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#68: The Immediate Responder

January 6, 2021 | 48 minutes 58 seconds

In this week’s episode, series host Jill James speaks with Lindsay and Darcy, subject matter experts in Active Violence Emergency Response Training. Together, they’re the founders and directors of AVERT.

Links and Show Notes

https://www.get-avert.com/

https://hsi.com/solutions/active-shooter-training

Transcript

Jill:

This is the Accidental Safety Pro brought to you by HSI. This episode was recorded December 15th, 2020. My name is Jill James, HSI's chief safety officer, and today I'm joined by Lindsay and Darcy, who are subject matter experts in active violence emergency response training. Together, they're the founders and directors of AVERT, which is an acronym that stands for Active Violence Emergency Response Training. Welcome to the show, both of you. Thanks for being here.

Darcy:

Thanks for having us, Jill. We're excited to be here.

Jill:

So tell us, how does a person become an expert in active violence emergency response training? Can we start there? What are your backgrounds? This is interesting for our audience.

Darcy:

Cool. Well, Lindsay, ladies first. So why don't you start talking about your background first, because I can't compete with that anyway. So go ahead.

Lindsay:

Thanks, Darcy. So, I am a physician assistant, and my clinical experience is in emergency and trauma medicine and neurosurgery. And then I transitioned over into education. I taught at Wayne State, which is a university in Detroit for about 10 years. And then I was given the opportunity to go to Michigan State, where I helped to develop their PA curriculum. And now I am the Program Director at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where we're starting a PA program there as well. So I have an extensive background in education, and I'm just finishing up my PhD in educational evaluation and research.

Jill:

Congratulations.

Lindsay:

Thank you. And I'm also a faculty evaluator for the American Council on Education Military Programs. So I have the privilege to go to bases all over the country, evaluate their medical programs, and award credit where I can so that our service members can transition into civilian life when they've completed all of their duty.

Jill:

Wow, interesting. Interesting. So how does that equate into active violence emergency response training? How did you find that niche?

Lindsay:

Well, Darcy and I started working together, and we realized that there was really a void in taking these very simple emergency procedures and teaching them to civilians. And so, we took Darcy's background, which he can tell you about, and combined it with my medical experience, and we created this new program that really combines tactical training with emergency medical treatment.

Jill:

Fabulous. Yeah, let's let's come back to that because I know there's a way that these two things come together. And I say that only because I've had the privilege of experiencing some of your training. And so I know some questions that I do want to ask. I'm kind of foreshadowing, I'm seeing how this came together now, and I didn't know that before. So thank you for that. Darcy, yeah, tell us about your background.

Darcy:

Right. Mine's a little bit different than Lindsay's. I started off as a paramedic in the state of Michigan, and worked on an advanced life support ambulance. And I transitioned over into law enforcement. I spent 28 years at Warren Police Department, which is Metro Detroit department, one of the busiest and largest in the state of Michigan. I was lucky enough to have a very varied career. I ended up as executive lieutenant in charge of Special Investigations. I ran a narcotics raid crew 23 years. I also was on and ended up being the team leader and also the commissioner for the SWAT team.

Darcy:

So we were a very active team. And we got to see firsthand a lot of active shooter type of scenarios in trainings. I also taught for the police academy, the SWAT school. So, we saw this need develop when we were having a lot of active shooter type scenarios. It was basically a first responder program on how we can get better. But what we saw over time was, and especially when I transitioned after retirement over the private sector and running a lot of major corporations' security teams and executive protection teams, that the true value lies in what we call the immediate responder. It's the person that is initially on the scene before law enforcement and before first responders. That is where these situations can get mitigated.

Darcy:

We can mitigate the loss of life, we can mitigate the shooter's actions by teaching civilians very simple techniques, that at that time, only the professionals knew. How to disarm weapons from subjects, how to work in teams to overcome adversity. And then ultimately, what Lindsay brought in is how to stop immediate bleeding which is the major source of loss of life in these situations. And they're simple and easy things that everybody can do. We packaged it together for the civilian market so they can do it. We went out, we tried and tested it for a couple years, we taught it to thousands of people. And we got an overwhelming response on how confident it made them, how comfortable they became, and how this is truly needed all over the United States, and even beyond the borders here.

Darcy:

So HSI found us. We did our program for HSI, and they immediately thought it was the program that would fit in perfectly with the type of training that they do. So, we've got together with their outstanding training team at HSI, and we put this in a package together that really anybody can teach. You don't have to be a 30 year SWAT veteran or a physician assistant, or even a high level paramedic. If you've got a desire and a passion to teach and you want to sit down in about six to eight hours, learn this material, me and Lindsay give constant feedback and support as well as the HSI staff. We can develop almost anybody into become an expert instructor, and we can get this out to the masses. And in doing so, really have a very solid plan on saving lives.

Jill:

Yeah, excellent. So, let's get back to how you're training trainers in a second. But you talked about your backgrounds. The continuity, or the thread that you found that brought you together was, Lindsay, your background in emergency medicine, which Darcy, you had in your background as well, but you had the bigger law enforcement background. And you combined these two things, particularly Lindsay, it sounds like because of what you said about bleeding control. Yes?

Lindsay:

Yes, absolutely. Bleeding control is such a simple concept, and we need to teach it to everybody, just like CPR is taught. There's no reason why everyone can't learn bleeding control as well. It's the new up and coming certification to get. And we completely embedded it into every one of our programs because we feel so strongly about it. I don't think a lot of people realize that someone can bleed to death in as quickly as three minutes. That's not enough time for paramedics, or law enforcement or anyone else to arrive. It's really put into the hands of the people, like Darcy said, the immediate responders that are first to the scene. You need to help each other.

Jill:

Yeah, so your focus is really, Darcy, what you were talking about, these emergency responders, and equipping emergency responders, which means the people who are just like, something happened, something happened at their workplace, and what's your plan for internal before you, as you're picking up the phone to call for help, somebody still has to be doing something.

Darcy:

You have to be doing something. Jill, you could be in the middle of a lake on your boat, and somebody falls off the boat, and they cut their leg on the propeller behind it. You could bleed to death and there's nobody around to help you. These are tools you can do to yourself even. These are self-saving life situational trainings that we're going to show you that you can do to yourself or others. And that really is the key. The one part we put into this. And then also the other major thing we work off the run hide fight concept, but we actually teach you where to run to. What cover and concealment is. If you have to fight and if that's your last resort, how to have your very best chance for survival by controlling the weapon and working as a team by overcoming the subject.

Darcy:

And if you're going to hide and you have to hide, you can't get out where do you hide, what will stop bullets, what will hide you from observation. And we not only say these things, we teach the instructors how to set up real life scenarios. There's where the confidence is built, because once these people are put into team, everybody goes through these team building exercises and these companies, right? But the true team building exercise is how you rely on each other to live and how to save your lives.

Darcy:

We have people walk out of these classes that are high-fiving each other. They're no longer scared. Many time, a lot of these companies and colleges, were kind of scared to teach this because it might scare some of our people, and we're talking about bleeding, we're talking about uncomfortable concept and topic. But in reality, once they leave, we've had nothing but a 100% approval from the trainings we've taught constant for 1000s of people. Their comment every time is I got to go teach 50 other people this, or where do we get these bleeding control kits? Or I want to get TAC Pacs for all my friends for Christmas. This is something that breeds excitement.

Jill:

Yeah, yeah. So, you've said a couple of things there. And in full disclosure, Darcy, you had mentioned that you did training with HSI, which is, I work for HSI, you guys are part of HSI now. So selfless plug for our company, but really that's how I experienced what you do first hand, which as you've put out, was really impressive in terms of just really empowerment. It felt very empowering to me to learn bleeding control, which you taught me. And also, the things that you taught empower someone to not feel scared, it's stuck, it's stuck in my head. I had shared with you the other day about something you had taught about throwing something at a perpetrator, it distracts people. And I'm like, oh, I can remember that. There were just certain things that you taught that were so impactful to me in the small number of hours that we were together.

Jill:

Yeah, and I want to keep talking about how you're training people to be trainers. But Darcy, you had said something a minute ago that you train on that gold standard of run, hide fight. But there's something about what you do that's different. So can you talk about what's, a lot of people know, run, hide fight, but what's different about what you do?

Darcy:

Well, the interesting thing is, we come from a concept where we've actually done these things. A lot of programs will go out and they'll teach it based on theories. Ours are based on practicality. We've been in situations where we had to disarm weapons from people. We've been in situations where there have been an active shooter inside of a building and we've had to search them out. Lindsay's been in medical situations where she's actually had to do the topics that she's teaching you, so the tried and trued and tested. We're not reading out of a book, we got our hands dirty. We've lived it, we've done it.

Darcy:

So, during the course, we lay it out very simply, as we give everybody a concept where they watch the video, and they get a core understanding of the concepts of AVERT. And once they understand those concepts and they read this, they come into the classroom, and we put them into practical scenario-based training situations, we take a firearm, a long gun, and a handgun, and these are plastic replicas, everything is safe, we've taken every type of possible dangerous situation out of it. And we go, listen, if you are going to disarm somebody, you need to come from an element of surprise. We teach you on how to dig corners, how to hide in areas where people coming into a room probably won't see you. How to work as a team to overcome a subject. How to use distractions and how to use speed, surprise and diversion to overwhelm a person that is not expecting this coming into an area to cause harm and/or death.

Darcy:

So we take those practical elements and we've made it very simple. Because to disarm a weapon, that's a five day 10 hour class when we teach this at schools. But we go, let's break this down to the simplest concepts. Is let's take this weapon, let's point it in the safest direction. Let's control the weapon and let's attack the vital points of the person. Once that is it, we teach you how to control the subject, get them on down into the area and hide on that. We [inaudible 00:13:26], we attack them. And we do different things in the training that is very effective. So that's one concept.

Jill:

So, in terms of the things that you all do, would it be accurate to say we kind of divided into two parts, doing the training like I experienced to empower me to know what to do and to work with a team within my company. But you also train trainers to do what you do. Is that accurate?

Darcy:

Correct. Lindsay, why don't you talk what a day looks like at a train the trainer class.

Lindsay:

Yeah, sure. Because the program is so new, our train the trainer class starts with the prospective trainers actually taking the AVERT course. So they get to go through what the course will look like when they actually teach it. And then after that, we go into the instructor development portion, where we go through each section and explain why we teach it the way we do. And we share some of our personal experiences, and what we've encountered while we were in the field, and why we do things maybe a little bit differently than what a lot of people are used to. So, that's a lot of times, we always say question the why. Always ask why, and that's what we really always try to enforce when we're teaching our courses.

Lindsay:

And then after our students are all done with the course, and they can go out and teach it and distribute the material. And as Darcy said, you don't have to have a background in medical or law enforcement or anything in order to teach this class. We recorded all of the core content. And so, it really is just facilitating practical exercises, which is really very interesting, the way that we teach is extremely interactive. So we're doing the exercises with students through the video, then the instructor also is doing it in the classroom. And the participants in the course are doing these exercises over and over. It's not a one time put a tourniquet on and be done. We're throwing these exercises in throughout the entire program, which really sets us apart from a lot of other training programs that are out there.

Lindsay:

I think that our participants are really confident when they're done because their skills have been tested and proven by the end of our programs.

Jill:

So, you had said that it's really accessible to anyone. So if someone is listening, and our audience is made up of health and safety professionals from all over the United States and other parts and HR professionals, but a lot of safety and health professionals might have a side gig doing consulting. Some of them are consultants. And maybe they're listening and thinking, really, is this true? Could I become a trainer like this if I don't have a background like Darcy or I don't have a background like Lindsay? So what you're saying is it is accessible. So if someone's thinking about that.

Darcy:

It's accessible. And then also, we're setting up the program, so we also are, we are accessible, where we will have chat rooms to discuss if you've had an issue with a class where it didn't go you thought the way it went, or you had questions you didn't know quite how to answer it, we're going to have regular sessions where we can ask the experts. Ask us what we should do in those type of scenarios. And then we hope, actually, every year, to get together with our instructors, and break out into the sessions because this is a program that will constantly evolve.

Darcy:

There's going to be new things that will always happen, so anytime we have a major event, we have access to the experts most of the time that we're either on the scene or they're evaluating the response and practices. So we get to almost sit there and debate what happened, what should have happened, and what can be done better next time. And then we discuss and we add this on. So the course that you're seeing today could be changed down the road a year from now based on best practices that we learned during that time.

Jill:

So one of the advantages for an instructor if they've taken training with you is access to you all afterward as well. So it's not like you take a class, it's once and done, you got your certificate, you hang it on the wall, and now you're on your own. It sounds like you've got time built in so that they always have access to you?

Darcy:

Right, yes. HSI is putting together the platforms at this time to set that in motion, where we will have regular sessions where we can get on Zoom meetings, or team meetings. And like we're doing today, have roundtable discussions on what is the best practices for this program, because at the end of the day, we want to save lives. We want to develop the best training possible out there. We are so ingrained in these concepts and so proud of them that this is something that we're going to devote 100% of our attention on.

Jill:

Yeah. And so your goal is to develop this cadre of trainers across the US and elsewhere I'm guessing to be able to do what you do on a daily basis. Yes, yeah. Lindsay, you had mentioned a little while ago about your Tac Pacs, I'm sorry, I didn't say that right, for bleeding control. Can you talk about that and is that something that the instructors have access to? What's all that about?

Lindsay:

Sure. So we developed bleeding control kits to go along with our training program. And the reason is that when we teach something like CPR, we need our hands in order to do this skill. When we teach bleeding control, we really need tourniquets and bleeding control supplies available. I always tell people, if I taught CPR and then tied your hands behind your back, you wouldn't be able to do it. And so when we talk about bleeding control, we supply these Tac Pac kits as an option for all of our participants to purchase at the end so that they can keep them close and ready.

Lindsay:

As I mentioned earlier, someone can die from a bleeding emergency in as short as three minutes. So we need supplies close, fast, ready. Things that are really unique about our kits, because there are a lot of different first aid kits that are out there, is that our TAC PAC kits are strictly for bleeding control. They don't have a lot of extras inside because when you're having an emergency, you don't need to decide between a band aid or a tourniquet. If it's a true bleeding emergency, you just need those supplies ready and available.

Lindsay:

Other things that are unique about our kits is that nothing inside ever expires, and there's nothing in them that anyone should be allergic to. So they're very safe to have. And you can keep them for a long time. We keep them in cars, on boats. We have school districts where teachers keep them right in their desk. So there's a lot of applications for these bleeding control kits. And instructors that teach AVERT are also able to become distributors for the bleeding control kits, and can partake in that if they so choose.

Jill:

And so, if someone becomes a trainer, is this something that some people do as a full time gig, full time job? Is that something that they add into a consulting business? What are you seeing with the trainers that you've trained already?

Lindsay:

We're seeing both. It really depends on the instructor's availability and the connections and how often they want to teach it. Active shooter is a problem and active violence is a problem that occurs in all settings. So, it's not just a workplace issue. We're seeing this in houses of worship and in schools, and really every type of business. So, these are skills that can really be used and taught by anyone anywhere. So we have some who will just do this as a consulting type of job, and others who really teach this full time. The full course takes about two hours to teach. So, if you are in an actual business, you can technically teach it four times in an eight hour day.

Jill:

Wow. So Darcy, you had mentioned something earlier about staying current and how you do essentially postmortems every time there's an event that happens in the country, and that changes up your curriculum. How do the two of you stay current, assuming that this is really an important piece?

Darcy:

Well, I think we stay current because we both are active in the field. We both are still working in the field at the highest level. Lindsay's working in a major university, teaching medical students. I am the vice president of a major corporation that works in executive protection and high level security. I still have a lot of connections with law enforcement and tactical response teams. And I do sit on committees with [inaudible 00:22:28] in other areas, that we get the most current information and the most latest debriefings on these events.

Darcy:

So, we get to read these before most people get to see them. And we get to be hypercritical about ourselves. And that's the first thing, whenever I was on a raid or a barricaded gunman, whatever it was, the first thing we got back, we talked about, what can we do better next time? What can we change? What do we need to train to do better? And on every single one of these incidents that happens around the country, and they're happening right now. We get the alerts every day when an active shooter, an active violence events comes across.

Darcy:

The media right now is just focusing on COVID and the election. Once that starts dying back down, you will see these active shooter events become central again on media because they're going to need stories. These things have really not gone away. They just haven't been out there.

Jill:

Right, right. So Lindsay, you had said, this is essentially for any industry, I'm assuming that you train people for any, in any workplace, any environment whatsoever. People shouldn't say, oh, I'm not a this or a that, so it wouldn't work for me. You're saying that this is applicable to anyone.

Lindsay:

Absolutely. These events occur and all settings. So it's absolutely applicable anywhere you go, whether it's to the shopping mall, to the movies, to work, schools, like I said before, houses of worship as well. We see these events all the time on the media. So, they're unfortunately not going away so it's important for us to prepare.

Darcy:

Lindsay, you sent me something today that showed the increase in violence in hospitals and emergency rooms. This is another major area is getting a lot of attention recently. And in the staff in the emergency room, a lot of people we're getting, they go, please give us information on how to keep ourselves safe in these areas, because this right now primary is where violence is happening.

Darcy:

So, we've taught doctors offices, hospitals, social workers, all the way up to houses of worship and major corporations. So, the cool thing about this, it goes hand in hand if you already are a CPR instructor, or a PPE instructor, is once you have that audience, you've got a built in audience that also needs this training. And what we've seen from HSI and other corporations is they ask corporations what's the number one training that they want to know about, and active shooter, active violence is the number one training that they're looking for.

Jill:

Right, right. And so, during the pandemic, have you been able to do your train the trainers, or how is that working right now? If people are listening and going, yes, I want this to be in my life, this sounds like something I'm interested in becoming a trainer on, what does that look like right now or are you building for that post-pandemic?

Lindsay:

We absolutely are still doing train the trainer. We're following state guidelines for COVID, and making sure that we're adhering to all the precautions while we're teaching. And we also encourage our instructors, of course, when they go out and teach this course to do the same. But this course absolutely is doable with COVID precautions to teach a train the trainer as well as to train your team. And one of the things that we've been really fortunate to do was develop a very strong ERT, emergency response team at Darcy's place of work. So I'm sure he can talk about that. But that's something that during COVID, while there were a lot of people working from home, that we were able to really focus on small teams like security teams, or safety teams that are still working at the actual business, and really train them up during this time while things are a bit slower.

Jill:

Yeah, perfect segue, Lindsay, I was just going to ask you about that. You had mentioned to me when we spoke prior to our recording that you train trainers, but then you also work directly with employers to develop what you just said, emergency response teams, and to help people write their protocols for emergency response. So, can we kind of pivot our conversation that way? Talk about what that looks like when you're working with an employer, and what is that?

Darcy:

Well, a lot of security teams, if you're lucky enough for your corporation or business to have a security team, they're usually stretched pretty thin, and they're usually not trained up to the highest levels. So what we do is we come in, we can usually evaluate the company, asking people that work there what are they most afraid of, what keeps them awake at night, what are the biggest concerns. And then what we do is we develop training that the security team has, but then we take it another level further. We create what we call the emergency response team. It is a group of individuals that work together that are volunteers in the corporation. And they get together and they learn basic concepts of AVERT, building evacuations for emergencies such as fires or any type of structural damage or earthquakes, what have you.

Jill:

Yeah, right.

Darcy:

Whatever it may be. And now, instead of a security team of just 20 or 25, I've got 50 volunteers now that have the same core concept of training. And whenever you get volunteers involved, they're always very excited and very enthusiastic to learn the training. So, I've bolstered my team from 25 to 75 just through simple quarterly trainings. That's the concept of this. And you can really take it as far as your company will allow you to go.

Jill:

Right, right. Yeah, and so, for our audience, anyone who's listening right now who's a safety and health professional, you know that we all have to have, we're mandated by law through OSHA, to have emergency response training and to have emergency response protocols. And that's what Darcy and Lindsay are talking about, helping develop that. Sometimes people don't always think about, you think about fire. Everybody knows you got to have a protocol around fire and that kind of thing. Sometimes people think about the natural disaster thing, like you just talked about with hurricanes or tornadoes, that kind of business. Or it'll be the standard, hey, we have a gas leak, and what are we going to do about that?

Jill:

The whole piece of an active, violent, something happening in that regard, people don't often know where that sits. But that's where it sits, it sits squarely in this area, and it absolutely must be a part of your emergency response training, and your protocols.

Darcy:

That's a big protocol. But what you need to do is, and this is for the instructors out there, what we've learned is you have to sell it. What is the why? What is the need? And obviously, protecting lives is the most important thing. But you're also looking at brand reputation. You're looking at mitigating loss. What I would go into a company and I'd ask them, if you had to be shut down for one hour, what would the cost be to your company?

Darcy:

Now, if you have an act of violence situation in your place, you could be shut down anywhere from one day to seven days to two weeks. What does that do? 85% of companies don't recover from that. They don't have the bandwidth or they do not have the personnel intact to recover from something like that. So, we teach them that by simply setting up this training, it could possibly save you multimillions of dollars down the road by setting this up and building a strong platform, what we call hardening the target. Make it something that is harder for something to happen.

Darcy:

I had this conversation with somebody today. We talked about our building and where it's at and the surrounding neighborhoods and what it's like to go. The idea is to put layers of protection. And it starts with patrolling outside with a vehicle, visible presence. And then it's the cameras that's also watching. And then you have somebody at the doors that's stopping everybody and talking to them. And then you have rovers on the inside that are walking around. You build layers of protection from outside in, and then your ultimate layer inside is your ERT team. That's the team who will be your immediate responders probably should something happen.

Darcy:

So not only if you ever have to go to court, which ultimately if something happens, you will. You will pull out, listen, we had this training, we had experts come in. And when OSHA and the lawyers get together, you go, we have a plan. We trained a plan, and this is how we responded to the plan.

Jill:

And speaking as a former OSHA person myself, I know I've asked employers those questions specifically. Show me that protocol, show me where it's written. What was your plan? How did you train? That was always part of investigations that I did. And for anyone who's listening who is like, hey, Jill, but yeah, my state doesn't have a law on the books for safety for violence. Well, guess what, you still have a requirement under federal OSHA everywhere for emergency response, which this is part of it. And then we also have, of course, the general duty clause that says employer's duty is to ensure the safety of their employees from predictable hazards, known hazards in their workplace. And violence is certainly something that isn't, you're immune from it regardless of where you work.

Lindsay:

Absolutely. And I think the bleeding control portion is also quite interesting here. A lot of times we'll hear from businesses who are like, well, we don't do heavy manufacturing here, so, we don't need bleeding control training. We don't have the big presses or any of that machinery, so we're not concerned about it. Well, what we found is that the people who actually end up using the bleeding control kits and the skills, find themselves doing so in situations they least expect.

Lindsay:

For example, we trained a local police department in bleeding control and equip them with the [inaudible 00:32:48] kits. And they were prepared to use them in case of getting into a shootout or something like that. And they called us and said, Well, we used your kits and it saved someone's life. We said, oh, well, what happened. And they said that there was a woman who was baking in her kitchen and the cake plate broke and cut her arm very badly. And they were able to save her with the tourniquet, and they were able to protect her arm as well and salvage the arm. So, it's sometimes in those situations that you least expect to use these skills, but it's so important to have them.

Jill:

Yeah, right. Right. Darcy, you had talked before about this subject in general. People are like, if we talk about it, it's like teaching your kids about safe sex. If you say sex, it means they're going to do it. And so, if we talk about violence, it means it's going to happen. It's like this big mysterious thing like, ooh, we don't want to talk about it. I'm a house of worship, that couldn't happen here. We're an educational setting, we don't want to talk about that. How when you are entering conversations with an employer or for our safety and health people who are listening, how do I even talk to my bosses about this to even broach this subject to try to open the door?

Darcy:

We start off a couple of different ways. We usually start off with, we show them some statistics, which we also, we'll bring up in the classes that we teach is, okay, these five businesses, it costs them 80 billion when an incident happened. This business it cost them 100 billion. So from a business standpoint, it's dollars and cents to them. You show them what the loss is production wise, lawsuit wise and brand reputation. That is usually what sells along with OSHA regulations.

Darcy:

But the hardest person that you have to sell usually is the school districts. They most are mandated to do lockdown drills. And they'll do two to three lockdown drills a year and they'll be very simple. During the class, okay, the bell will go off, everybody will close the door, go to the corner of the room and be quiet. And in reality, it never happens that way. It's in the lunchroom or when the kids are out on recess. Have a lockdown drill then, have the lockdown drill when the kids are in the lunchroom eating lunch. What do you do then? Challenge yourself. Find your deficiencies, find where your weaknesses are at.

Darcy:

So what we usually do to overcome that, is I say, listen, we're going to come and do a free session. I'm going to walk in the door for, I want your administrators there, I want your HR people there, I want the people that are going to be, person that's going to fold their arms, sit back and go, show me, I don't believe it, show me. And when I walk out and they got their hands over their heads going, that was effing awesome, we want this, we need this, that's the thing. We're going to teach this to a bunch of law enforcement officers first, and a bunch of firefighters [inaudible 00:35:55].

Darcy:

We got this group coming together as like a super group of first responders around the United States. And the guy we spoke to, we'll have this connection with really soon, he goes, "Listen, I want to bring together a group, and I want you to show this group," and these are the best of the best first responders in the United States. He goes, "Who do you want there?" I go, "Give me your biggest doubters, your best trained guys. Give me the guys that have done it, seen it and been there that are teaching something else. Let me come in, and if I can't sell them, I'll walk out the door. Didn't cost you guys a penny." We walk in and blow them away every single time. That's what it comes down to.

Darcy:

And we go against the toughest critics. And I say, "Listen, you tell me or you show me why the concepts that we're teaching you aren't the easiest to follow, and aren't the most practical way of doing things, and we'll change it, we'll switch it up. I mean, that's what we're all about is being diverse." But they never do. They go, makes sense. You make it simple, you make it easy. And what do you need in a stressful situation? You need KISS, keep it simple stupid. You need easy to follow simple things because most people, these immediate responders, this is the worst day that they've ever had in their entire lives. They never expected this to happen. But when you build a little bit of reputation, and it pops back to them, that's what we want read.

Darcy:

So that's how these trainers that we're speaking to today, take the training, become an instructor, and practice it with family, with friends, with small groups. Work out your bugs, work out your kinks. Call me and Lindsay, call HSI. Get the experts to weigh in, and then build your group. Go to a little bit bigger group, little bit bigger group. And in a few months, you'll have it down. And it's built through reputation.

Darcy:

It's kind of funny is because we have an ask the experts section, we get asked the same question over and over, by these different groups. So we can go listen, they're going to ask you this, they're going to ask you this. And eventually, we've built it into the program so they don't ask it so many times. But we figure out, what the story is. Can I bring my own gun to class to show them what a real gun looks like? Absolutely not, you can't do that. It's a safety factor. What if a law enforcement officer shows up in class and he's got his gun? No, there is never a real gun allowed in any of these classes and this is why. We always tell you the why. We always sit down and say this is why, and I know it's going to be uncomfortable to tell these people why, but me and Lindsay have been asked this question 5000 times. And this is the answer that we found works best in most scenarios.

Jill:

I mean, the keep it simple stupid, I experienced your training, I don't know how long ago it's been, maybe close to two years.

Darcy:

It's time to get back, Jill. You got to get back in, we got to do this again.

Jill:

We got to do it again. I'll happily be part of your training again. But I just want to say it stuck. You're talking about things, I'm like, yes, I remember what you told me to do, I remember that, it's stuck in my head, which is fantastic. Before we tell people where they can learn more, I just wanted to circle back to what you said about developing an emergency response team. So if someone is listening right now and they're like, hey, but I don't already have a team, that doesn't mean that they can't have one. You work with people to help them develop one. If they're a lone safety person and they don't have a dedicated emergency response team because they don't work like on a big campus and maybe they're a smaller employer, that doesn't mean that they can't have one, right?

Darcy:

No, no. We work with corporations or businesses that have as little as 15 team members to 15,000. We can cover it all. The ideas is, the AVERT concept is, the training that we give you is applicable wherever you go. AVERT is applicable at the movies, at church, at a wedding, at an auditorium, at a concert. It's the same concept. With the ERT, it's the same thing too. Myself and Lindsay will come in, we evaluate what you currently have, what your resources are, and how to help you build a concept and training model that will get you with at least the minimum essentials that you will need to be as successful as possible given the situation you're given.

Darcy:

And that's based off of data of what probably will happen. You always can't cover everything all the time. And no concept works 100% in every different situation. And we [inaudible 00:40:40] Lindsay was talking yesterday about medicine is the practice of medicine. We're practicing it. We have not become 100% expert in everything we do yet. And yeah, this is not a 100% this concept where it's absolutely every single time. But we have found through our background experience and training is, this is probably your best chance, and we are giving you options to do. There's options with our program. You can try different things. And with the ERT program, it's the same type of thing. We'll give you options for training and see what works best for you in that given situation.

Darcy:

The run hide fight thing is, the best option isn't always to fight. In most cases, the best option is to run. So that's why we give you three options. The run hide fight for us is, escape, evade, and attack is what we say. Don't fight, attack. You have to go all out work as a team and go for crucial striking areas that we talk about. We ramp it up a little bit as what we try to do. I mean, the government has got an outstanding core basis, but-

Jill:

You took it-

Darcy:

We took it a little bit further. We're for the people that go, all right, I get the fight, but I've never been in a fight.

Jill:

How do I do that?

Darcy:

How do I do that? Well, here, we're giving you an option. This is what we think is the best option. And then we just go to town and try to do it in a very dynamic setting with outstanding presentations.

Jill:

So, does some of your training also include deescalation techniques? You had mentioned earlier where we're seeing an uptick right now particularly in healthcare. Do we see that continuing right now? Sure. I mean, we're in the middle of a pandemic. We have a health care shortage because the systems are maxed out. And then there's always been the person that comes in who's angry about their bill or not being able to say goodbye to their loved one. Yes, there's all this stuff happening at these doors right now. Is deescalation [inaudible 00:42:52]

Darcy:

It's not. We have developed a concept in a deescalation program that we do teach to hospitals, we teach to school teachers, we teach to first responders. But in this type of scenario with AVERT, it's a guy's coming through the door with a gun. I am not going to take that opportunity to go, sir, I understand you're having a bad day, let's talk about it. There's things that deescalation where it's no, no, you're coming through the door, you're killing people. We're teaching you how to stop the violence, how to end the violence. And then be there to fix and mitigate any problems that may have happened from it. So, that's where the AVERT concept is, but we've got a whole other section of training for deescalation, which is outstanding.

Jill:

Okay, fantastic.

Lindsay:

AVERT also focuses on situational awareness, that is one topic that we do definitely address in the AVERT program. And that's the identification of all of these potential problems in your surroundings. To be aware of different warning signs or different predictors of violence in the workplace, or wherever you may be. So we touch on that. But as Darcy said, it's more of that immediate response. But there are a lot of other programs that we work on that address the deescalation portion.

Jill:

Got it. Got it. So as we're starting to close our time together today, I just want everyone to know that in our show notes, we will include access to Lindsay and Darcy, and about the AVERT program, and also about the ERT, the emergency response training program. Are there ways that you want to share right now that people can follow you as they're listening?

Darcy:

I think initially, go through HSI the website, the www.get-avert.com. Will be links there. And there'll be ways to get ahold of us through the HSI platform. We're lucky enough to be working with an outstanding company who is the world leader in safety and response to safety. And we're so happy that they put our program involved in this nationally renowned company with all the other things that they're doing. We're just beyond proud to be associated with HSI. We'll start with that getting in that way and then we'll develop future models after.

Jill:

Okay, thanks for the plug, Darcy. Anything else that you want to share with our audience today?

Darcy:

Lindsay, I've been talking my head off. And that's usually how it goes. Once I get talking, you can't shut me up. And Lindsay's the smart one out of the two of us. Why don't you say something that makes sense. I've been rambling on, Lindsay.

Jill:

The budding PhD.

Darcy:

Right. I barely made it out of high school and I'm competing with this.

Lindsay:

It's okay. I'll step in if you're missing anything, Darcy.

Jill:

Quality control at its finest?

Lindsay:

Absolutely. As Darcy said, we're so excited about this. And we're very accessible people, we're very, very casual. So, we do hope any of the listeners who are interested will reach out to us. We're always excited to talk to people who are interested in our program. And we actually go out and teach a lot of the train the trainer programs ourselves. So, we love to interact with people all over the United States and teach them about our experiences, and get excited about really adopting this program in their own place of work.

Jill:

Very good. Very good.

Darcy:

We really want this program, and HSI does also, we would like this program to become the national standard for active violence response, especially in the civilian market. That is the market that we are going after specifically because that's the one is the least trained and least informed. I've worked law enforcement for close to 30 years. I've been in the private sector for many years. We train at high levels. We've got the luxury of having experts around us that are pushing us to the limits constantly.

Darcy:

But the civilians are really you guys out there that are going to be teaching, the teachers, the Sunday school teachers, the person that's working at the mall, they're the ones that are probably going to be the first one to encounter this. Those are the people that are truly going to be the people that can save lives, stop the violence, end it quicker, more than anybody else. So if we work together, we develop an awesome cadre of instructor coordinators, and then instructors around the country and build this program out. I don't see why in the next two years that we can't be the number one program for responding to active violence, and just take it to a whole nother level.

Jill:

And everyone knows what AVERT means at that point. That's a fantastic goal. That's a fantastic goal. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story today. Thanks for the inspiration. I hope people who are listening are going to dig in and read more and learn more about AVERT, and at a minimum, dust off that emergency response protocol that you may or may not have in your work place. And hopefully this conversation motivates people to do that too and take a look at those as well. Really appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.

Lindsay:

Thanks, Jill.

Darcy:

Yeah, Jill, thank you for having us.

Jill:

You're welcome. And thank you all for spending your time listening today. And more importantly, thank you for your contribution toward the common good, making sure your workers including your temporary workers make it home safe every day. If you'd like to join the conversation about this episode or any of our previous episodes, follow our page and join the Accidental Safety Pro Community group on Facebook. If you aren't subscribed and want to hear past and future episodes, you can subscribe in iTunes, the Apple podcast app or any other podcast player you'd like. We'd love it if you could leave a rating and review us on iTunes. It really helps us connect the show with more and more safety professionals like you and I and Darcy and Lindsay. Special thanks to Will Moss, our podcast producer, and until next time, thanks for listening.