition is one of the most critical factors in whether you win or lose a fight! They say that a full fledged fight for one minute is the equivalent of running 5 miles! I can tell you, from experience, that this is absolutely fact!

So, again, fix whatever vulnerabilities that you determine yourself to have that never change regardless of the situation that you find yourselves in - strength, physical conditioning, fighting skills, etc. All of these things "are what they are" and never change regardless of how the situation around you changes.

The second thing that is critical in vulnerability is acute awareness. This alone can be a huge deterrent to those looking for a victim! Most victims of crimes are oblivious to their surroundings! Criminals are looking for potential victims that are "just not paying attention" or "those who appear content" and "feel safe". The bottom line - learn to be acutely aware, at all times!

What else? Intuition! Be aware of it, hone it, and listen to it! So many people just "blow off" their intuition as "ridiculous" or "over-reacting". Don't do this! We have intuition for a reason. It is a tremendous weapon if we recognize and listen to it. If you don't not feel right about something or someone, leave, go the other way, get away from the person, etc.

To learn more about the practical skills of personal defense, please see our schedule of ongoing courses on various topics of defense.