CBS Moneywatch – Jim Satterfield on Active Shooter Countermeasures
Firestorm President Jim Satterfield was pleased to speak with CBS Moneywatch’s Ed Leefeldt recently, on the subject of Active Shooter Preparedness. Ed Leefeldt is an award-winning investigative and business journalist who has worked for Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones, and contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He is also the author of The Woman Who Rode the Wind, a novel about early flight.
The growing business of active shooter countermeasures
“911. What’s your emergency?”
“There’s someone with a gun at the main entrance to the mall.”
–FEMA Institute Emergency Management course on the “Active Shooter”
Our domestic battlefield is evolving as America comes to terms with shooting tragedies like those in Orlando, Florida, and San Bernardino, California, and the drumbeat of far-reaching threats from abroad. Police negotiators who try to talk assailants into freeing hostages, or your hope of survival by taking refuge under desks or in bathroom stalls seem like ancient history, while the 2,500-year old classic “The Art of War” feels like the future.
The Internet is full of governmental advice on how to handle active shooters, and now private industry is also queuing up with programs and products such as ballistic office furniture and trauma kits for when invaders burst through the door.
“We’re not in Kansas anymore,” said Jim Satterfield, president of Firestorm, a company that advertises itself as “America’s Crisis Coach.”
All of this will alter the way you eye your fellow employees, the way your employer scrutinizes you and –perhaps — even the way you look at yourself. Here are some changes that you’ll see:
Spying is a dirty word, even though cameras in malls, at traffic lights and on your own computer could be watching your every move. But as the number of shootings has escalated, with 20 active shooter incidents in each of the past two years, so has spying on employees, which now seems less reprehensible and more like the new reality.
This is particularly true because most shooters bear a familiar face. They aren’t foreign-inspired terrorists, but instead disgruntled employees, unhappy clients or contractors, or just people with bad attitudes about to go over the edge. That means they can be identified.
“Eighty percent of the time if someone has ill-intent, someone else knows about it, and with social media you can identify the threat,” said Satterfield.
To the extent that an employer owns the social media of its company, including employee contact with the public, Firestorm provides “predictive intelligence” and data-mining that can analyze social posts to identify potential problems. Circumstances like the loss of a personal relationship, legal action, humiliation and rejection could be “the triggers for someone on the path to violence,” said Satterfield.
Equally important is “humint”: short for human intelligence. Is someone making threats or simply acting strange? “Most people don’t say something because they don’t want to be a tattletale,” Satterfield said. “The other problem is they don’t know where to report something. You have to have anonymous reporting by texting.”
Because of legal risks to the company, this monitoring should be done by a third party or behind an “informational firewall,” Firestorm’s literature suggested.
This may sound like Big Brother — and your co-workers — are watching you. But Satterfield said the goal of companies shouldn’t be to fire employees who seem ready to explode. In fact, doing so could set him or her off on a rampage. At best, it only passes the problem along to the next company, such as the on-air shooting of two TV journalists in Roanoke, Virginia, by a former fellow staffer who had a troubled employment history.
“Problems don’t go away,” said Satterfield, who remembered the case of a diary found in a break room. The threatening pages were copied and then the diary was returned. A middle-aged woman picked it up, was given counseling and still works at the company. It confirms that anyone of any age has to be taken seriously, since at least six active shooters have been women.