In collaboration with The University of Alabama, Firestorm is pleased to announce the Online Training for Schools launch of BERTHA.
Firestorm® has aggregated best practices from many sources in the mental health, threat assessment, law enforcement and education sectors. Extensive resources include guidance from the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Education, Association of Threat Management Professionals, American Psychological Association, Department of Labor, OSHA, Department of Defense, Colorado School Safety Resource Center and other thought leaders on the topic of school violence. These resources, combined with the experience and learning garnered from hands-on crisis response to episodes of violence by Firestorm Solutions, LLC, resulted in the design of a process and methodology for BERTHA. Integrating this information with the Extensive Firestorm experience in responding to actual episodes of violence has enabled Firestorm to develop both the methodology and processes embodied in the BERTHA program.
BERTHA is an online training program that functions as part of a school’s overall School Violence Prevention Program. With the Behavioral Risk Threat Assessment (BERTHA) process implemented, schools will be able to recognize, and more importantly, respond to early warning signs related to ‘behaviors of concern’ that won’t yet fall into the classification of school violence.
The goal of BERTHA is to identify, assess, manage, and monitor students exhibiting behaviors of concern, long before they pose a threat of violence to themselves or others. The timing of that identification can range from long before commission of a violent act up to just prior to commission of the act, depending on the risk factors present, information available at that time and other situational factors. All behaviors and threats are not equal. It is important that schools charged with responding to reported behaviors of concern or threats/incidents be properly trained, and have a systematic means of gathering information, conducting an investigation and determining the threat level posed by the situation. BERTHA identifies the roles and responsibilities of the individuals and teams required and sets forth the steps to follow upon receipt of a tip/report of an incident/threat or behavior of concern.
The purpose of BERTHA is to enable schools to prevent incidents of school violence in the first instance. It is not a process of prediction. The training is delivered in an online training format for authorized licensee holders. Upon successful completion of the online training, participants will receive a certificate of completion from The University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies.