How to handle workplace violence

WAYNESBORO, Va. (WHSV)-- Workplace violence can happen anywhere at any time. That is why police say it is important to be prepared and know what to do in case of an emergency.

Captain Kelly Walker with the Waynesboro Police Department said the first thing to do when planning for this type of event is to focus on plans of prevention.

If you notice behavioral changes in a colleague that you feel need to be addressed, you should bring those concerns to your supervisor or law enforcement.

Walker said catching these changes early can make a difference by allowing time to reach out to that employee and get them the help they may need.

"We all see things everyday in our normal workplace and we know if someone is exhibiting behavior that is different than what we've seen over the years," Walker said.

Captain Walker also said that simply being a good neighbor in the workplace can go a long way.

However, while prevention is key, you cannot always stop these events from happening.

Walker said the best resources to use when preparing in case of an acitve shooter situation are the guidelines set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

"They have a very good public training program that is available to business, churches, and other groups," Walker said.

FEMA advises to know your exits and run if you can, hide if you cannot run and, as a last resort, fight if you are in immediate danger to protect yourself.

Walker said it is important that security and safety plans are kept up to date and revised at least once a year.

"To make sure that you're still relevant and the threats that you're protecting yourself against are still the threats that were there two years ago or three years ago because those things evolve," Walker said.

Law enforcement officials said they train often to reach their bottom line of keeping people safe as quickly as possible.