Just in Time for Emergency Preparedness Month:  Situational Awareness Training For HABC’s Benton Building Employees Is Key For Being “Prepared”

Recently Active Shooter Training was conducted for all HABC staff located in the Benton Building.  In light of recent events as a general precaution and to heighten awareness of our surroundings, Heart to Beat, LLC provided three days of training.

The Heart to Beat Trainer emphasized that situational awareness is key – routes to use, accessibility, exits, bathroom locations, how fast you run avoiding chaos. Shooter are planning with new tactics with every new event and we have to be prepared.

We need to know three things:

  1. Develop a plan of action run, hide fight
  2. Know your options during an active shooter event and
  3. React according to your plan.

In order to implement any of these plans, we have to be mentally aware of the OOPA Loop – Observe, Orientate, Decide, and Act. 

Can you answer these quick and simple questions?

  • When there is an incident - Who do you alert?
  • Who handles the communication during an event?
  • Where is the Rallying point for your department?
  • Where is the reunification area?

For this article, we thought it was important to get answers to these questions.  We reached out to Patrick Wheltle to answer and clarify these specific questions as it relates to the Benton Building. 

If there is an event occurring in the Benton Building, your first alert should be to 911. Next the security office phone number is: 410-396-7652.  Give them your name, the floor you are on and the location and the type of incident.  An announcement will be made over the intercom system once Security is notified.  If possible, you should exit the building and go to the Central Rallying Point which has been designated by the HABC Emergency Preparedness group.  Please find your Department location in the photo below.

Each Department has Fire Marshall and there are floor managers responsible for accounting for all personnel on the floor.  Each department has an area at the park across E. Fayette Street where they will meet. If it is determined that there is an active shooter outside, you will be instructed to Shelter in Place and wait for further introductions. 

The reunification area is designated completely away from the emergency site.  The State of Maryland, Emergency Management System (EMS) and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems will provide and coordinate all communications between victims’ families, EMS, and hospitals to determine where to route victims given available trauma center beds.  They will inform families as to the location of the reunification area or the hospital that the injured family member has been sent to.

The CITIZEN app is an app for your mobile device that provides notification of events happening in your immediate area. The notifications are provided in real time.

If you ever find yourself in an active shooter event, you have to ask yourself – What will you do to take your power back, and where will you draw your line?  Your answers will allow you to know your options during an emergency event and react according to your plan. As the kids say – STAY WOKE! (translates to stay aware of your surroundings).