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An Ounce of Prevention...

By Will Gunther

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center and  Pentagon attacks, individuals and corporations alike are searching for ways to remain safe in these troubled times.  Many companies are implementing stronger security measures and hiring more security guards to protect their facilities and personnel.  Although these extra measures are always beneficial, they may not
be enough to keep terrorists away.  Furthermore, what about staff members who have to leave the secure confines of the facility and travel to other destinations around the globe?

These are just a few of the many questions Chief Executive Officers are asking themselves.  How much does an increased security force cost us annually?  Does our guard force truly know what to look for regarding impending terrorist attacks?  Can we afford personal protection for all of our corporate travelers?  What can we do about the handling of mail?  How do
we increase security and still maintain a profit margin? 

  Although there is no foolproof answer for every possible terrorist act, there is a cost-effective way to provide a greater degree of security to your staff.  The answer is training.  Proper Anti-terrorism training can increase the level of security at your facility without increasing the payroll.  Imagine if a large majority of your staff understood terrorism and how terrorist acts are conducted.  This would enable them to recognize potential attacks in the early stages, well before an actual attack.  Armed with the necessary knowledge to recognize surveillance and probing attempts, everyone on your staff becomes eyes and ears for the corporation.   This increases the security force without increasing the payroll.

What about corporate travelers?  They can benefit from terrorism prevention training as well.  Anti-terrorism training, which includes prevention techniques, greatly enhances the level of awareness concerning a terrorist or criminal act.  It should also provide simple effective methods of deterrence that can be easily incorporated into daily life.  Not every staff member can receive protection teams like the senior executives, but most employees will feel a sense
of caring when the company provides them with quality training concerning their safety and security.  

Some people believe firearms training and martial arts training are helpful.  Everything one learns in life is beneficial but is it always effective?  There are several points to consider about martial arts and firearms.  The first point is that they are both reactionary measures.  This means that in order to rely on these skills one must actually be combating a terrorist or violent criminal.  If one can learn to avoid a dangerous situation, ones chances of survival are one hundred percent greater than in an attack.  Secondly, how effective is firearms training in areas where carrying a firearm is illegal?  Lastly, how often do you conduct martial arts or firearms training?  These are both perishable skills.  This means that if not conducted frequently these skills diminish and become a greater danger instead of a safeguard.

Kidnapping has also become a multi-billion dollar business throughout the world.  Terrorists often use ransom money to purchase weapons and conduct attacks.  Training staff members
to avoid becoming a hostage can prevent the horrific scenario of attempting to recover a staff member while trying to console their family.  In addition to preventive training, companies
should seek pre-kidnapping consultation.  A good consultant can help corporations develop inexpensive policies and procedures regarding kidnapping.  A notification process should be established.  This should include a senior member of the corporation.  Measures regarding
proof of life should also be addressed.  This can greatly increase the comfort level of the
victim's worried family.  It can also ensure better treatment of the hostage.  A policy should
also be in place with regard to media interaction. Certain media comments can have an
adverse effect on the recovery of a hostage.  There are numerous other procedures that must
be taken into account when dealing with a kidnapping, but the bottom line is "The safe return
of a kidnapping victim begins before they leave the house!"

While these issues may be new to many, the reality is our world has forever changed and
we have to address issues like these to continue to prosper and grow, and provide for a comfortable level of security. 

Just as with the old adage "If you give a man a fish he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."  Training your staff to avoid potential harm costs far less than bodyguards and the knowledge they receive lasts a lifetime.    

Will Gunther, is President of Operation Corporate Training, a company of terrorism experts comprised of former military Special Operations members. ( 2001

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