Infographic: How to Spot the Warnings – Connecting the Dots
In a 2016 Firestorm survey, 92 percent of respondents indicated they were somewhat or very concerned about the threat of an active shooter, bullying, violence or other behavior of concern. Firestorm co-founder, Suzy Loughlin, is an expert at identifying behaviors of concern and training others on how to recognize warning signs and connect the dots before an act of violence occurs. Recently, Suzy, alongside of President/CEO, Jim Satterfield, teamed with the ALICE Training Institute to present a 3-part, armed intruder training session for our friends at Church Mutual. Part one, conducted by Suzy, identified the warning signs of a potential shooter prior to the onset of an attack. The session focused on the Firestorm program BeRThA® (Behavioral Risk Threat Assessment) and its components that include:
Awareness – Educating everyone in the organization on not only what constitutes a “threat,” but also what constitutes “behaviors of concern.”
Reporting – Providing everyone with a means to report what they see or hear, including through an anonymous reporting tool (text, mobile app, voice call, web form).
Central Repository – All behaviors and threats are not equal, but each represents a data point: a dot that, if connected to other dots, presents a picture of someone who may be on a path to violence. It is important that all reports be aggregated in a central repository so that those charged with responding, investigating and analyzing the seriousness of a situation have a means of gathering all available information about a subject.
We have created an infographic summarizing the key points in Suzy’s presentation and the BeRThA® program. The infographic dives into statistics Firestorm has gathered throughout the year and identifies how organizations and schools can spot behaviors of concern before an act of violence occurs.
The BeRThA® program assists schools and organizations alike in identifying, assessing, managing and responding to individuals or groups who may pose threats of violence. There are some guiding principles of the BeRThA® program:
- Threat assessment must be part of an overall strategy to reduce violence. Threat assessment by itself, absent an environment of respect is unlikely to have a lasting effect on the problem of targeted violence. A healthy environment should facilitate:
- Positive role models
- Communication between adults and employees/students
- Conflict management and mediation
- Peer/employee education
- Teachers, administrators and management paying attention to students’ and employees’ social and emotional needs, as well as a student’s academic needs
- No single person has all the skills required to conduct a behavioral threat assessment and no single person should have the sole responsibility to assess the potential risk of a student or employee. The ‘BeRThA®’ program starts with the Board of Education and engages the whole school community. It is designed using best practices and input from hands-on crisis management experience obtained by Firestorm principals and Expert Council Members, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Department of Education and other thought leaders on the topic of school and workplace violence.
- BeRThA® provides school and business personnel with a wealth of information about behavioral threats as well as the availability of responding resources. For example, a student who turns out to be expressing a low level of threat may still be one with a high level of need for intervention, supervision and mental health services. In the light of prevention, identifying a similar student and empower support services that may help address/resolve his or her problems, should be seen as a positive outcome for all involved.