SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Organizers of a workplace safety seminar told KOLR10 News Tuesday they have gone from seeing no one registering for the event to dozens of interested businesses seemingly overnight.
On June 9, Kevin Robbins and his team at Ollis/Akers/Arney invited local business owners to an upcoming workplace violence seminar.
Three days later, 49 people were gunned down at an Orlando nightclub — and now the class is almost full.
“We’re trying to get ahead of that and prepare people for what can happen,” Robbins said.
Robbins and his agency help businesses put together risk reduction plans. Many clients come to him with questions about active shooters and other threats.
“There was a study that came out that shows businesses have a higher potential risk than even educational and government facilities which is always what you think of when you think of these concerns,” Robbins said.
Dennis Lewis will teach the seminar. He is a former Springfield teacher who started an educational security consulting firm.
Lewis puts his faith in technology, as he has developed a customizable phone app for businesses to put all of their emergency response information in one spot.
“You may have a maintenance person in the facility that is typically in charge of utility shutoffs if something starts to really go wrong,” Lewis said. “But what happens if that person is injured, incapacitated, not on property?”
Lewis and Robbins said business owners need to think of their employees as first responders.
“Obviously there are going to be some casualties when an intruder comes in, but if you can have that plan in place the reaction by the individuals in the organization is that they know what to do,” Robbins said. “If they’ve practiced and prepared for it, then they’ll be able to put that plan into action.”
The seminar will take place June 29 at the Springfield office. Plans for a similar event are in the works for July— in Branson and Joplin.