Tips to Protect Your Office, Staff, and Self
Recently an armed man entered a Chiropractic office to “use the bathroom” and proceeded to stab Dr. Arthur Sixkiller.
Police say they were called to Dr. Arthur Sixkiller’s office on 108 South Adair on a report of a possible hostage situation. Witnesses told police Grybowski came into the office asking to use the bathroom.
Grybowski saw Dr. Sixkiller at the back of the clinic and attacked, stabbing him in the abdomen, Pryor Creek Police posted on their Facebook page.
“Dr. Sixkiller was able to free and barricade himself in an office until officers could arrive,” the post states. –source
Immediately our thoughts went to our colleagues who may be at risk.
How do you protect your office from the same?
The situation where someone asks to use your bathroom comes up quite a bit actually. Most office locations have on-site restrooms and some of those require a key.
The simple response should be to politely decline the request. But, life’s not so simple sometimes.
As care providers, our natural instinct is to offer help and provide a solution.
- Make sure the person requesting to use your restroom is an active patient on file
This might be your first innate check down anyways – but it makes sense. Someone walking in out of the blue into your office to use your restroom should raise a flag, especially if they are not a patient.
2. Try your best to have another member of your team to escort any individual to the restroom
This should be applied to opening and closing the office as well. Although it may be difficult to schedule due to a variety of reasons, you and your office are safer in numbers.
After hours—Don’t work late alone. Let someone know where you are and how long you intend on staying. Create a buddy system for walking to parking lots or public transportation or ask security to escort you. Never open the door to a stranger after hours.
Keep your purse, wallet, keys, or other valuable items with your at all times or locked in a drawer or closet. Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office—ask whom they are visiting and if you can help them find that person. Don’t forget to request identification from service or utility workers as well. If this makes you uncomfortable, inform security or management about your suspicions. Do not allow visitors to be alone in your office space. Be sure to provide an escort at all times.
3. Install Office Panic Buttons
4. Install Office Security Cameras
That actually record.
Reception area—Is the receptionist equipped with a panic button for emergencies, a camera with a monitor at another employee’s desk, and a high security lock on the front door that can be controlled? Stairwells and out-
5. Lock Doors During Non-Patient Time
- Check for high security locks, such as Medeco®, or electronic access control units on all doors— closets that have private information or hazardous materials, outside doors, basements, are a few to consider.
- Verify that any electronic access control unit in use has secure key bypass utilizing patented control of duplication of keys. Any access control unit is only as good as its mechanical override devices.
- Make sure all doors are solid. Look for sheet steel on both sides of back and basement doors. Make sure doorframes and hinges are strong enough that they cannot be pried open. Lock steel bars or door barriers with high security padlocks that have a hardened steel body and shackle to resist drills, hammers, blowtorches, and bolt cutters. Be certain all windows are secure. If doors only have a locking knob or lever, install or have installed, a deadbolt for additional security.
- Have management change locks before you move into a new office unless they can account for all keys and provide assurance that keys have not been made without their knowledge. Don’t assume someone else has reported a door
What if the situation goes Stage 5?
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- Attract attention to your situation. Do not think that you can resolve all situations because of your skills of de-escalation. Immediately call for assistance or activate your man down device. Your radio and other corrections tools will be taken by the inmates for control so if at all possible break off keys in door locks or break radios so they can’t here institutional communications.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and remember who the ring leader of the situation is.
- Create a rapport with your hostage takers, but you must do so with dignity and self-respect. Inmates will view frailty and feebleness as weakness and will show you no respect or favor. This rapport may save your life but weakness may lead to victimization.
Bottom Line: Take Safety Seriously
Just as Chiropractic promotes preventive health measures a Chiropractor should do the same with office, staff, and personal safety.