Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dealing with Serious Threats at the ICF/IID Level

Inland Regional Center from
For those of us working in the ICF/IID field, the unthinkable happened yesterday in California when a shooting took place at a facility for people with developmental disabilities.  The facility serves several thousand people and has an employee list of over five hundred.  This type of shooting could have just as easily have happened in Texas at a state supported living center, a local LAR facility in just about any county, a state run small facility, an HCS setting, or even a private ICF/IID home.  

The shooting in California at a state run facility has brought the very real threat of a potential attack here in Texas home (News Report).  This was not a shooting in a mall, movie theater, or some other large public event where a shooter decided to harm others.  This shooting took place in a facility where people work with people who have developmental disabilities.  It took place with people who could have been our co-workers.  I encourage all facilities to consider putting policies and procedures in place to deal with a threat within the facility immediately or to review your current policy and procedures for these types of events.  This threat could come in the form of a telephone call, digital threat, employee, family member, or an unknown person.  We need to be prepared.  

I am pasting a potential policy and procedure here.  If you wish to have a Word format copy, please email me at (My QIDP)  I will be happy to share this policy with any facility or organization.  If you have specific questions about the policy, do not hesitate to ask me.  If you would like for me to provide training for dealing with a potential event (threat) at your facility, we can arrange that for a small fee to cover travel and expense.  This is too important to minimize.  The shooting in California brings this close to home.  We have very comprehensive disaster plans in most ICF/IID settings in Texas, but I seriously doubt everyone's plan addresses the kind of events we saw unfold yesterday.  

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Policy and Procedure


Armed Threat, Terrorist Threat or Violence Policy and Procedure

It is the policy of the facility to take all precautions possible to ensure the safety and well-being of residents (clients), staff, and visitors during any potential armed threat, terrorist threat or violent threat made toward the facility, a specific individual(s), or on the property owned by the facility at all times.


Telephone or Electronic Threat

1.     In the event of a telephone, text, fax, electronic, or digital threat made against the facility, a specific individual(s) or toward the property owned by the facility, the facility will take immediate action and notify 911 services and the Administration.
2.     A threat against a building or property will be reason for immediate evacuation from the building or property unless otherwise directed by city, county, state or federal officials designated to respond to the threat.
3.     A threat against a specific individual(s) will result in immediate protective action as follows:
a.     Notification of local law enforcement
b.     Follow directions of local law enforcement
c.      Secure or lock down the building or property

Armed Threat / Terrorist Threat or Violence

1.     If there is an armed threat, terrorist threat, or violence event at the facility or on the property of the facility, the facility will take immediate action in response:
a.     If possible, lock the facility or property to slow or stop the event from occurring or proceeding.
b.     If the event has occurred within the property, secure residents (clients) and visitors away from the event as quickly as possible including the possibility of evacuation or lock down.
c.      Immediately notify 911 – follow directions
d.     Leave the 911 line open to allow officials to possibly monitor events as they unfold
e.     Report all known information, including descriptions, number of individuals involved, injured, locations within the facility, etc.
f.      Move residents (clients), visitors, and staff away from any known threat area as orderly and as quickly as possible if move can be accomplished safely.
g.     Care for any injured as quickly as possible
2.     If the event leads to a hostage situation follow these procedures:
a.     Remain as calm as possible
b.     Listen closely to any directions from those holding hostages
c.      Follow directions if provided
d.     In the event of a rescue, be prepared to cooperate with rescuers immediately.

Standing Rules

1.     For any potential event of an armed threat, terrorist attack, or violence, there are certain measures the facility will have in place:
a.     Evacuations routes will be clearly posted.
b.     Security and safety of all residents (clients), visitors and staff will be priority.
c.      Facility address and phone number should be placed clearly next to each phone within the facility.
d.     During non-business hours, and at all times for ICF/IID homes, the facility should be locked and secured with the obvious exception of such times as residents (clients) are using outside facilities.
e.     All staff will be trained on this policy.
f.      The facility will have one “Armed Threat / Terrorist Threat or Violence Threat” drill each calendar year.
g.     The administration will review and revise procedures pending results of the annual drill.
h.     Any part of this policy and procedure may be modified, changed or deleted at any time during the year by administration and at anytime during an actual event by city, county, state, or federal officials designated to respond with an event.
i.       Once security has been maintained, the Administrator or Designee will notify DADS of the incident and follow recommendations or outlines as directed.
j.       The facility will designate one person to act as “Spokesperson” for the facility.  The spokesperson will respond to any news or media questions or inquiries on a local, state, or national level. 
k.     Staff other than the spokesperson may only respond to any news and media questions with “No comment” unless otherwise given permission by the spokesperson or the facility Administrator or designee.

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