Michael Dorn on the Fear Factor Versus Reality

By Erin Harris | Posted on 11.04.2014 | 0 comments
What are the most common types of violence that pose the biggest threat in your workplace?
With high-profile incidents such as the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT or Aurora, CO, it’s easy to believe—and natural to fear—that active shooter incidents are prevalent. While these kinds of incidents are real and must be prepared for and prevented, it’s also important to be aware that they’re not as common as we think, says public safety expert Michael Dorn.
In a CPI podcast interview, Dorn, Executive Director of Safe Havens International, says that if you ask someone what wild animal kills the most people every year in the US, they might guess sharks, bears, or wolves—but the truth is that there’s an average of 4.2 shark attacks annually worldwide, one fatal bear attack per year, and 150 fatalities from collisions with white-tailed deer.
So what does this mean when it comes to violence where you work?
The worst of your fears is real, says Dorn, but it’s less likely.
The things you don’t think are as dangerous are real too, and they could be more of a problem than you think. But there are ways to manage those situations.
“You may have a major act of violence,” says Dorn, “and you better train and prepare for it—but you will have custody issues; you’ll have people come into a school office that are upset; you’ll have students who have major control issues.”
Replace “school office” and “students” with words that apply to your workplace, and this statement applies to every environment in which any type of violence could occur. You may have a major act of violence, but you will have smaller incidents, and you should have skills to prevent those smaller incidents from turning into big events.  
And the key in every field—whether you work in education, health care, law enforcement, business, anywhere—is to make safety a part of everything you do. “Use evidence-based approaches to prepare for what is, along with the what-ifs,” says Dorn.
Listen to the podcast for details about why safety and prevention help—and how to make them work where you work. The interview focuses on school safety and school bullying, but Dorn’s expertise applies to violence prevention in any field.

Also read FBI Report on Active Shooter Incidents.

Image from Safe Havens International.

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