Monday, November 17, 2014

Blue-U Defense Announces Practical Personal Defense Training in Keene and Peterborough NH

Learn How to Prepare for And Win Violent Encounters

Are you willing to spend a lifetime to prepare for one moment? Winning a sudden and violent encounter takes a tremendous amount of preparation, the right mindset, the ability to outthink your opponent, and a toolbox full of highly practical and effective options.

Blue-U will be offering two dates and locations in December for those of you who have not yet taken this course. While we have been extremely busy serving corporations, universities, hospitals, etc. we want to continue to offer our training to the individuals who helped us make this company successful.

As a result, we have scheduled our 4 hour Practical Personal Defense course on the following dates:

Friday December 19, 2014 at the Cheshire County Fish and Game Club from 6pm-9/10pm

Sunday December 21, 2014 at the Peterborough Sportsmans Club from 8am-1pm.

The cost for club members is $40.00/person and $50.00/person for non-members.

Please visit www.blue-u.com  to register. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Should Workplace/School Violence Training Be Focused On?

Violence is chaos! And every incident of violence is unique. There are professionals out there, thankfully, that gather much needed information about incidents of workplace/school violence in an attempt to “make sense of it” so that the conclusions to their research can be used to potentially make us safer.  While this research and the conclusions drawn from it have not yet been successful in finding “the profile of a mass killer”, there are many aspects of it that have played a huge role in developing models and techniques that absolutely contribute to our safety!

The bottom line is, however, is that establishing a Step 1,2,3… type of plan that those involved in an incident of mass violence should adhere to is not feasible to expect. On paper these types of plans may appear to work very well. Even during drills they typically work well; in fact most times they are flawlessly performed! But when the bullets start flying and there is real danger and potential for injury or loss-of-life, plans like this are not going to work for everyone!

Note what I just said:

they are not going to work for everyone”.

To make it clear, I did not say that they weren’t going to work!

There are some who will follow a predetermined plan and will avert injury or death because they followed such a plan. On the other hand, there may be some who are injured or die because they followed a predetermined plan and were not offered the option to do anything else.  

The key to success in an incident of sudden and traumatic violence is the empowerment to make your own decisions and that these decisions be highly effective and made within fractions of a second. In order to do this you must have expertise and an understanding of a few critical things:

1)   You must understand an incident of sudden and traumatic violence
2)   You must understand your adversary
3)   You must understand yourself
4)   You must understand the will to win
5)   You must understand that winning in one moment can mean a lifetime of preparation

This list could go on-and-on.

The one common denominator in each of the above elements, is “Understanding”! And this is what your training should be about. Understanding brings Fast, Effective Decisions!  It is said that understanding something is far more beneficial than knowing something.  Let me give you an example of this by using training to become a law enforcement officer via the Police Academy (although it really applies to training for any career):

Police Officers go away to the Police Academy and learn how to shoot and handcuff, they learn the law, defensive tactics, etc.  And then, upon completion, they are basically told – “now forget about everything you’ve just learned and go out and figure it out on your own”.  They are telling the newly trained officers to go out and understand it. And you quickly start to “experience” and “understand” exactly how everything that you learned applies.  “Now it all makes sense”! But until you really understand it, the information that you  gathered and the techniques that you learned are almost useless.

In the case of workplace/school violence, the most effective way to keep people safe is to raise the level of understanding of as many of the things that contribute to the overall experience of violence and empower them to make their own decisions based on their specific circumstances. 

I have long said that organizations that teach only lockdown for Active Shooter may actually be putting those in their charge in more danger.  Why? You are training them to react in one specific manner that may, or may not, work under the circumstances. In reality, choice and the ability for your employees/students to decide for themselves what the best plan-of-action should be, and having policy that accounts for as many of the potential decisions that may be made, will ultimately be far more effective in keeping them safe.

You can train for incidents of violence in your workplace in many different ways. If, however, you want to focus on the most effective and practical areas, the things that will be generally effective regardless of the circumstances, then bring training to your organization that focuses on understanding of the overall situation, themselves and their adversaries, that fills each of your peoples “toolboxes” with practical and effective “options”, and that brings understanding to the decision making process and how to make good, fast, effective decisions.

Learning and mastering these very general principles will provide the foundation for safety regardless of who the adversary might be or what their goals may be. In other words, whether it be an incident of active shooter/workplace violence, or an incident where you are victimized individually, understanding and applying these principles will help you make faster and more effective decisions.



Monday, November 3, 2014

What is a Workplace Violence/Active Shooter System?

What is a Workplace Violence/ Active Shooter System? Being truly prepared for a sudden incident of violence takes prior preparation, planning, training, drilling, coordination, definition of duties, policy that covers options, understanding of exactly what this type of an incident does to potential victims, understanding of the perpetrator and how to find potential threats in advance, understanding of how to manage these potential threats, and understanding how to truly be prepared for such an incident. First, and most importantly however, you must accept that such an incident can happen within your business and that you must take steps to prepare your people to respond successfully. Second, you must truly desire to provide the means necessary to give your “people’, your “most important assets”, the ability to survive and keep themselves and others safe. There is a huge difference between real, thoughtful and meaningful training and “training just to say you trained”.

 As we continuously talk with businesses, schools, universities, hospitals, etc., in most cases, preparedness amounts to employees reading and signing off on an Emergency Preparedness Plan. In even fewer cases, some institutions have a lockdown policy that is practiced on occasion. Rarely, however, will we come across schools and/or companies that have really recognized the potential for danger and have taken multiple steps in training and preparation to keep their people safe. Congratulations if you are one of them!

 The problem is that training in preparation for violence must be methodical, effective, practical, and complete. The plan and preparation cannot be delivered in a manner where there is no logical path to an end goal, as most are. Your plan must build on a foundation that carries an understandable plan and path to an ultimate goal.

 So how do you get from little knowledge and understanding, to complete knowledge and understanding? First, it takes a significant commitment. It takes understanding and acceptance that it is going to take time, effort and financial resources. It takes a genuine desire to want to give your most important assets the tools to survive a sudden, violent encounter within your organization rather than a minimal plan just to say that its been covered because its required by OSHA’s General Duty Clause. It takes expertise and passion. The biggest problem? Most just don’t think it can or will happen in their business. But then again, neither did any of the businesses that have been unfortunate victims. Victim businesses typically do whatever is necessary, following an incident within their walls, to prevent it from happening again. Why they do this is obvious. The thing is that the chance of being victimized a second time is far less likely than even the first time.

So what are the elements of a complete and effective 

Workplace Violence/Active Shooter Safety System: 


Awareness of the potential for an incident within your business/school Acceptance of the potential for an incident within your business/school Policy – Complete, Practical, and Written For Your School/Business Incident Command Training and Planning Mental Preparedness, Understanding, and Reaction Training  Training in Making Good, Fast and Effective Decisions Drills – Live and Tabletop Tactics Training – Mental Tactics Training – Physical (Run, Hide or Fight is not enough)Communications – You must have effective and reliable communications within your facilityThreat Assessment and Management Policy and Procedures – Everyone must be trained to recognize and manage potential threats Physical Site Security An effective means to keep current and new employees/students trained


The mastering of all of these elements will equal a highly effective Workplace Violence/Active Shooter System. And remember, EVERYONE within your organization must be trained in all of the elements of an effective Workplace Violence/Active Shooter System! There is strength in numbers! This means all employees if you are a business, and students and staff if you are a school. 


 Would establishing and mastering such a system be difficult? No doubt, it would definitely take commitment and a real desire to keep your people safe! It would not, however, be nearly as difficult as you might think. It takes a commitment, a plan, and an understanding that it will take time.

 In the end, it doesn’t matter who you use to assist you in achieving your goals in these areas:

 JUST TRAIN AND PLAN! 

 To experience our training please consider attending our Complete Business Safety Course that we are providing in Manchester NH on Friday, November 21, 2014 from 8am-4pm. We will be presenting our complete Workplace Violence/Active Shooter Course, Practical personal Protection and Drug Recognition for Employers. The registration fee is $200.00/Person. You can register at www.blueUCorporate.com 

 If you need assistance in determining what you need to achieve your violence safety goals, please contact Lt Terry Choate Blue U Corporate Services tchoatejr@blueUcorporate.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

There is Strength in Numbers. Don't Forget Your Most Important Assets

There is Strength In Numbers Don’t Forget Your Most Important Assets

In any business or educational institution, what is your most important asset? Your employees, students, patients, clients! People! And we protect our most important assets, right? We develop policy designed to keep them safe while they are in our charge; and depending on the potential danger, we practice, conduct classroom training, and drill safety into their minds. From the moment we step foot into kindergarten, and even prior to that, we are taught what to do in the incident of a fire. Training for fire safety continues throughout our lives as a part of every school and business’s overall safety plan. And every business and school, for the most part, has Emergency Preparedness Plans and associated policies. This is great! We need to have policy and procedure for these types of incidents.

Here’s where the problems come in:

Without the appropriate time committed to training for each and every potential specific threat that may surface within our organization, effectiveness in our plans and policies will lack greatly. We have a responsibility to our schools/companies and our employees/students to do everything possible to train them to stay safe! It’s just impossible to cover every potential threat to a point of proficiency. What we can do, however, is train them in some very basic principles that can provide significant advantage regardless of the potential danger! We can instill a mindset of leadership, a process for making exceptional decisions during sudden and traumatic incidents, an ability to see opportunity, educate them on the process of team forming, empower them to take control of unplanned critical incidents and take control away from adversaries using tactics that only call for violence as an absolute last resort. We can teach them to out-think their adversary! Winning the battle of the mind is what this is all about! When attempting to analyze a competition and determine a potential winner, what are some of the things we consider? What types of things provide advantage to one person/team over another? Size, strength, numbers, weapons, skill, etc. In a one-on-one match-up, skill will almost always determine a victor. However, other things can completely eliminate this advantage of “skill”. Example : A 10 year old black-belt in martial arts will likely not overpower and defeat a grown adult male with absolutely no self defense training. Why? Size and strength will assuredly overpower this skill. Similarly, 5 untrained adult males would likely prevail over the worlds single most experienced and talented street fighter. Now consider placing a high capacity semi-automatic firearm in the hand of a small child, experienced with the weapon, against the top 5 most experienced and talented adult fighters. In this case, the child with the weapon may prevail. If, however, these adult males, even with no fighting experience, have the appropriate skills in making fast and effective decisions, they can prevail over this child, or even an adult, with a firearm. They must, however, be immediately looking for the weakness in their opponent and looking for an opportunity to do something, in order to prevail. But there is strength in “numbers” (students, employees, clients, staff, etc)! Especially if and when the “numbers” are trained!

What am I trying to say?

In an incident of workplace or school violence (an active shooter incident as an example), whether we have extensive training, or not, numbers is our greatest advantage. Remember, the students/employees will be everywhere! Our adversary cannot account for the whereabouts of anyone other than those within his/her direct line of sight. This means that everyone outside of his/her sight is available to do something. In this type of an incident, we need everyone to be capable of playing a leadership role even if only in a formed small “cell” put together rapidly to “do something” designed to play a role in an overall victory! And “doing something” can be many things including keeping themselves and others safe, evacuating or locking down, assisting in evacuating or locking down, stopping the threat or assisting in stopping the threat!

The Bottom Line: 

Too many businesses and schools stop their critical incident training short of their “numbers”. Employees and students will likely always far outnumber staff and administration. Not training your “numbers” is the equivalent of taking them out of the fight and creating a more dangerous situation for themselves and others. And taking your “numbers” out of the productivity potential of the incident is not only giving away your greatest advantage back to your opponent, its not making use of a tremendous potential resource. Everyone within your charge should be trained to take on a leadership role if they are capable, to do something productive (whether it be protecting themselves or others) during such an incident, or in a last resort situation, stop the threat. This should be a part of your overall safety plan. Remember, in most shooter situations, you will be on your own!

We hope to see you at our Complete School/Business Safety Training Course on November 21, 2014 at The Executive Court in located at the Executive Court Inn in Manchester NH. To register please visit www.blueUcorporate.com

Friday, October 10, 2014

Blue-U Defense is Offering a Unique, Practical and Complete, Single Day Business Safety Course - Friday November 21, 2014 Manchester NH

Blue-U Defense is holding the most complete, single day, business security and Drug Recognition for Employers training available. This is a complete offering of our most popular and requested courses including Understanding Active Shooter/Workplace Violence, Practical Personal Defense and Drug Recognition for Employers all in a one day, single session event at The Executive Court Inn, 13500 S Willow St, Manchester NH from 8am-4pm on Friday November 21, 2014. Our courses are in extremely high demand as they are highly unique, extremely effective and utilize very practical tactics. Our Instructors are full time NH Law Enforcement Professionals to include SWAT Team Leadership positions. The likelihood of violence within your business, school or healthcare facility rises every week. Did you know that OSHA, through their General Duty Clause, requires you to keep your employees safe from workplace violence and active shooter situations? What would you and your employees do if such a sudden and traumatic incident took place within your business? See why our company has quickly become a leader in business safety training! This is must attend training! Please visit for complete details of this training and to register.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Making Good Decisions Things To Consider as an Incident Commander 

 When an incident of sudden potential danger arises, the Incident Commander will be expected too make fast, effective and successful decisions with an ultimate purpose of keeping those in their charge safe. The Incident Commander will be looked upon as “the expert”, “the one with the training and qualifications” and therefore expected to know exactly what to do. The best Incident Commanders will work in advance to train everyone in their charge to not only protect themselves, but to provide them with reliable and appropriate information. The best Incident Commanders will train everyone in their charge to be as proficient in making their own decisions as they are. The problem with proficiency in Incident Command is that every single situation that arises is unique and dynamic. This makes it virtually impossible to prepare for any one specific situation. It is, therefore, necessary to become proficient in managing fear, remaining calm and establishing some general goals that must be accomplished, regardless of the details of the incident that you are managing.

When an incident of sudden potential danger emerges inside of your school, you must immediately consider what you will need to know to make fast and effective decisions.

Some of these things are: 

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How

The success of decisions will only be as good as the information considered in making the decisions. So, as far as advance planning, who is going to provide you with this information? Most likely it could be one of many people. This means that everyone must be trained, in advance. How might you train one to provide good information? In general, it’s extremely difficult. In order for an incident to be successfully resolved it must include far more than just the Incident Commander directing others. So if an Incident Commander must be proficient in managing fear, controlling their heart rates, and making good, fast and effective decisions, then everyone within an organization must be proficient in the these same areas.

Some things to consider when someone reports a problem?

Your immediate goal is to obtain as much information as possible so that you can make good decisions. Consider what first responders will need to know to quickly address the threat Consider the level of the threat. Is it really a threat or only a potential threat? You can elevate a potential threat to an actual threat if you do not handle it properly. What do you need to do to isolate the threat? Should you even attempt to isolate the threat? Should you attempt to confront the suspect on your own? What do you need to do to keep as many safe as possible? Partial lockdown? Partial evacuation? You need get as many people to safety as possible.  

The Importance of Team

 The decisions above, and many more, are types critical decisions that must be made and executed in seconds, or less! While you will be expected and required to make the ultimate decisions, you cannot expect to receive the details required to make these decisions without relying on others, your team, to provide them. What is a team in this case? Everyone within your organization! This includes administrative, supervisory, employees and students! Think about this: Your administrative staff to student/employee ratio is, relatively speaking in instances where the more overall people that you have the better, very low. In an active shooter situation it should be hundreds vs. one, in most cases (there have been instances where more than one shooter was present). In instances of violence you need your entire team trained to react to protect themselves, stop or contain the threat and provide you with information. If you take the majority of your potential overall team, your students, out of the team equation, you have suddenly cut your advantage way down. Consider this when you question whether or not students should be required to assist and/or potentially proactively offensive: They are there regardless! You can either train them to do something productive for themselves or the good of the overall team, or you can ask them to potentially be “lame-ducks”. One way or the other, they are there! You are doing them a tremendous disservice by not properly training them as a critical and core function of the team.

Training and Planning

So the best thing that you can do as a likely Incident Commander is plan and train. Just like an Commander on a battlefield, coach of a sports team, CEO of a company, you must prepare all of your team members in advance in their respective areas of responsibility, train, and practice. You must regularly think about various incidents and exactly how you might respond to them. You are not going to be an effective Incident Commander if the first time you have to make real decisions is the first time that you think about the decisions that you might have to make. Training, in order to be effective, must include a good combination of both classroom and practical (Live Drills and Table Top Exercises). Again, consider a football or any sports team – you practice regularly, study, receive lecture, get into the appropriate physical condition for the game. Why? So that you are best prepared to win! Imagine how bad a team would perform if they never practiced! Imagine how much worse they would be if they never did anything except talk periodically about playing. Just gather a bunch of people together and go play a game against another team! It would be absurd. You cannot expect to perform any differently than how you train. If you don’t train, discuss, mentally prepare, and constantly better yourself, you will lose!

Training in Incident Command is a must! Please make arrangements to get it done.

Blue-U Incident Command Training

 Blue-U Defense will begin offering Incident Command training as a part of our new Blue-U Active Shooter Systems program. We will also offer it as a stand-alone course. 

For more information please contact Lt Terry Choate tchoatejr@blueUcorporate.com

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.