By Jan Teague, President/CEO
I was in Las Vegas when this happened. I was safe but impacted as was the entire city. There were no taxis, roads were closed, the airport was closed, the restaurants were closed, the employees were gone. Only the police were at the front door of our hotel keeping anyone from entering or leaving. People were herded to a safe area of the hotel. We slipped up to our room and watched from the 16th floor as ambulances and police cars ran down the road towards Mandalay Bay. We watched local TV as it showed thousands of people being herded down the main road out of the reach of the flying bullets. The news was reporting multiple locations and hotels and multiple people doing shooting.
We were definitely worried about our safety. Mass confusion was what we saw on the local station. It didn’t matter your age or your ability. People needed to get out of the area and law enforcement was keeping everyone moving down the street. There was no way of knowing at that time how many people had been shot or how big of a problem the city was having.
I didn’t sleep that night. And now days later, I realize how this did impact the entire city and all of the visitors from other places. Our safety was everyone’s top priority. As I thought about how complex that really was, I understood just how important it is for all of us to be vigilant in our work environments and to understand with high regard the importance of safety training for every work environment. It’s about your employees and it’s about your customers at the same time.
We hear a lot about the role of our police and our first responders. But what I saw was how the everyday worker also played a role. We can’t underestimate how such a terrible experience is one that we all are a part of in some small way. I saw it time and again in Las Vegas that night and into the next day as people found their way to their flights without their bags, without their shoes, and exhausted from being held on the street all night long until it was safe.
Your association works to do its part to remind you all about having a safe work environment. As I visited with Tammie Hetrick today about what we can do, we have training for active shooter situations. Please take a look at that information on our RASI website. WRA members can go here for further information. You can also call our Safety Specialist, Rick Means, at 360-200-6454.