Loss Control Services

    What Is It?

    The Alabama Legislature, upon creating the Division of Risk Management, charged it with taking action and developing programs to assist state agencies in reducing financial risk. DORM established Loss Control Services to meet this obligation. Our mission is to prevent or minimize losses by state agencies.

    With the implementation of the State Employee Injury Compensation Trust Fund (SEICTF) in October of 1994. The mission of Loss Control Services was expanded to include the prevention and management of employee injuries. General safety, early-return-to work and temporary alternative duty (TAD) programs have been developed and are customized to meet the special needs of each client agency.

    Health, safety and physical property audits can be performed at the request of client agencies.

    The Loss Control Services Department has implemented several seminars , conferences and programs with the goal of mitigating losses:

    1. Boiler and Machinery/HVAC Seminars-providing technical updates and maintenance procedures for continuing education of maintenance professionals. Seminars are held at least annually at selected sites around the state, but usually, in Montgomery.
    2. Loss Prevention Seminars-providing information to participants on subjects, such as, emergency preparedness contingency plans , bomb threat checklist procedures, fire prevention, inside burglary, etc. These seminars are also held at selected sites around the state on a bi-annual basis.
    3. Hurricane Preparedness Seminars-usually held in Mobile or Baldwin Counties. Concentrates on getting ready for an upcoming hurricane and various loss mitigation strategies. These seminars are held on a bi-annual basis.
    4. Highway Response/High Speed Pursuit Training-Customized training specifically for law enforcement agencies. Risk Management offsets tuition costs for these programs by giving premium credits to the Policyholder.
    5. Health/Safety Audits-Provides audits for client agencies through the Safe State Onsite Consultation program. This is a free, confidential safety and health consulting service provided by the University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies. These consultations help our Insureds voluntarily eliminate problems which could occasion penalties assessed by federal regulatory agencies. At the onset of the consultation, the policyholder must agree to correct all identified hazards that could result in serious injury to your employees.
    6. Physical Property Audits/Inspections-Insured properties can be inspected by a qualified Loss Control Specialist. The property, or building, is appraised using the nationally respected Boeckh Valuation System (a cost approach appraisal). It is also inspected for fire, life safety and liability hazards or exposures.

    Many new programs and seminars are in the planning stages and will be implemented in the near future. Watch Wise Words (your quarterly newsletter) and this web site for further information.

    State Employee Injury Compensation Trust Fund

    Injury Prevention

    Many state employees are exposed to a great variety of hazards while performing their job duties. Consultation services to assist in recognizing, evaluating, and/or controlling worker exposure to hazards in the workplace are available through the DORM. This service is provided at no charge to agencies participating in the SEICTF program.

    Depending on the tasks they are assigned, workers may be exposed to hazards such as:

    • hazardous materials in the form of solids, liquids, vapors, gases, and mists
    • blood and other infectious materials
    • heavy manual lifting
    • high noise levels
    • aggressive, violent persons or animals
    • driving for extended periods of time or in pursuit of other vehicles

    A consultant with specialized expertise and knowledge will assist in the recognition and evaluation of conditions which might result in injuries. Evaluations may include the following: observation of workers performing job tasks and taking samples or measurements to detect and quantify hazardous materials in the work environment. Consultants may also review current safety and health program and accident reports. When an evaluation is complete, a written report is provided to management personnel. Technical assistance is available to guide implementation of recommendations.

    Most solutions to health and safety concerns require minimal resources to effectively minimize or prevent the chance of an injury. In fact, studies have shown that resources properly spent on injury prevention have anywhere from a five to ten dollar return for every dollar spent. Consultants can assist in identifying the most cost-effective solution to a specific health and safety concern.

    Injury Management

    The goal of the SEICTF program is to provide quality medical treatment and return the employee to productive work. Services are available to assist in efforts to effectively coordinate and manage the injured workers medical treatment and return to work. To find out more about these services call (334) 223-6162.

    To request or inquire about consultation services, call (334) 223-6159. Requests must be made by management level personnel. Non-management personnel are encouraged to notify their supervisors of health and safety concerns.

    Temporary Alternate Duty (TAD)

    Temporary Alternate Duty is an early return to work initiative that is currently being implemented in State agencies. The purpose of the program is to return injured employees back into the workforce in a limited capacity until they are physically able to resume their full time job duties. TAD program provides an opportunity for the injured employee to remain actively employed and thus a valuable member of the workforce. The program provides a proven cost-effective means for controlling costs of on-the-job injuries. TAD is beneficial in that it:

    • Provides an opportunity for productive work while recovering from an injury.
    • Provides the opportunity for workers to receive their regular pay, accrue sick and annual leave, accrue credit for retirement purposes.
    • Continues deductions from paychecks for medical benefits for dependents as well as any other payroll deductions for the employee.
    • Prevents the loss of job skills that occurs from lengthy absence from work.
    • Promotes recovery and healing of the injury.

    The program consists of:

    • Injury packets which contain instructions and all the necessary benefit forms.
    • A supervisor procedure for handling on-the-job injuries.
    • Job profiles for each job classification. The profile describes the essential functions and physical demands of a job.
    • Supervisor training.

    Medical Case Management

    Medical Case Managers are utilized when injuries require extensive treatment and rehabilitation and to assist in efforts to return the injured employee to the workplace. Medical case management is performed by registered nurses who work with the physician, other health care providers, the injured employee, and the agency to assure that all needs are being addressed effectively and in a timely manner. Located throughout the state, case managers can quickly respond to situations requiring prompt attention. A full-time medical case manager is also assigned to the SEICTF offices in Montgomery. Cases are initially evaluated to determine the need for case management and re-evaluated as needed during the course of treatment. Case management can be requested by the physician, employee or employer.

    Vocational Consultation

    Specialists in vocational rehabilitation are available to assist in matching the injured workers physical abilities with job assignments or tasks. The goal is to promote a safe, progressive return to productive work. Job placement services may also be provided if the employee can no longer perform the work tasks assigned prior to an injury.

    Exposure to Blood and Other Potentially Infectious Materials

    SEICTF has made a special effort to promote timely and appropriate medical management of occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials. These materials may contain microscopic organisms, such as viruses and bacteria which are capable of causing serious and sometimes fatal illnesses. While the potential for exposure is relatively small for many State employees, there is are large number of State employees who find themselves at increased risk due to the nature of their occupation.

    Employees who experience a possible exposure require a prompt initial medical evaluation and treatment. To facilitate this, a network of participating hospitals throughout the state has been developed. The program's network of preferred providers, specifically the gatekeepers and infectious disease specialists, are an integral part of the process, as they provide follow-up management of this type of injury.

    It is often said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and with this in mind, an emphasis on preventing workplace exposures and protecting workers through immunization has begun. An Occupational Health Coordinator from SEICTF is available to conduct on-site consultations. Services include exposure risk assessments and guidance and support to employers in their efforts to prevent exposures.

    If you would like additional information regarding this service or request a consultation, call (334) 223-6162.

    Fraud Investigation

    The State is not immune to fraudulent property and employee injury claims. We encourage employees, agencies, and the public to report suspected fraud to DORM. The person reporting suspected fraud is not required to identify himself. DORM will investigate claims of fraud and take appropriate action. Suspected fraud may be reported to DORM by calling the Risk Manager at (334) 223-6120.

    State Insurance Fund

    Property Surveys

    DORM surveys property insured by the State Insurance Fund to (1) appraise value, (2) identify previously uninsured property, (3) determine the appropriate type of insurance coverage, (4) identify conditions and exposures which place property at increased risk of loss and (5) notify the insuring agency of identified hazards.

    Appraisals are made using the nationally respected Boeckh Valuation System. Insurance coverages will be assigned according to age, condition and uses of the target properties. NFPA, OSHA and other recognized codes are used to identify dangerous conditions and exposures. Examples of hazardous conditions include improper storage of flammable or combustible materials and lack of adequate fire suppression systems. Complete surveys are typically conducted for an entire agency. However, surveys may be requested by an agency for a specific location or building. To request a survey, call (334) 223-6120.

    Boiler, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Systems

    The operation of high pressure boiler systems present a significant risk of loss to property and life if the systems are not properly maintained and operated. State agencies may experience significant liability exposure associated with operation of boilers. Large heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems also present a risk of significant loss. Improperly operated and maintained systems can result in destruction or damage to HVAC equipment, spoilage of perishable materials such as vaccines, food and medications, failure of electronic information systems, and disruption of business operations for significant periods of time.


    Large heating boiler and HVAC systems are routinely inspected to reduce and minimize risk exposures. These inspections are provided through DORM. Recommendations to correct hazardous conditions are made to the agency or facility as a result of inspections. In addition to routine inspections, an inspection may be requested by an agency when there is a condition or situation believed to present a risk of loss. To request an inspection, call (334) 223-6120.

    Training and Education

    Training and educational seminars are offered each year to agency personnel who maintain and operate boilers and HVAC equipment. Seminars focus on proper maintenance and operation as a means of reducing the risk of loss.

    Criminal Acts

    Each year the State of Alabama loses millions of dollars as a result of criminal acts such as arson, burglary, vandalism, fraud, and theft of state property. You are encouraged to report any known or suspected criminal act which resulted in the loss of State resources. You are not required to identify yourself. Just call the Risk Manager at (334) 223-6120.

    It is the job of the police to fight crime, but we can all help to reduce crime. Most crime is against property, not people, and not many crimes are carefully planned. Most are committed by young people on the spur of the moment when they see the chance-possessions left in a car or a door or window to a house left open. By securing our cars, homes and our personal property, we reduce the likelihood of "opportunity crime".


    Arson is the leading cause of property loss due to fire. Over a half million arson fires, including 100,000 building fires, cost our nation more than 2 billion dollars annually and kill over 700 people. Arson is the leading cause of property loss for the Boards of Education insured through the Division of Risk Management (The State Insurance Fund). Arson losses in schools are a growing nationwide problem. Only 16% of arson offenses lead to arrest, and only 2% of those arrested are convicted.

    The following suggestions may help you to not become a victim of arson:

    1. Request an arson risk assessment from your local fire marshal or police officials. They can make specific recommendations to reduce the risk of arson.
    2. Install perimeter lighting and consider motion activated lighting near doors and windows.
    3. Trim shrubs and vegetation low to the ground. This will remove hiding places for criminals and reduces easy access to buildings.
    4. Consider installing a burglar alarm or video surveillance equipment.
    5. Consider installing automatic sprinkler systems and fire detection systems. Many building codes require the installation of such devices. Check with your authority having jurisdiction in your area (Fire Marshal, Fire Department, etc.).
    6. Combustible materials inside and outside of buildings should be kept to a minimum.
    7. Flammable liquids should be stored in suitable metal storage cabinets under lock and key.
    8. Participate in a neighborhood watch program in your community.

    Juvenile Firesetting

    • Juveniles account for 55% of arson arests.
    • In a typical year, in the U.S., 300 people are killed and $190,000,000 in property is destroyed in fires set by children. Children themselves are usually the victims of these fires accounting for 85 of every 100 lives lost.
    • The number of fires set by children is growing. It is a problem that needs the attention of parents, teachers, counselors and community leaders, in cooperation with fire and law enforcement officers.

    Curiosity Firesetters usually are 2-7 years old; fascination with fire leads them to "play" with it. They do not understand fire's destructive potential. Curiosity is a normal part of a child's growth and development but parents and other adults who discover that a child is playing with fire should take it very seriously.

    Problem Firesetters can also be very young, but generally are 5-17 years old. These youngsters light fires because of emotional or mental disturbances ranging from mild to severe. Chronic behaviors such as a poor relationship with other children, cruelty to animals, and extreme mood changes are a few of the traits that data on juvenile firesetters has revealed.

    Here are some prevention tips:

    1. Teach children that fire is a tool we use to heat our homes and cook our food and that it is not a toy. They must understand that fire is dangerous and can kill. All fires, even small ones, can spread quickly.
    2. Even adults must follow special safety rules for fire.
    3. Keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children-even a 2 year old can operate a lighter. Never allow anyone to use lighters or matches in an unsafe manner in your home. Teach children to report to you any unattended matches or lighters they find.
    4. Point out to your children the safety rules we follow throughout the day.
    5. Know the resources in your community that deter arson and firesetting. Ask for help from your local fire department, your state Fire Marshal or the National Arson Prevention Clearing House (888-603-3100).

    Check our "links" and "hotlines" pages for more information...

    Auto Theft/Carjacking

    One vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds in the United States. Stolen cars, vans, trucks and motorcycles cost victims time and money-and increase everyone's insurance premiums. They are also often used to commit other crimes. Don't become a victim of this serious crime.

    Here are some ways to keep from becoming a victim:

    1. Never leave your keys in the car or ignition.
    2. Always lock your car.
    3. Avoid parking in isolated areas with little foot or auto traffic. Be especially alert in unstaffed lots and enclosed parking garages.
    4. If you think your are being followed, drive to the nearest police or fire station, open service station or other open business to get help.
    5. Don't pick up hitchhikers and don't be a hitchhiker yourself.
    6. Consider carrying a CB radio or cell phone to make it easier to summon help in an emergency.
    7. Drive with your doors locked and windows rolled up.
    8. When coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense trouble and need to get away.
    9. Even if you are in a rush, take time to look around and stay alert to your surroundings.

    Car thieves and carjackers look for opportunities to ply their trade at intersections controlled by lights or stop signs; garages and parking lots; self-serve gas stations and car washes; ATMs (Automated Teller Machines); and, any place where the driving public slows or stops their vehicles.

    Crimes against Persons (robbery, assault)

    As we have stated repeatedly, most crimes are opportunistic in nature. In most cases, the violent criminal is not out to get you. Like a predator, he is searching for prey. There is no technique or tip or weapon to guarantee that you won't be attacked.

    The following are some tips that may help you to not become a victim:

    1. Always look around and be aware of your surroundings. No one should be able to sneak up on you because you will see them coming.
    2. Keep the doors and windows of your car locked when you leave your car and as you are driving. Always glance in your back seat (and floorboard) before getting in your car.
    3. Always park in well lighted public areas.
    4. When using an ATM, make sure the area is well-lit and never count money outside.
    5. Always know your destination and have a planned route of travel.
    6. If you see another motorist in trouble, it is best to use your cell phone, or go to the nearest pay phone, to call police.
    7. If your vehicle is bumped from behind. Don't pull over on the roadway or shoulder. Drive to the nearest public area and call for police assistance.
    8. When walking, the ideal situation is to use a treadmill in the gym. If you must walk outside, choose well-lit public places. Walk with a friend, your dog or a stick. Any of these things makes you less attractive as a potential victim.
    9. If you are attacked, the best reaction is to scream and run as fast as possible. Never surrender your freedom. A woman who is abducted will very likely be raped and/or killed. A man who is abducted will almost certainly be killed.

    Your best protection against becoming a victim of violent crime is other people. No matter what his intent, the violent offender would prefer to not be seen by others. By any means, make yourself less attractive as prey.

    Crimes against Property (burglary)

    Burglary is not a sophisticated crime; it is a crime of opportunity. Burglaries most often occur where adequate precautions were not taken. Each year, in the U.S., there are more than five million burglaries. Nine out of ten of these crimes are preventable. The risk of being burglarized can be greatly reduced by taking simple steps to make your home or workplace more difficult to enter and less enticing to would-be burglars.

    Here are a few of them:

    1. Trim shrubs back to avoid providing cover for a burglar.
    2. Use outdoor lighting to illuminate potential entry areas. Consider installing motion-sensor or dusk-to-dawn lights.
    3. Consider installing an electronic security system.
    4. Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.
    5. Get a dog. Even a small dog creates a disturbance that the burglar would rather avoid.
    6. Work together with your neighbors and local law enforcement. Organize a neighborhood watch or operation identification program. Let your neighbors know when you plan to be away for any period of time. Have someone pick up your mail and cancel newspaper delivery when you go on vacation so they do not accumulate and alert criminals to your absence.
    7. Be sure to lock up ladders and tools that could be used to break in to your home.
    8. Just in case, make sure to keep a photographic or a video record of your belongings. Also, make sure to engrave an identification number on valuable items. Both steps will help you in the identification of your recovered property should it be stolen. Your record will also assist you in making any insurance claims.

    Cyber Crime/Computer Crime

    • Computer crime can involve criminal activities that are traditional in nature, such as theft, fraud forgery and mischief, all of which are generally subject everywhere to criminal sanctions. The computer has also created a host of potentially new misuses or abuses that may be criminal as well. The number of verifiable computer crimes is not considered to be accurate for a number of reasons. Such crimes are often not reported. Estimated losses are estimated to be between $145,000,000 and $730,000,000 per year. History has shown that computer crime is committed by a broad range of persons: students, amateurs, terrorists and members of organized crime groups. What distinguishes them is the nature of the crime committed. The individual who improperly accesses a computer system without further criminal intent is much different from the employee of a financial institution who skims funds from customer accounts.
    • Historically, economic value has been placed on visible and tangible assets. With the increasing appreciation that intangible data can possess economic value, they have become an economic asset that can be targeted for crime. The replacement cost of a piece of computer equipment may represent only a small portion of the economic loss caused by the theft of, or damage to, that equipment. Of much greater significance is the value of the information lost or made inaccessible by the misappropriation or damage.
    • The Division of Risk Management offers Electronic Data Processing Coverage intended to cover all such losses.

    The considerations involved in establishing and maintaining an adequate security program are, briefly, as follows:

    1. Identification of the electronic data processing (EDP) equipment (data, software, hardware, media, services and supplies) requiring protection;
    2. Establishment of the value of each of the assets;
    3. Identification of the threat associated with each of the assets;
    4. Identification of the vulnerability of the EDP system to these threats;
    5. Assessment of the risk exposure associated with each asset (probability of frequency of occurrence multiplied by impact of occurrence);
    6. Selection and implementation of security measures;
    7. Audit and refinement of the EDP security program on a continuing basis.

    See our "links" section for more suggestions and recommendations

    Fraud/Identity Theft

    Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Credit card numbers, driver's license numbers, social security numbers and other personal identification can earn a criminal thousands of dollars in a very short period of time. Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and pretends to be you to obtain credit cards, loans and even jobs. Using easily accessible public records, they can learn your place of employment, date of birth, and mother's maiden name. They can open a credit card account and immediately charge up to the limit–with no intention of paying.

    Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft:

    1. Tear up or shred all "pre-approved" credit card offers before throwing them away. Trash bags, trash cans and dumps are not secure. Thieves can retrieve these documents and open credit accounts with new addresses.
    2. When you purchase items with credit, always take your credit card receipts with you...don't just toss them in a wastebasket.
    3. Carefully examine each monthly credit card statement to ensure that every charge matches your credit card receipts.
    4. Never give out your passwords or PIN (Personal Identification Numbers).
    5. Never send you credit card numbers online without using a secure server (signified by a small padlock icon on your secondary toolbar.
    6. Never give out these important numbers over the phone....if you must, do not use a cordless phone or a cell phone.
    7. Obtain copies of your credit report periodically to see if there are any unknown credit lines in your name. All three major credit reporting agencies in the United States have toll free telephone numbers (Equifax-800-556-4711/Experian-800-353-0809/Trans Union-800-680-7293).

    Statistics concerning crimes of fraud are thought to be inaccurate due to the tendency of victims to not report the offense. Often times, victims are embarrassed to admit that they were "fooled" or "taken". Report all crimes to your local law enforcement authorities....it may keep someone else from falling victim to the same crime or scam.


    School Violence

    • Our nation's schools, once a protected haven for learning and growth, are no longer safe for teachers or students in many of our nation's communities. From overt violent acts, such as homicide and assaults, to concealed crimes, such as child sexual abuse, violence in schools affects everyone–teachers, parents, children and the whole community.
    • Victims of violent crime in the school, like victims elsewhere, may suffer physical ailments, withdrawal from peer relations, and display indifference to learning. They also may be more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs, which contributes to lack of learning, growth and development, and hinders the effective education of children.
    • 6 out of 10 teenagers are involved in volunteer activities. Almost 9 out of 10 teenagers would volunteer to take part in programs to help prevent crime and drug abuse if they knew how to get involved.
    • Programs like scouting, youth clubs, and similar efforts have documented that their members are less likely to be delinquent or drug-involved as youth and more likely to be successful as adults.
    • Many programs that prevent crime or help first-time young offenders are far cheaper ($1,000 to $4,000 per youth) than a year's cost for keeping a youth in detention ($20,000 to $30,000).

    The following are 10 things that you and your community can do to make youth, schools and communities safer:

    1. Teach children how to reduce their risk of being victims of violent crime. Insist on knowing at all times where your kids are, what they are doing, and who they are with.
    2. Get involved. Volunteer to help in community and neighborhood anti-crime and other community improvement efforts. Encourage groups you belong to-religious, civic, social-to help stop crime.
    3. Get to know your neighbors and agree to look out for each other. Get organized; work with the police.
    4. Don't support illegal activities, like buying stolen property or using illegal drugs. It's the wrong message to send a child, and it involves you in criminal activity.
    5. Find positive ways for youth in the neighborhood to spend their spare time, through organized recreation, tutoring programs, part-time work, and volunteer activities.
    6. Set up a neighborhood watch or a community patrol, working with police. Make sure your streets and homes are well lighted.
    7. Build a partnership with police, focused on solving problems instead of reacting to crises. Make it possible for neighbors to report suspicious activity or crimes without fear of retaliation.
    8. Take advantage of safety in numbers to hold rallies, marches, and other group activities to show you're determined drive out crime.
    9. Clean up the neighborhood! Involve everyone–teens, children, senior citizens. Graffitti, litter, abandoned cars, and run-down buildings tell criminals that you don't care about where you live or each other. Call the city public works department and ask for help in cleaning up.
    10. Work with schools to establish violence-free, drug-free, gun-free zones; work with recreation officials to do the same for parks.

    Workplace Crime

    • Many Americans may think that crime in the workplace is not their problem. They expect law enforcement officials to prevent workplace crimes. This attitude of "it's not my problem" is not realistic or practical-there are simply too many places to patrol and too few officers for the job.
    • Office thefts cost employers and employees millions of dollars each year. The real cost in time lost to replace stolen items, disruption of work, and personal stress associated with the violation of one's security, is immeasurable. Everyone must work harder to become the eyes and ears that will help keep our work environment crime free.

    The following tips might help you not become a victim:

    1. Keep your purse or wallet with you or locked in a secure drawer or cabinet.
    2. If you see a burglary, a theft or vandalism being committed, you should stay calm, do not try to confront the person, especially if you are alone. Immediately call the appropriate authority–emergency numbers should be posted near every phone. Jot down a description of the person you saw. Important things to remember are height, weight, race, age, hear color and haircut, complexion, facial hair, eyeglasses, color of eyes, scars or unusual marks. Describe clothing, jewelry, any weapon, and if a vehicle was used, its color, make, and license number.
    3. If you will be away from your desk for a few minutes, or out of the office for lunch, arrange for someone to answer your phone. Unanswered phones alert a potential thief that your office is unoccupied. If the phone system allows, call forward to a neighboring office or activate the voice mail or answering machine.
    4. Never leave money, credit cards, travel documents or anything else of value in an unlocked desk or cabinet. Secure all valuables. If you have coffee fund or office kitty that starts to add up to real money, open a credit union account and start earning interest. Never post a sign with the name of the person responsible for collecting the money-that leads thieves to the right desk.
    5. Always make sure you report anything stolen-government, corporate or personal property-to the local police or the building manager.
    6. When a repair person shows up to work on equipment in the office, or to remove equipment for repair or replacement, you should always check the identification of a stranger. Always check with the person authorizing the repair before allowing equipment to be removed.
    7. Never allow unauthorized repairs to alarm systems or communications equipment.
    8. The best way to remember safe and vault combinations or computer passwords for your office is to memorize them. You should also have a backup system. The best way is to write the combinations or passwords on a piece of paper and put it inside a folder. This folder should be kept in a locked cabinet or drawer.
    9. Always maintain strict key control procedures. If keys are taken, lost or stolen, all affected locks should be re-keyed. Consider installing a card key system. This will help with each facet of office crime prevention.
    10. Set up a notification system with your protective service and building maintenance staff to provide prompt responses to any potentially dangerous conditions.

    Workplace Violence

    • Convenience stores, gas stations, etc., have always had a greater exposure to violence because of the nature of those cash-based, extended-hours businesses. One can logically understand the violence associated with high-risk occupations. The nature of the premises an location creates a criminal opportunity for those desperate for cash.
    • There is not one single answer to explain why gun violence occurs in office settings. In high-risk occupations and locations, the business is usually the target and an employee becomes victimized during the commission of a criminal act. In the office setting, the targets are co-employees and supervisors regardless of the nature of the business.
    • Even though workplace homicides in business offices only represent a small percentage of the total, it is disconcerting that we can no longer feel safe in an otherwise safe setting. Most experts agree that the rage associated with the desire to kill fellow workers was probably detectable before the incident and was not adequately addressed either at home or on the job.

    Here are some tips:

    1. Unlike youthful robbers, workplace killers are usually older, over 35, and have significant tenure on the job. Almost all are male. Many have been described as "loners" who have been chronically disgruntled and have had problems with authority.
    2. The killer profile suggests that they never accept blame for their mistakes and had a tendency to transfer responsibility to others. The profile indicates that they don't accept change well and are overly suspicious and sometimes even paranoid of co-workers. Many workplace killers believed that they were being intentionally held back from promotion by their incompetent supervisors.
    3. In almost every case following a shooting spree, investigators were able to identify multiple "red flags" that indicated that the worker was angry, frustrated, and blamed their victims for their troubles. Killing sprees are usually the culmination of many years of unresolved personal problems and mismanaged stresses. Problems with alcohol and drugs, financial worries, and marriage and family pressures often aggravated their problems while coping with this fast-paced society.
    4. Most experts agree that there are triggers in the workplace that sometimes will seemingly push the unstable person over the edge. How a company, or agency, handles the triggering event can make a difference in the escalation of a potentially violent situation. Common workplace triggers that might instigate violence are terminations, layoffs, bad performance evaluations, and the belief that one was passed over for promotion.
    5. In addition to having knowledge about fair employment practices, discrimination, and drug abuse, now business managers and supervisors need training on how to deal with these potential violence triggers. Problematic employees will still have to be terminated and disciplined, but now more than ever they need to be treated fairly and with dignity.

    Emergency/Disaster Preparedness

    Severe Weather

    • There are a variety of severe weather hazards that affect the United States, including thunderstorms, floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes. Every year lives are threatened or lost, and property is destroyed by severe weather events.
    • Severe thunderstorms can produce very damaging winds. They can cause significant structural damage to buildings, especially weaker structures such as barns, canopies and outbuildings. Thunderstorms may be accompanied by large hail and dangerous lightning. Hail rarely causes injuries, but it can cause millions of dollars in damages to crops, vehicles and buildings. Lightning poses a significant risk to citizens. Victims are usually struck outdoors, but they can also be injured indoors when on the telephone, using appliances, or taking a bath/shower.
    • Flooding is a significant severe weather hazard. Nationwide, more than 75% of the Federal Disaster Declarations have historically resulted from flooding. Most casualties occur when motorists try to drive through flooded roadways and are swept away by strong currents.
    • Tornadoes pose the greatest severe weather risk to residents of Alabama. Most tornadoes produce rotating winds of 50 to 120 mph. They move at speeds of about 30 to 40 mph. There have been tornadoes recorded with winds of 200 mph moving at up to 70 mph.
    • The most costly natural disaster in U.S. history was named Hurricane Andrew. Andrew laid waste to commercial, institutional and residential buildings across southern Florida and southern Louisiana in 1992.


    It is very important to be familiar with the terms used to describe severe thunderstorm threats:

    Severe Thunderstorm Watch – Severe thunderstorms are possible. Watch the sky and listen to radio or television for more information. Be prepared to take shelter.

    Severe Thunderstorm Warning – Severe thunderstorms are occurring. Take shelter, turn on battery-operated radio or television, and wait for the "all clear announcement by authorities.

    How to prepare for severe thunderstorms/weather:

    1. Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio with battery backup and tone-alert feature which automatically alerts you when a Watch or Warning is issued.
    2. Choose an out of area contact that separated family members can call to report their whereabouts and condition.
    3. Keep important documents and records in a safe deposit box or other secure location.
    4. Maintain a disaster supplies kit.
    5. During the storm, keep all windows and doors closed with the shades or blinds drawn.
    6. Avoid using the telephone or other electrical appliances until the storm passes.
    7. Delay taking baths/showers until the storm passes.
    8. If outside, seek shelter immediately. If you hear thunder, you are probably close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning.
    9. If you are in a boat when a thunderstorm approaches, you should attempt to reach shore as quickly as possible.
    10. If driving, be alert for hazards in the roadway.

    Lightning Safety for buildings and individuals

    On average, lightning causes more casualties annually in the U.S. than any other storm related phenomena, except floods. Many people incur injuries or are killed due to misinformation or inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms. A few simple precautions can reduce major dangers posed by lightning.

    How to avoid lightning exposure:

    1. No place is absolutely safe from the lightning threat, however, some places are safer than others.
    2. Large enclosed structures tend to be much safer than smaller or open structures. The risk for lightning injury depends on whether the building incorporates lightning protection, construction materials used, and the size of the building.
    3. In general, fully enclosed vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses, vans, etc. with the windows rolled up provide the best shelter from lightning.
    4. Places to avoid include high places and open fields, isolated trees, unprotected gazebos, rain or picnic shelters, baseball dugouts, communications towers, flagpoles, light poles, bleachers, convertibles, golf carts and bodies of water.
    5. Avoid using the telephone, or other electrical appliances until the storm passes.
    6. Lightning threats continue well after a thunderstorm passes. Strikes can occur even in sunny skies.
    7. To protect buildings, apply the benefits of Faraday Cage (lightning rod) concepts where possible...employ multiple downconductors/structural steel/rebar/metal stud walls/wire mesh/etc. into the shielding design.
    8. Bond all buried and overhead building entry penetrations such as utility pipes, service ducts, etc to the Faraday Cage or to an equivalent ground electrode system at the building entry.
    9. Employ a buried ground ring and/or Ufer ground where practical. Use thermal welds on all below-ground connections. Assure that buried grounds are directed away from exterior assets.

    Floods/Flash Floods

    Drowning has been the number one cause of deaths related to flooding. Flash floods are a common and widespread disaster that can occur anywhere in the United States. The sheer force of just 6 inches of swiftly moving water can knock a person off his feet. Cars are easily swept away in just two feet of water. Flash floods can occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak within minutes. No area is immune to flash floods.

    The following alerts are issued by the National Weather Service:

    Flash Flood Watch - This alert is issued when flash flooding is possible within the designated watch area.

    Flash Flood Warning - This alert will be issued when a flash flood has been reported or is imminent. Take necessary precautions.

    How to prepare for flooding:

    1. Floods and storms can also knock down power lines. If you lose power, never use a gas oven, range, barbecue, hibachi or portable propane heater to heat your home. These units give off deadly carbon monoxide.
    2. Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. You can be stranded, trapped or swept away. Flood water depths can be much deeper than they appear. The depth of water may be difficult to assess.
    3. Flood waters carry silt, raw sewage, oil or chemical waste. Wash your hands frequently with soap and disinfected water to prevent spread of disease.
    4. Be especially cautious at night. It is harder to recognize the danger at night.
    5. Know where high ground is and how to get there quickly.
    6. Store drinking water in clean bathtubs and in various containers. Water service may be interrupted.
    7. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees.
    8. Boil drinking water before using. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested for purity before drinking.
    9. Use flashlights, not lanterns or torches, to examine buildings. Flammables may be nearby.
    10. Throw away food, frozen or otherwise, that may have come in contact with flood waters.

    The Division of Risk Management provides access to flood insurance.


    • Tornadoes occur in many parts of the world but are most frequently found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains during the spring and summer months. In an average year, 800 tornadoes are reported nationwide, resulting in 80 deaths and over 1500 injuries. The most violent tornadoes are capable of tremendous destruction with wind speeds in excess of 250 miles per hour. Occasionally, two or more tornado funnels occur at the same time. Waterspouts are weak tornadoes that occur over water.
    • Tornadoes can occur at any time of year at any time of day.

    Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in your area. Remain alert for approaching storms.

    Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. If a tornado warning is issued for your area and the sky becomes threatening, move to your pre-designated place of safety.

    Remember, tornadoes occasionally develop in areas in which a severe thunderstorm watch or warning is in effect.

    How to prepare for tornado weather:

    1. Develop a plan for you and your family for home, work, school and when outdoors. Have frequent drills.
    2. Have a NOAA weather radio with a warning alarm tone and battery back-up to receive warnings. Listen to radio and television for information.
    3. In a home or building, move to a pre-designated shelter, such as a basement or inner hallway or a room with no windows. Make sure to stay on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture. Use pillows or mattresses to shield your head. If they are not available, use your hands.
    4. Stay away from windows.
    5. Get out of automobiles. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car, instead, leave it immediately. Tornadoes can change directions quickly and can easily lift up a vehicle and toss it through the air. If possible, get under an overpass or other sturdy concrete structure. If all else fails, lay in a ditch or other low point.
    6. Mobile homes, even when tied down, offer little protection from tornadoes and should be abandoned. Mobile homes can easily be turned over. As in #5 above, seek shelter outside of the trailer.
    7. Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, gymnasiums, and large hallways. Stay away from windows and open spaces.
    8. If in a high-rise building, go to small, interior rooms or hallways on the lowest floor possible and seek protection as outlined above.
    9. Most public places have a shelter area for such emergencies. Make sure that you know the whereabouts of such shelters at all times.
    10. If unaffected by the tornado, stay out of the damaged area until allowed by officials, your presence may hamper emergency operations.


    • Hurricane season officially runs from June 1st through the end of November. Many people think that they will not be affected by a major hurricane, and do not take time to think about preparedness. The State Insurance Fund reported that the state of Alabama had hurricane related damages to roofs as far north as Fort Payne!
    • A hurricane is an intense tropical weather system with a well defined circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph or higher. The bulk of damage is caused by what is known as the storm surge. The storm surge is a large dome of water, often 50 to 100 miles wide, that sweeps ashore near where a hurricane strikes land and typically accounts for nine of ten hurricane fatalities.
    • Tornadoes and flooding are secondary hazards related to hurricane.
    • Thanks to modern detection and tracking devices, the National Weather Service can usually provide 12 to 24 hours of advance warning. Advisories are issued by the Weather Service of NOAA when hurricanes approach land.

    Hurricane Watch - This advisory is issued whenever a hurricane becomes a threat to coastal areas. Everyone in the area covered by the watch should listen for further advisories and be prepared to act promptly if a hurricane warning or evacuation order is issued.

    Hurricane Warning - This advisory is issued when hurricane winds of 74 miles an hour or higher, or a combination of dangerously high water and very rough seas, are expected in a specific coastal area within 24 hours. Precautionary actions should begin immediately.

    Here are some steps to prepare for hurricane weather:

    1. If you live in a coastal area, identify your evacuation route. Your community's hurricane evacuation plan includes designated safe areas, areas to be evacuated during a hurricane emergency, and safe evacuation routes to shelter. Get information on emergency planning in your area by contacting your local civil defense or emergency services office.
    2. Keep tuned to local radio or television stations for the latest National Weather Service advisories as well as special instructions from local government.
    3. Check battery-powered equipment. Your battery-operated radio could be your only source of information, and flashlights will be needed if utility services are interrupted. Keep extra batteries on hand
    4. Keep your car fueled up should evacuation become necessary. Also, service stations may be inoperable after the storm strikes.
    5. Store drinking water in clean bathtubs, jugs, bottles and cooking utensils as your towns water system may be contaminated or damaged by the storm. Obtain extra prescription medications and medical supplies.
    6. Board up windows or protect them with storm shutters. Windows are broken mainly from wind-driven debris. Wind pressure may break large windows, garage doors and double entry doors.
    7. Secure outdoor objects that might become debris. Garbage cans, garden tools, toys, signs, porch furniture, and a number of other harmless items become deadly missiles in hurricane winds.
    8. Moor your boat securely well before the storm arrives, or move it to a designated safe area early. Do not stay on the boat or you may drown.
    9. If you live inland away from the beaches and low-lying coastal areas, your home is well constructed, and local authorities have not called for evacuation in your area, stay home and make emergency preparations.
    10. Be alert for tornado watches and warnings as tornadoes are often spawned by hurricanes. Should your area receive a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately in an interior bathroom or small hall, preferably below ground level.