Why It’s Important to Run Threat Drills in the Workplace

Crowd in a shopping centre to illustrate the threats of people committing acts of terrorism

Running threat drills in the workplace to respond to situations such as workplace violence or terrorism is extremely important. Especially now with the escalation in terrorist attacks, being more threat aware is the only way that we can be prepared and therefore respond appropriately.

The response of staff in a threat situation could lead to two possible outcomes:

  • They REACT and escalate a situation or
  • They ACT and manage it

Obviously, some people may naturally react to a situation quite calmly and are able to manage it. However, for many of us, only by being prepared would we be able to know what to do and act accordingly.

This logic obviously makes sense to many organisations, as we wouldn’t otherwise have to take in part in regular fire drills in the workplace or soldiers wouldn’t have to go through boot camp to be released into the field. These drills are considered invaluable to condition us to react under real circumstances, should they arise, therefore threat and terrorism drills should be taken just as seriously.

a security guard an a man

Having a threat response plan in place is all well and good if you never need to use it, however, if these situations were to arise, would you or your staff know how to respond?

To emphasise just how important running threat drills are in the workplace, here are some of the main benefits.


Threat drills teach staff to expect the unexpected

Any kind of drill helps condition people to carry out desired actions instinctively and naturally in situations that need direction and clear thinking. In specific drills, such as ones for cyber security, terrorism or violent customers, you can even throw in particular obstacles to change each drill and help your staff to adapt to changing situations.

Having regular effective threat drills will give staff confidence, replacing panic and fear with a reflex for action.


They help you identify weaknesses and improve responses

Often, when you hear of particular threat events, there are always casualties that could have been avoided and sometimes even the event itself. The best way to ensure the safety of staff and other people in the vicinity (and to do everything you can to PREVENT) is to put the most efficient and effective responses in place and practice them regularly. Each drill may uncover flaws or potential weaknesses that you’ll need to improve on.

Read: Terrorism Awareness Training: Are Your Staff Threat Aware?

a man behind the desk in a coffee shop


Threat drills help improve workplace communication

Communication is essential to reducing the threat of workplace violence and to ensure effective responses to any threat situation. To ensure this happens, upper management should open communication at all levels of the crisis team structure so that your staff on the front lines know the executive team is concerned for their safety. By promoting open communication on every level, staff will be more likely to say if they see something or suspect something suspicious.


They prepare staff for all threats

Companies need to make each drill as real and unpredictable as possible to ensure that all staff develop their initiative and quick-thinking skills. You can also make each drill role-playing to make them very specific to certain threat situations and test how well employees have understood certain security risks.

Security Tip: If your company is a part of a retail centre, you could also collaborate with your suppliers, business partners, the security team or other retail stores to develop joint response processes. That way you can all practice together, learn from other’s mistakes and evaluate the best process for scenarios that involve multiple parties.

Crowd in a shopping centre


Threat drills remove fear

It is important for employees to learn how to make smarter security decisions – therefore companies shouldn’t worry about causing panic among staff, as these threat situations could actually happen and they need to be prepared for their safety. At the end of the day, knowledge is key and by being prepared, you’ll find that staff will be less afraid.

Security Tip: Assign certain daily roles to people, such as implementing a “BOLO” or “Be On the Look Out” person. This simple task not only gives a sense of importance to this training, but it is also an effective way of actually identifying suspicious behaviour, and saying something early enough to potentially prevent something from happening.

Read: Be Threat Aware, Not Afraid


When it comes to preparing your employees for every threat situation, the key is to create an effective plan, then train regularly upon that plan and perfect it.

So, while we may not be able to completely prevent a terroristic event or workplace violence, we can be vigilant, well-prepared and able to respond to such threats that we greatly reduce the damage caused.



What we can do for you:

If you’re interested in knowing more about threat awareness training for your staff, RGM is offering training courses developed by Counter-Terrorism and Threat Specialists. If you need training or just advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Need more information about threat awareness? Check out our other articles:

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