Unfortunately, as we are becoming increasingly aware, the rise in workplace violence continues and even before San Bernadino or the recent Orlando tragedy, the increased need for vigilance and awareness on everyone's part is key. Catholic Charities is acting on its concern to provide a safe environment for it employees and clients. In addition to updating our Home Visit Safety manual, at the end of this month we will begin working with a representative from Homeland Security to assess eight of our sites for an overview of safety and security measures we can possibly take that are tailored to that specific facility. We hope to continue with these assessments for our remaining sites. 

There are some key pieces of advice that the FBI has provided and we should take them seriously for our own protection and that of our coworkers and those we serve.

If you find yourself at a site where violence is taking place:

1. First and foremost, if you can get out, do so. When leaving the building, leave with your hands held high so that if police are on the scene they can see that you don't pose a threat.
2. Always try to escape, even when others insist on staying. 
3. Encourage others to leave with you, but don't let them slow you down with indecision.
4. Remember what's important: you, not your stuff.  Leave your belongings behind.
5. Once out of the line of fire, try to prevent others from walking into danger and call 911.
6. If you can't get out safely, find a place to hide, if possible out of the shooter's view.
7. When applicable, lock or blockade the door and turn out lights.
8. Otherwise, hide behind large objects, silence your cell phone and remain quiet.
9. If you can't run or hide, then fight, by disarming or incapacitating the shooter and acting with physical aggression.
10. Improvise weapons, including chairs, fire extinguishers, or even a coffee mug or paper weight.
11. When first responders arrive, realize they're there to take out the shooter, not tend to victims.
12.  IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. Increased vigilance on everyone's part can save lives.  We all want to go home to our families.

As we continue to increase awareness around workplace safety the Safety Committee will also continue to share information and training opportunities with everyone.