Local public safety forces recently gave state workers a demonstration and training about how to respond to an "active aggressor" in the workplace.

Dangerous incidents in offices, schools and public buildings have occurred in the United States in recent years.

Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation officials said the agency each year seeks to equip its employees with tactical knowledge of how to respond to random attacks in their work place.

The latest example took place Oct. 18 at the bureau's Ohio Center for Occupational Safety and Health, 13430 Yarmouth Drive in Pickerington.

Safety teams from the bureau's 13 service offices took in demonstrations and training from the Pickerington Police Department and the Violet Township Fire Department.

The daylong sessions included presentations from the Pickerington SWAT team. Officers acted out active-aggressor scenarios in the workplace, and strategies for how to survive.

Both the SWAT team and Violet Township firefighter-paramedics also discussed the roles of first-responders to work place emergencies and instructed workers about how to both seek refuge from attackers and provide on-site treatment for injuries.

"If you can get out, leave," said Jim Birdwell, a Violet firefighter-paramedic.

Birdwell and fellow firefighter-paramedics Rob Gibson and John Lambrecht showed the state workers "stop-the-bleed" kits, which included gauze rolls and tourniquets, and how to apply them to co-workers who suffer bullet wounds or cuts.

They also instructed workers about finding safe places to lock themselves away and wait for help from first-responders if they could not flee.

"It's a different world out there," Gibson said. "You've got to be (prepared).

"The people who do these heinous things, they're smart, they prepare and they know what they're doing," he said.

"So, we have to be smart, too. We have to increase our awareness and know what to do to get out of there."

Bureau of Workers' Compensation Public Information Officer Tony Gottschlich the training is in response to "active aggressor situations (that) are occurring more frequently across the country."

He said the safety team workers who took in the training would be charged with taking their renewed knowledge back to their service offices and teaching co-workers the best ways to respond to workplace attacks.

"We rely on the Safety and Wellness Team leads to not only share important safety and wellness information, but to lead by example," Gottschlich said.

"The leads and their teams are an integral part of annual evacuation drills, basic building safety inspections, coordination of flu vaccination events and a host of other safety and wellness events.

"We take these issues very seriously, and we feel consistent communication and instruction is the best practice to ensure our employees' safety and welfare."

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