Civil unrest: important lessons for protecting lives and businesses
Actions that property owning organizations can take to better protect facilities, tenants and employees from civil unrest.
Article provided by Preparis.
The recent killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, sparked a national response so powerful that frequent protests ignited throughout the United States bringing greater awareness to injustices that are still prevalent in our modern society. These protests and demonstrations, when performed peacefully, can bring together a community in ways that few other actions can; however, as can be seen with the happenings surrounding Ferguson, protests have a way of spiraling out of control, causing catastrophic damage and loss of life.
From a property management perspective, it is important for the safety of your tenants and the protection of your properties to understand the cultural dynamics within the communities adjacent to your business locations, stay abreast of the events involving political discord that could permeate those business locations, prepare for the worst scenario—civil disturbances involving your properties—and properly respond to instances of civil unrest. This article offers a guide to help you begin the process of achieving these goals in the event that other instances of civil unrest hit closer to home.
Recognizing civil unrest
Analyzing the crowd
Often used interchangeably, civil unrest and civil disturbance describe a time in which the public, in whole or in part, is in a troubled emotional state, usually in objection to some event or ruling. These terms are generally applied to the wide range of actions that groups can take during these periods of turmoil: such as protests, demonstrations, and riots.
Although we have a right to publicly assemble, like our other constitutional rights, the line is drawn when the threat of violence is likely or acts of violence are evident. One lesson learned from Ferguson is that even the most well-intentioned crowd can quickly erupt into violent behavior. That is because crowds are not made up of one cohesive unit and, even though a crowd may gather for a similar cause, the individuals and subgroups therein may have ulterior motives.
In the April 2014 Army Techniques Publication on Civil Disturbances (ATP 3-39.33), escalated tumultuous crowd dynamics are described in one of the following three ways:
Reading through these descriptions, it is easy to see how the peaceful protest contributing to public disorder can rise to public disturbance and even riots as the environment within the initial protest continually reacts to internal and external attitudes and actions.
Understanding community dynamics
According to ATP 3-39.33, there are several reasons why a particular community, group, or subgroup may be more likely to exhibit collective troubled emotional attitudes. These reasons include “economic hardships, social injustices, ethnic differences (leading to oppression), objections to world organizations or certain governments, political grievances, terrorist acts, other man-made disasters, and natural disasters”. Depending on the location of your buildings, one or more of the above sensitive topics may already be in play in your area. Knowing which exists, if any grievances exist, can help you anticipate a potential disturbance.
Below is a list of suggestions to help you understand the community dynamics near your properties:
Preparing for the worst
Staying up-to-date with the news of the activities and events near your properties can seem like a daunting task, depending on the number of properties you manage and whether or not you live nearby. One way to easily keep track of major events your tenants, neighboring businesses, and communities as a whole produce or participate in is through the use of social media. Following their companies on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, for example, will give you access to their most current information. Additionally, subscribing to related feeds or newsletters will give you other channels for staying informed.
Awareness of what could happen to your tenants, properties, or both is not enough. Your tenants should also be aware of what steps to take in the event of civil unrest, but specifically, your role and expectations. Share your property incident management plan and be sure to practice it.
Responding to civil disturbances
In the event that you or your tenants do not have an incident management plan in place and civil unrest is unfolding in your vicinity, the following may be used to help you get your tenants and property through the situation as safely as possible:
The best way to respond to civil unrest is to devise a strategy, train and test it, and implement it as quickly as necessary.
•Date: 19th September 2014 • US/World •Type: Article • Topic: BC: facilities & buildings
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