CAREER ADVANCEMENT / AUG. 23, 2014
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Would You Know What to do if Your Life was in Danger at Work Right Now?

Look around the place where you do your work. Do it right now if you are there. Go ahead, take a good look. Okay, a car or a truck or a train or plane just crashed into the building. How do you get out alive? Now imagine the building just shook everybody in the room like blueberries in a blender. You just experienced a major earthquake. Okay, now it’s time to become a victim of criminal attack. A group of heavily armed individuals do not plan on leaving without taking every cent in the building. What do you?

The events of September 11, 2001, as it has been noted on many occasions, changed everything. As it wasn’t enough to have to deal with the occasional natural or accidental disasters, now you must be prepared for a terrorist attack in which the weapons of choice could almost quite literally be anything imaginable. Did that guy in the delivery company uniform just drop off a bomb inside that package? Was that backpack under the table in the cafeteria left behind by mistake or by malevolent intention? Do you have a plan for survival in the event of the threat or realization of a dangerous situation.

Start by noting where the exit points are at work. Not just the doors, but the windows. Not just the doors and windows in the area where you work, but all doors and windows that could be a point of escape. Suppose you were in the bathroom and you heard the sound of gunshots going off. Is there any way you could get outside to safety from the bathroom? What about a hiding place? If you can hide long enough, maybe you could eventually get to a place where you could contact the authorities.

Workplace fires have been a safety hazard for as long as there have been workplaces. As recently as September 10, 2001, not too many people ever thought they would have to know plan for the event of a fire resulting from a plane crashing into their business. What would be your plan of escape right now if some other unthinkable cause was behind a sudden conflagration of the building you work in? Are you aware that almost every fire escape is built on the parts of the building that are engineered to support the greatest load? This information could save your life if you happen to work in a very tall building occupied by very well-paid executives. The most structurally solid parts of a building are typically occupied by the highest paid executives. Learn where the offices of the company’s elite are located and chances are you also learn where the most dependable means of escaping fire are located.

Would you recognize a letter bomb if it arrived with the company mail? Here’s a great tip for staying safe at a workplace more likely than most to be targeted by someone with a very serious axe to grind: letter bombs have a nasty habit of blowing up long before they ever get mailed if safety precautions are not taken. That is why so many letter bombs draw suspicion from people who’ve never seen one before. In order to prevent the bomber himself from becoming an unintended victim, the contents of that package have to be secured to an almost excessive degree. Signs to look for include an unusually large waste of tape, oily or greasy stains, a ridiculous amount of PERSONAL stamps in an attempt to make sure someone in particular opens the package, wires poking through the envelope, way more stamps or postage than would seem necessary and any unusual odors. Should any of these signs that you may be dealing with a letter bomb occur, don’t worry about finding a secret way out. Just find the nearest exist, leave and call 911 on the way.

The key to staying safe and secure at work is taking the time to really observe rather than just look. Take notice of every available route to the outside under the most difficult of conditions. Look for ways you could use the furnishings to afford protection against intrusion. Get to know as much of the building as possible just on the offhand chance that knowing there is a secret door to the basement behind the vending machine in the break room could be what stands between you and certain harm.

Image Source: Bad Day at the Office

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