News and Events

COVID-19: Security Blogs

Oscar Villanueva
May 19, 2020

 

 

 

Avoiding Counterfeit and Untested COVID-19 Medical Products

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services at R3 Continuum

 

Counterfeit personal protection equipment (PPE), untested and unapproved treatments and fake COVID-19 tests are being peddled by unscrupulous operators taking advantage of people’s fear and anxiety. These items are at best the products of fraud scams and at worst a significant deadly threat to unsuspecting consumers who believe they are buying legitimate approved items. While we seek solutions and information to quell pandemic-related fears for ourselves, our colleagues or our loved ones, it’s important to maintain good judgement, especially regarding products being marketed to us.

 

An example of the magnitude of this problem was shared in a news report describing the Baltimore Field Office of U.S. Customs recent seizure of some of these items during a law enforcement operation. Items confiscated included:

  • More than 1,350 unapproved and counterfeit COVID-19 test kits.
  • Nearly 400 counterfeit N95 respirator masks.
  • Nearly 2,500 unapproved and potentially counterfeit medicines, including. Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate, Chloroquine, Azithromycin, Linhua Qingwen and Liushen Jiaonang.
  • More than 67,000 counterfeit Accu-Chek test strips.

 

Consumers desperately looking for a cure or test will continue to purchase questionable products without regard to their effectiveness or authenticity, and by doing so, will continue to fuel this problem.

 

How To Protect Yourself from Counterfeit and Unapproved Medical Products

 

There are ways you can protect yourself from purchasing counterfeit products. The FDA provides several tips to keep in mind when identifying false or misleading claims related to the COVID-19 virus.

 

First, it is important to keep in mind that there are no approved vaccines or cures for COVID-19, and any claims to the contrary should be viewed with suspicion and investigated further.

 

When it comes to other related products, here are some tips:

  • Be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases.
  • Personal testimonials are no substitute for scientific evidence; be sure to check your sources.
  • Few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of any therapy claimed as a “quick fix.”
  • “Miracle cures,” which claim scientific breakthroughs or contain secret ingredients, are likely a hoax.
  • Know that you cannot test yourself for coronavirus disease.
  • A good filter to use for all products: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

 

For more insights and information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding COVID-19 and regulated products, visit www.fda.gov.

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

 

Keeping Your Guns Secured — Accidental Shootings Spike as Children Spend More Time at Home

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services at R3 Continuum

 

As parents seek to take protective measures during the COVID-19 crisis, gun ownership has increased. However, their worst nightmares are also coming true as children who are exposed to or find unsecured guns at home accidentally fire the weapons, to their own detriment. This is a dilemma for responsible gun owners who want to have accessibility to their weapons while keeping them away from children.

 

A recent CBS News report mentioned that there has been a 43 percent increase in unintentional shootings by children in March and April 2020 compared to the same months in the past three years.  There appears to be a correlation between this increase in shootings and the current shelter-in-place period.  It could be that as schools are closed and kids spend more time at home, they have more opportunities to finds unsecured firearms. Or perhaps parents have become a bit laxed in securing their weapons since they are home most of the time and feel they can keep an eye on this. Whatever the reason, this is a devastating trend and one that could continue with many of us still following government guidelines or personal decisions to stay at home to prevent COVID-19 infection.

 

How can you properly secure guns at home?

 

It is a gunowner’s responsibility to safely handle and secure their weapons, especially around children. According to HealthyChildren.org, even young toddlers have enough hand strength to pull the trigger on a firearm. Here are 10 safety tips from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) to handle and keep firearms safe at home:

  • Always keep the firearm’s muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
  • Always keep your finger off the trigger until you intend to shoot.
  • Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use.
  • Be sure you know how your firearm operates.
  • Store your firearms in a locked cabinet, safe, gun vault or storage case when not in use, ensuring they are in a location inaccessible by children and cannot be handled by anyone without your permission.
  • Store your ammunition in a locked location, separate from firearms.
  • Use a gun locking device that renders the firearm inoperable when not in use. A gun lock should be used as an additional safety precaution and not as a substitute for secure storage.
  • Make sure young people in your home are aware of and understand the safety guidelines concerning firearms.
  • Always unload, clean, and place your firearms in their secure storage location immediately after use.
  • Educate everyone in your family about firearms safety.

 

The right to bear arms brings with it the responsibility to keep loved ones safe and out of harm’s way. Together, we can reverse these trends and keep our children safe while we navigate the new circumstances we find ourselves in.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

 

The Effect of the COVID-19 Crisis on the US Criminal Court System

 

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

The criminal court system in the United States was already overwhelmed prior to COVID-19. Now courts at the state and federal level are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in several ways.

 

Courts are temporarily shutting down operations and exploring ways to accommodate social distancing and proper health practices while facing considerable obstacles to continue functioning at some level. The overwhelmed judicial system is also responding by cancelling or postponing jury duty, rescheduling trials, carrying out procedures via video conferencing, and seeking to increase the number of plea deals with non-violent offenders to reduce the regular day-to-day functioning of the system.

 

What challenges will this bring?

 

One of the most alarming and probable byproducts of the overwhelmed court system is the overcrowding of jails as defendants wait their turn in court. There are currently more than 500,000 inmates in jails around the country who have not been convicted or sentenced. That figure will rise exponentially if the courts don’t somehow manage the number of cases coming in with timely adjudication.

 

One additional challenge criminal courts face during this crisis is compliance with the Speedy Trial Act. The act requires that judicial court proceedings in a criminal case be completed within a certain amount of time. Failure to comply with the Speedy Trial Act can result in convictions and sentences being removed and charges dismissed. The time limits outlined in the act can be postponed or extended in several ways, for example, when a defense attorney asks for additional time to prepare (a continuance). The courts must be mindful of the Speedy Trial Act as they move forward to manage COVID-19 circumstances.

 

The end result of this situation for the courts is a major delay to their operations, and for those in jail awaiting their day in court, long delays with no end in sight.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

 

5/5/2020

Speeding Increased on US Highways During the COVID-19 Crisis

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

Speeding on U.S. highways is not a new phenomenon, and the drastic reduction in traffic volume due to people sheltering in place has become an attractive opportunity for those looking to test how fast their vehicles can go. Businesses are closed, schools are shut down, people are staying home, yet many of the people that are still driving are speeding. Reports from various parts of the United States have indicated this is a real problem, although it is likely only temporary, and should return back to normal when the volume of people staying at home begins to subside.

 

Where is this happening?

There are recent reports from Lincoln, NE of a large increase in citations for driving over 100 mph.  Similar issues have been reported in Los Angeles, New York City, and Orlando. In addition the California Highway Patrol are reporting an increase of 25% year over year in citations for speeding. It is important for everyone to keep in mind that the roads and highways continue to be patrolled by law enforcement and the laws have not changed because of reduced traffic.

 

Safety is key

Avoid driving recklessly and violating speed limits. If you witness such behavior, consider reporting it to the authorities. Your call and the authorities intervention may save a life. Here are some driving tips to stay safe and avoid speeding:

  • Do not be in a rush, allow enough time to arrive at your destinations without speeding.
  • If you do think of speeding, consider the speeding citation you can receive and how much that will cost you. The average citation is about $150 but can be significantly higher than that depending on the location and circumstances.
  • Prevent inadvertent speeding by using your cruise control.
  • Above all be an alert driver and follow the rules. Your safety depends on it.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

 

 

5/4/2020

COVID-19 Causes Increased Use of Thermal Cameras and Temperature Monitoring Devices

The Balance Between Privacy and Disease Detection and Prevention

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services at R3 Continuum

 

Thermal imaging technology has been in existence since the 1960’s. It was initially developed by the military for use in lowlight conditions and was quickly adopted by law enforcement for surveillance and other first responder applications¹. Since then it has evolved to a variety of uses in agriculture, construction, and medicine, among others. As a result of widespread use, questions regarding fourth amendment (unreasonable search and seizure) violations have come up. In a 2001 5-4 decision the US Supreme Court ruled that the use of thermal imaging of a house under investigation by law enforcement was equal to a search and required a warrant. Fast forward to today and the medical use of this technology now called telethermographic systems is again in the news.

 

What you need to know.

Thermal cameras are being deployed in large numbers along with other devices that measure temperature to detect individuals with a fever, a core symptom of COVID-19 infection. The technology is not fool proof and false positives are likely as an individual can have an elevated temperature because of exercise, a hot room, or for several other normal reasons. However, the use of a thermal camera as a preliminary detection with a thermometer as a secondary check, or other COVID-19 screening can be useful.

Currently there is no federal regulation of human temperature scans for this purpose. This includes the FDA recently announcing they don’t intend to regulate the widespread use of these devices.  As things go, the use of telethermographic systems to monitor fever is likely to be challenged as an invasion of privacy, a violation of the fourth amendment, and a breach of medical and personal health information (PHI) regulations.

 

Why does this matter?

A new normal is evolving from this COVID-19 crisis, and part of that will be temperature monitoring and other screenings as businesses and government facilities seek to minimize exposure to the disease. Everyone should expect to undergo this type of screening soon as society opens again and we all get back to work, school, and other activities.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

 

 

4/23/2020

Civil Unrest is a Possibility as COVID-19 Crisis Continues:

How You Can Prepare for Safety and Security

 

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

Daily news reports remind us of the pernicious nature of the COVID-19 crisis. The unemployment rate is rising in the US and globally, the response by governments is often not as timely and effective as needed, and people everywhere are already, or beginning to, struggle financially. Add this to the likelihood of business failures and a protracted period of unemployment—and you have a strong case for civil unrest.

 

These conditions, plus extended shelter-in-place orders may make many intolerant and socially non-compliant. This can already be seen in recent unrest, including:

 

 

The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating poverty in many parts of the world, and those caught in a dire situation will be more likely to take matters into their own hands.

 

Businesses can prepare for civil unrest by:

 

  • Ensuring emergency preparedness and business continuity plans are up to date
  • Having an emergency communication plan for employees
  • Ensuring evacuation procedures are current and properly communicated to all
  • Having alternate sites to stand up essential company operations in case main facilities are not accessible
  • Securing external resources in advance to assist in an emergency
  • Considering supplies necessary to function and securing those items in advance

 

Individuals should keep these tips in mind if confronted with a civil unrest situation:

 

  • Be alert and practice situational awareness.
  • Do not be distracted by your smartphone when out and about.
  • Be aware of your surroundings if you are entering what appears to be an unsafe situation.
  • Always be aware of escape routes for emergencies, and quickly leave areas of unrest.
  • Avoid protest-related large gatherings.
  • If you suspect an unrest situation, stay away from locations likely to be the target or site of protests, such as government buildings.
  • If violence occurs, evacuate the area as fast as possible and seek shelter.
  • Keep your car full of fuel to facilitate evacuation just in case civil unrest disrupts supply chain for critical services.

 

Following these simple security tips can help keep you, your family, and your business safe and secure.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

 

 

4/22/2020

Return to Work Considerations as COVID-19 Crisis Winds down: Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity

 

On this final post of our return to work series, I will cover emergency preparedness (EP) which is the actions your organization can and should take prior, during and after a natural or man made disaster or emergency; and business continuity (BC) the planning and execution of actions focused on recovering from the disaster or emergency.

 

Man-made emergencies and natural disasters are unpredictable and can wreak havoc on an organization. And helping your organization maintain physical and psychological resiliency by being prepared for potential emergencies and disasters is vital. This can be accomplished by creating and implementing a well thought out plan to ensure the safety and emotional wellbeing of your employees, restore damaged property and assets, and recover quickly to resume essential services.

 

The scale of the disruption when a disaster or emergency strikes is an unknown but can be anticipate if properly planned for. Preparing EP and BC plans requires an intimate knowledge of your organization and the participation of and input from representatives of each department. This falls in the category of “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”, a famous quote from Benjamin Disreali, former British Prime Minister in the early 1800’s.

 

Creating these plans includes the following general areas:

 

Emergency Preparedness

 

  • Conducting a risk assessment of threats and hazards the organization may face
  • Identifying potential points of failure in which a process can fail due to a lack of backup or proper execution
  • Creating and standing up a Crisis Management Team (CMT)
  • Creating a communication plan
  • Having effective emergency response protocols
  • Implementing a shelter in place or evacuation plan
  • Having a process to account for all employees and assets

 

Business Continuity

 

  • Creating a plan and standing up a disaster recovery team
  • Identifying essential organizational functions and how those can be back in operation within a predetermined amount of time after the disaster or emergency
  • Identifying, protecting, and having access to essential organizational assets such as intellectual property, negotiable instruments, critical documents, etc.
  • Having contingencies for alternate workspace

Developing this core elements into an effective program takes a bit of work and expertise. The program can be created by internal subject matter experts If the company has such talent on its staff. If this is not the case, an external subject matter expert should be contacted to do this work.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

4/16/2020

Return to Work Considerations as COVID-19 Crisis Winds Down: Workplace Violence Program

 

On this post I will cover creating a workplace violence prevention and mitigation program. As businesses get back to work it is important to revisit the security stance of the company and what can be done to ensure a safe and secure environment.

 

There are two types of companies when it comes to workplace violence: those that have experienced an incident and those that will experience an incident. And according to OSHA, approximately two million workers per year are victims of workplace violence. This is probably undercounted as many incidents are not reported. These numbers are significant and dealing with workplace violence incidents place a real burden on companies. Depending on the scope of the incident, the effect on a company can include degradation on employee morale, productivity, operations, finances, and in many cases, the company brand. Also, under the General Duty Clause in the OSHA act of 1970, employers have a requirement to “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

 

Here are the basic core elements of a workplace violence prevention and mitigation program per OSHA:

 

  • Management commitment and employee participation
  • Worksite analysis and hazard identification
  • Record keeping and program evaluation
  • Worksite analysis and hazard identification
  • Hazard prevention and control

Developing this core elements into an effective program that can be operationalized takes some work and expertise. The program can be created by internal subject matter experts If the company has such talent on its staff. If this is not the case, an external subject matter expert should be contacted to do this work.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

 

4/15/2020

Return to Work Considerations as COVID-19 Crisis Winds down: Facility Security Plan

 

On our last security blog post we discussed doing a physical security assessment of your facilities as part of a return to work strategy following the upcoming easing of COVID-19 restrictions. A physical security assessment is considered the cornerstone of effective security for a facility and helps identify gaps in policies and procedures as well as ways to correct them.

 

In today’s post we will discuss the importance of creating a facility-specific security plan, which is a necessary component of an effective facility strategy.

 

A facility security plan is important because it helps protects the organization from criminal attack and reduces unauthorized access while providing protocols to follow when there is an incident. The plan must be customized to the facility and the priorities of that specific operation. Here are the basic components of a facility security plan per industry best practices and guidelines:

 

  • Facility profile
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Asset identification
  • Risk Analysis
  • Risk Management Strategy
  • Security Countermeasures
  • Testing Procedures
  • Incident Response Management and Procedures
  • Facility Specific Policies
  • Information Security
  • Training and exercising the plan
  • Plan Review
  • Resources support

This approach is focused on creating an effective plan that will help protect the facilities people, assets and operation. The plan can be created by internal subject matter experts If the company has such talent on its staff. If this is not the case, an external subject matter expert should be contacted to do this work.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

4/14/2020

Return to Work Considerations as COVID-19 Crisis Winds down Physical Security Assessments

 

The COVID-19 crisis has presented several challenges to businesses that required adapting quickly to changing circumstances. The same will be true during what is expected to be a gradual return to business activity. The security of people, assets and operations should be a part of a return to business strategy. In this post we will provide information on how to keep your assets and operation secure by conducting a physical security assessment of your workplace.

 

A physical security assessment can be considered the cornerstone of effective security for a facility. Identifying gaps in security and correcting those gaps is essential and frequently informs and influences security policies such as a facility security plan, crisis management plan and a workplace violence prevention and mitigation program.

 

Facilities come in all shapes and sizes, and the assessment needs to be customized to the facility and priorities of the operation. Here are the basic general components of a physical security assessment:

 

  • Internal and external observations
  • Review of existing security countermeasures
  • Review of existing security policies and procedures
  • Evaluation of security guard services (if applicable)
  • Evaluation and analysis of criminal activity in the vicinity of the facility

 

This approach is focused on accomplishing a systematic evaluation of physical security. This assessment can be done with internal resources If the company has security personnel on its staff with the appropriate expertise. If this is not the case, an external subject matter expert should be contacted to do this work.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

The COVID-19 Federal Stimulus Package

How Small Businesses Can Protect Themselves from Fraud

 

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

The COVID-19 federal stimulus package includes direct payments to individuals, unemployment relief, and small business loans to help with payroll and rent. While these are important steps in helping to mitigate the significant economic consequences of the pandemic, small businesses will be particularly vulnerable to fraud.

 

The Small Business Administration began accepting applications on April 3rd for its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (part of the $2 trillion federal stimulus package). Demand has been overwhelming, and as in prior economic stimulus periods, fraudsters started targeting businesses as soon as the initiative was announced.

 

Potential fraud scams facing businesses seeking assistance might include:

  • requesting upfront fees to apply for a loan,
  • offers of high interest bridge loans,
  • and other similar scams.

 

The Better Business Bureau is warning against a particular scam being perpetrated through email or text from individuals claiming to be SBA attorneys. These “attorneys” contact unsuspecting businesses regarding COVID-19 SBA grants and offer to assist with the application process for an upfront fee.

 

These tips can help protect  your small business from SBA COVID-19 stimulus fraud:

  • Work only with and through banks you know and trust
  • Be wary of unsolicited texts, calls or emails offering assistance
  • Don’t trust every text, call or email you receive as legitimate and don’t open emails from unknown sources
  • Verify requests for documents received via email through a phone call or other non-electronic way prior to taking any action
  • Don’t automatically click on email attachments prior to verifying authenticity
  • Heed warnings from your computer browser regarding suspicious sites
  • Watch out for emails claiming to be from the CDC or experts with have information about COVID-19 or Coronavirus financial relief
  • Independently verify any offer for assistance
  • Don’t provide payments or bank account information to unverified sources

 

Remember, fraud can be avoided with basic prevention and awareness. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

 

4/8/2020

Social Distancing and Stay at Home Orders Are An Enforcement Challenge

 

As we all wait for the COVID-19 curve to flatten and start to recede, the calls by state governments to observe social distancing and comply with stay at home orders is becoming and enforcement challenge in many places. By know news reports of crowded beaches in Florida, people dining in groups at busy restaurants all over the world and crowded national parks have become common place. As a result some government agencies are having to work hard at enforcing the rules.

 

 

The same is occurring at cities all over the United States as staying at home is increasingly becoming a burden for many people.

 

Recent reports as late as today, April 8, 2020, indicate we are reaching the apex of infections and a downward trend is in sight. Until then it is important to continue to adhere to stay at home orders as requested by state governments.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

4/6/2020

Tempers Run High as COVID-19 Crisis Continues

 

Tempers are running high as many people are in self-quarantine and the COVID-19 crisis is ongoing. Recent examples demonstrate how this epidemic is impacting the world’s population, causing high rates of anxiety and stress in a variety of settings and locations around the world.

 

 

The longer this crisis goes on, including shelter in place government orders, the more anxiety is likely to increase, and emotions continue to run high. We can expect to see continued instability and possibly acts of violence for the short term until these conditions change for the better and people are able to return to whatever the new normal will be.

 

If you find yourself in need of leaving your home during the shelter in place period consider following these tips to stay safe:

 

  • Be alert and practice situational awareness.
  • Don’t be distracted by your smartphone when out and about.
  • Be aware of your surroundings if you’re entering what appears to be an unsafe situation.
  • Always be aware of escape routes for emergencies and consider alternate ways to escape if the main exit is blocked.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

 

4/3/2020

Violent Extremists Want to Use COVID-19 To Attack Vulnerable Targets

 

Recent reports from the Department of Homeland Security indicates domestic and international violent extremist are looking to use the COVID-19 crisis to promote their agenda and take advantage of a new attack methodology. Specifically, these groups are encouraging infected members of their groups and others sympathetic to their cause to spread the virus to specific targets including law enforcement, minority communities, houses of worship and public transportation among others.

 

This is an opportunistic approach by violent extremists to take advantage of a significant crisis and leverage members of their groups and sympathizers infected with the disease to spread it to others as a weapon of fear and potential illness and death. While many of these potential attackers may not engage as encouraged for a variety of reasons, many will, and even a small response to these “call to arms” can do significant damage.

 

In a related case, this past month Timothy Wilson, an alleged white supremacist, was arrested as he planned to bomb a hospital in Kansas. Wilson’s reason for carrying out this attack was the high consequence of the event during a time when media coverage of the COVID-19 crisis is significant. The lesson here is that where there is a will there is a way, and this threat should be taken seriously.

 

Here are some tips of how you can protect yourself from a terrorist attack

  • Understand risk/vulnerabilities
  • Practice situational awareness
  • Follow your instincts
  • Practice “See Something Say Something”
  • Notify police of any suspected activity
  • Alert others
  • Follow protocols for social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis and be wary of anyone not doing the same

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

4/2/2020

The COVID-19 Crisis Continues to Take A Toll on Police and Other First Responders

 

On our March 16, 2020 blog post, we discussed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on emergency services and first responders. Since then, things have continued to deteriorate for these service providers we have come to rely on in times of crisis. A US News and World Report article lists a number of police departments struggling with this issue:

  • NYPD – 17% of uniformed officers (more than 6000 officers) currently sick and off duty
  • Detroit PD – 500 officers quarantined
  • San Jose, CA PD – 20 officers quarantined

 

Fire and rescue personnel are also affected by COVID-19:

 

  • Mobile, AL – Nine police officers and seven fire and rescue personnel have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in quarantine (view the news report here)
  • Washington, DC – 19 fire department and EMS personnel suffering from COVID-19, with hundreds of other first responders in quarantine (read more about it here)

 

These are only a few of the many COVID-19 challenges first responders face around the country as they continue to deliver life-saving services to communities while putting themselves in harm’s way.

 

It is important for all of us to be aware of the repercussions of a potential crisis in first responder availability. Delays in police, EMS and fire department response, and no response to minor accidents and criminal (misdemeanor) activity is likely if resources continue to be depleted. If this occurs family members and friends may have to assist those in need of emergency medical care by driving them to a hospital, and during minor vehicle accidents that normally would require a police response, drivers will have to collect and share personal and insurance information with each other.

 

Here are some security tips you can use during and after the COVID-19 crisis to lower the chances of becoming a victim of crime:

  • Be alert and practice situational awareness.
  • Don’t be distracted by your smartphone when out and about.
  • Seek assistance if you feel uncomfortable walking into poorly lit areas like parking lots.
  • Be aware of your surroundings if you’re entering what appears to be an unsafe area.
  • Do your best to avoid opening your purse/wallet or displaying cash in public.
  • Don’t leave your unattended personal property such as a purse, wallet, laptop or smartphone in plain view.
  • Find someone like a security guard, coworker or friend to escort you to your vehicle or public transportation stop if you leave work after normal business hours and you are concerned for your safety.
  • Always be aware of escape routes for emergencies and consider alternate ways to escape if the main exit is blocked.
  • When using an ATM be careful and discreet. Look for suspicious activity like a stranger monitoring your activity.
  • Have an alarm installed at your residence and routinely lock your doors and windows when leaving your home unattended or retiring for the night.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

 

 

 

4/1/2020

Preparing for an Increase in Criminal Activity as a Result of Unemployment

 

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

In addition to deaths and cases of critical illness, unemployment is one of the most severe effects and an issue that will remain with us even after the virus begins to loosen its grip. Businesses are struggling with the current stay home orders that, as of today, cover almost 90% of the U.S. population. Fewer people out and about translates into less economic activity, and many people are already unemployed because of the crisis. As of March 21, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor reported almost 3.3 million people filed an unemployment claim. These early numbers are a likely omen of what’s to come with some estimates of a possible 20-30% unemployment as a result of COVID-19. Similar concerns are true for other countries dealing with this issue.

 

What will come from this?

The unemployed will have a difficult time making ends meet, creating a secondary and very difficult financial crisis for many. And, it is likely high unemployment will also result in an increase in crime, particularly property crimes. There has been extensive analysis on this subject in recent years. In 2015, a Georgia Tech study found that a rise in the unemployment rate led to an increase in violent crime and property crime rates. Similarly, analysis on this subject done in 2016 by Patrick Bennett, Assistant Professor, Norwegian School of Economics, and Amine Ouazad, Associate Professor of Economics, HEC Montreal, found a correlation between job displacement and crime. The result of a likely rise in criminal activity, especially regarding property crimes, can be problematic for all of us.

 

Businesses of all sizes should be aware of this possible increase in criminal activity and work towards ensuring their security stance is effective as they return to normal operations in the coming months. This should include conducting security assessments of facilities, reviewing security policies to identify gaps, providing security awareness training to employees and generally adopting a stance where keeping the workplace safe and secure is a priority.

 

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

General COVID-19 Updates: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/coronavirus-daily-update/

 

 

3/31/2020

Lower Crime Activity Reported During the COVID-19 Crisis

 

Crime levels in the US are generally trending downward as the COVID-19 crisis persists at a relentless pace. The decline in criminal activity can be traced to a significant number of people under self-quarantine. The less economic activity there is and less people out on the street the less chances criminals have to participate in their trade.

 

The San Jose California Police Department in a recent press conference provided data showing a decline after self-quarantine started with violent crime in the city declining by 46%. You can read about it in this Mercury News article. Similarly, the Chicago Police Department registered a decrease of 23% in several major crime categories during the self-quarantine period. You can read more about Chicago’s lower crime rate in this Chicago Tribune article. This trend is likely to continue as long as the self-quarantine remains in place. However, these crime statistics are likely to go in the opposite direction once the COVID-19 crisis subsides.

 

 

The current crisis and significant downturn in economic activity will have substantial and lasting repercussions for everyone, including business and individuals going bankrupt and major job losses. The estimates of a 20-30% unemployment rate after the COVID-19 crisis, even if these percentages end up lower than anticipated, will contribute to a likely post-crisis rise in criminal activity as lack of financial resources and options affect many people.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

General COVID-19 Updates: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/coronavirus-daily-update/

 

 

 

3/30/2020

The Effect of the COVID-19 Crisis on the US Criminal Court System

 

The criminal court system in the United States was already overwhelmed prior to COVID-19. Now courts at the state and federal level are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis in several ways.

 

Courts are temporarily shutting down operations and exploring ways to accommodate social distancing and proper health practices while facing considerable obstacles to continue functioning at some level despite significant challenges. The overwhelmed judicial system is also responding by cancelling or postponing jury duty, rescheduling trials, carrying out procedures via video conferencing, and seeking to increase the number of plea deals with non-violent offenders to reduce the regular day-to-day functioning of the system and lower the possibility of exposure to the virus.

 

One of the most alarming and probable byproducts is the overcrowding of jails as defendants wait their turn in court. There are currently more than 500,000 inmates in jails around the country who have not been convicted or sentenced.  That figure will rise exponentially if the courts don’t somehow manage the number of cases coming in without timely adjudication.

 

One additional challenge criminal courts face during this crisis is compliance with the Speedy Trial Act (you can read the act here). The act requires that judicial court proceedings in a criminal case be completed within a certain amount of time. Failure to comply with the Speedy Trial Act can result in convictions and sentences being removed and charges dismissed. The time limits in the act can be postponed or extended in several ways, for example when a defense attorney asks for additional time to prepare (a continuance).  The courts must be mindful of the Speedy Trial Act as they move forward to manage COVID-19 circumstances.

 

The end result of this situation for the courts is a major delay to their operations, and for those in jail awaiting their day in court, long delays with no end in sight.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

General COVID-19 Updates: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/coronavirus-daily-update/

 

 

3/27/2020

Workplace Violence at Healthcare Facilities During the COVID-19 Crisis

 

The COVID-19 crisis has created unparalleled challenges for all, but particularly for healthcare facilities. Workplace violence in the form of intimidation, threats, abuse, insults and even physical aggression against medical personal is one of the most prevalent and persistent challenges.

Long before COVID-19, health care facilities have experienced a high degree of workplace abuse, so much so that California has implemented legislation to protect medical workers in the form of the Cal/OSHA Workplace Violence Prevention Act in Health Care (learn more about this legislation here). Many states are joining California in drawing up similar legislation that is expected to be introduced nationally in one form or another at some point in time.

During the current COVID-19 crisis there are reports of medical staff in the UK being told not to wear their uniforms outside their facilities to prevent attacks from people thinking they are spreading the virus (see that news article here). Similar reports have appeared in the US with nurses and other medical staff suffering verbal and physical abuse from patients and their families.

As emotions tend to run high in healthcare settings where a COVID-19 diagnosis can lead to an untimely death for some, healthcare workers need to protect themselves. If you are a healthcare professional, consider following the tips below to prevent or handle a situation of violence at work:

 

  • Whenever possible, avoid working alone with patients who have exhibited a propensity for violence
  • Practice situational awareness and consider how you can quickly exit an area where an incident of violence or abuse has or could occur
  • Ensure you maintain constant communication with coworkers and supervisors and ask for assistance if necessary
  • Ask if your facility has a workplace violence prevention program and become familiar with related policies and procedures and what is being done to protect you
  • If an incident occurs move to a safe place and contact facility security and law enforcement for assistance
  • Identify “panic” devices in your area or consider carrying one with you, and learn how to use it

 

Avoid being a victim by being aware and prepared.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

General COVID-19 Updates: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/coronavirus-daily-update/

 

 

 

3/26/2020

Domestic Violence During the COVID-19 Crisis

 

Crisis can bring the best and worst in people. In the case of the current COVID-19 crisis there are many stories of strangers helping strangers and people taking care of one another. Unfortunately there are also reports of domestic violence increasing as people self-quarantine and in many cases face the prospect of financial hardship.

 

Families remaining together in self-isolation for an extended period sets the stage for arguments and family fights often fueled by anxiety and uncertainty. Under normal circumstances there are resources that can help with these issues but during this outbreak, those resources can be severely limited or non-existent. Similarly, victims may not be able to deescalate by leaving the situation and walking away.

 

Signs of abuse may include:

 

  • Bullying or threatening behavior
  • Isolation from family and friend
  • Lack of access to money
  • Physical abuse

 

Some things you can do if you are a victim of domestic violence:

 

  • If you find yourself in imminent danger of physical harm call 911
  • Develop an escape plan
  • Stay connected to family and friends
  • Save some money and put it away incase you need it in an emergency
  • Have options in case you must leave. A family member or friend’s home, a hotel, shelter, etc.
  • Research domestic violence hotlines and other resources that can help
  • Think of how you will keep yourself and your family safe before an incident occurs.

 

Here is a list of resources you can contact for assistance:

 

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233; https://www.thehotline.org/help/
  • National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp – 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-656-4673
  • National Resource Center on Domestic Violence – 1-800-537-2238; https://vawnet.org/

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety of your organization. Talk to us.

 

For security resources and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

General COVID-19 Updates: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/coronavirus-daily-update/

 

 

3/25/2020

Beware of Impostors Offering Free COVID-19 Tests Door to Door and Other Fraud Scams

 

As if dealing with the COVID-19 fraud scams during the crisis was not enough, there are reports from Florida of suspicious individuals in white coats going door to door offering free tests. These individuals are claiming they are from the CDC or state health department.

 

Similarly, following the news of a COVID-19 stimulus package from the federal government, unsuspecting victims around the country are receiving unsolicited fake emails, texts and phone calls from individuals purporting to be from the government. These fraudulent communications are mostly asking for individuals to click on an email or release personal information in order to gain access to a stimulus check.

 

Beware of these fraudulant scams and protect yourself from becoming a victim. What we now so far is that:

 

  • There is not yet a cure for COVID-19
  • No government officials, from a lab or otherwise, have been sent door to door to offer a free test
  • The COVID-19 stimulus package is close to becoming a reality but has not yet been approved. And more importantly no checks have been mailed.
  • Be sure to look at legitimate news outlets for the latest information

 

These fraud scams will continue as the crisis goes on and anxiety and stress take a toll on people. Be skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true and avoid becoming a victim.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

For more information from our Subject Matter Expert’s regarding COVID-19, check out some of our other daily blogs:

Daily Behavioral Health Blog: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/covid-19-daily-behavioral-health-blogs/

General COVID-19 Updates: https://r3c.com/news-and-events/coronavirus-daily-update/

 

 

3/24/2020

Take Time to Review Your Residential Security

 

By: Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep a significant number of people in self-isolation, and for some people – that means having more, discretional time on their hands.  One way to make excellent use of this time is to review your home security status. This doesn’t have to be a drawn-out process but a simple review to ensure basic common-sense security practices are in place to help protect you and your family.

 

What to Look For:

A review of security at your home will require observations inside and outside the property. Here is a list of important items to review (not all inclusive):

 

  • Review all doors/entrances, including service doors and gates. They all should have quality locks – preferably a deadbolt.
  • Do not leave keys “hidden” outside the home. If you need to leave a key behind when you’re absent, consider leaving it with a trusted neighbor.
  • Keep doors locked even when you or family members are at home.
  • Have window locks installed on all windows and be sure to utilize them when your windows are closed.
  • Have locks installed on your fuse boxes and external power sources.
  • If you have burglar or intrusion alarms, check to ensure they work and keep them active.
  • Keep at least one fire extinguisher on each floor and be sure to keep one in the kitchen. Ensure family members know how to use them.
  • Periodically check smoke detectors and replace batteries when necessary.
  • Keep flashlights in several areas in the house, in case of a power outage. Check the batteries often, especially if you have children in your home.
  • A family dog can be a deterrent to criminals. But remember, even the best watchdog can be controlled by food or poison.
  • Do not install separate “doggy doors” or entrances as they can also admit small intruders.
  • Know your neighbors. Develop a rapport with them and offer to keep an eye on each other’s houses or property.
  • If you observe any unusual activity, report it immediately to the police.
  • Educate family members in the proper way to answer the telephone at home.

Following up to ensure you have the above items in place can contribute significantly towards the safety and security of your family.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

 

3/23/2020

COVID-19 Has Resulted in Hate Messages and Death Threats

One of the unfortunate consequences of the Covid-19 crisis includes hate messages and death threats against those believed to be infected. Some of the main victims have been travelers from recent cruises.

 

News reports (links below) cover the ordeal of Mark and Jerri Jorgenson from Utah who were onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and tested positive for the corona virus. They have received hate messages and death threats from anonymous individuals accusing them of spreading the disease. Jerri has now tested negative for COVID-19 and is cleared by medical authorities. Mark is still under observations with no symptoms and is expected to be back home soon. Many others like Mark and Jerri report receiving similar threats. And unfortunately many others will as the crisis continues.

 

Threats of bodily harm, destruction of property or loss of financial assets can be received in person, via mail or online via email or social media. Regardless of the method of delivery, threats are against the law and anyone receiving one should contact their local law enforcement agency to report it. Each state has laws against threats and harassment, as does the federal government.

 

Become familiar with your local law enforcement resources and be prepared to report any COVID-19 related criminal activity as necessary.

 

https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2020/03/04/cdr-im-laying-low-st-george-resident-diagnosed-with-coronavirus-on-cruise-ship-returning-home-to-threats/#.XnkL_IhKiUk

https://www.ktvu.com/news/some-people-receiving-death-threats-due-to-coronavirus-fears

 

 

3/20/2020

Securing empty and unattended facilities during the COVID-19 crisis

 

As more and more companies telecommute, others are having to do reductions in force (RIFs) or lay off people, leaving office space and other business-related facilities unattended and empty, and an easy target for vandalism and criminal activity. This is especially true for small businesses that shut down completely.

 

Companies planning to leave buildings empty and unattended should incorporate security measures in their preparations.

  • Double check to make sure the property is locked, and alarms are activated
  • If there is no alarm consider installing and using one
  • If budget allows, consider assigning a guard to protect the property
  • Make sure all systems not in use are turned off
  • Parking areas should be blocked off to prevent access
  • Keep the front of your facility clean and ensure it is maintained regularly (landscaping, cleaning, etc.)
  • Ensure lighting is in good shape and functioning on timers or light sensors
  • Visit the facility on a weekly basis to ensure all remains as you left it
  • Contact the local police department and see if they can include your property in their patrols. Even if they don’t, police awareness helps if an incident occurs
  • Don’t forget to have your telecommuting employee take their laptops and other necessary equipment with them

 

Following these simple steps can help maintain empty and unattended facilities secure and ready for employees to return following the crisis.

 

 

3/19/2020

Protect Your Organization From COVID-19 Cyber Fraud by Knowing What to Look For

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

Wherever there is crisis, there is opportunity for increased criminal behavior. There are now many reports of criminal elements using concerns about the COVID-19 epidemic to commit fraud. These are opportunists preying on a concerned population who are seeking answers to a devastating situation as we all go through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

 

Scams of various types are underway targeting individuals and companies. Below are some of the most common types of fraud, and what to look for:

  • Phishing emails – this scam is a fraudulent attempt via email to obtain your personal information, like credit card and bank accounts and personal identifiers. The emails are designed to look real, as if sent from a legitimate business. There is usually a request to click on a link or attachment on the email. Once the victim clicks, the scammer has a way to access personal information.
  • Invoice fraud – this type of scam is perpetrated on unsuspecting businesses. The scam involves sending an invoice for some product or service from a source that seems legitimate and closely resembles a supplier already used by the company. The unwitting business often pays the invoice thinking it is legitimate.
  • Malware – this scam is also delivered by email via phishing attempts and involves installing spyware, viruses or other unwanted software on your computer. Once installed, these programs can be used to track your keystrokes and monitor your activity on the device.
  • Fake health products – unfortunately, there are several retailers and telemarketers taking advantage of this crisis to peddle their fake coronavirus products. Two of the most prominent individuals hawking fake coronavirus products are Alex Jones from InfoWars) and Jim Bakker from The Jim Bakker Show.

 

Helpful ways to remain safe from scams:

 

  • Don’t trust every email you receive as legitimate and don’t open emails from unknown sources.
  • Verify requests or documents received via email through a phone call or other non-electronic method, prior to taking any action.
  • Don’t automatically click on email attachments prior to verifying authenticity.
  • Install and update security software.
  • Heed warnings from your browser regarding suspicious sites.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or from experts claiming to have information about COVID-19 or coronavirus.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations. No cure or vaccine currently exists for COVID-19.
  • Be aware of requests for donations or crowdfunding connected to this crisis. Not all will be legitimate. Investigate further before giving your support.

 

While scammers can be clever, they often display clues that reveal their attempts as illegitimate. Having your antenna up will be a safeguard for your organization, especially related to emails requesting invoice payment, personal information, software downloads, or solutions you’ve not verified. If something smells fishy – it could very well be and is worth the few extra minutes to verify before taking action

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184

 

 

3/18/2020

Can I Be Forced to Quarantine? – Government Quarantine Enforcement Powers

 

As COVID-19 pandemic continues the number of people in self-quarantine or quarantined in medical and government facilities is increasing. While most people comply with quarantine orders there are some who resist, potentially endangering loved ones and others they come in contact with.

 

One example of quarantine resistance is an ongoing situation in Nelson County Kentucky where a 53-year-old man is being actively monitored by sheriff deputies to ensure enforcement of his quarantine and to make sure the man remains at home. The man tested positive for COVID-19 and was told to self-quarantine but refused to do so. You can read about this case at this link (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/us/kentucky-refused-quarantine-coronavirus-trnd/index.html).

 

It’s important to know that governments at federal, state and local levels have the authority to enforce quarantines. The federal government, for example, draws its authority from the Public Health Service Act, which under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264), outlines the authority for enforcement of “isolation and quarantine” as follows:

 

Apprehension and examination of persons reasonably believed to be infected

  • Regulations prescribed under this section may provide for the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease in a qualifying stage and (A) to be moving or about to move from a State to another State; or (B) to be a probable source of infection to individuals who, while infected with such disease in a qualifying stage, will be moving from a State to another State. Such regulations may provide that if upon examination any such individual is found to be infected, he may be detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary. For purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes, in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia.
  • For purposes of this subsection, the term “qualifying stage”, with respect to a communicable disease, means that such disease—
  • (A) is in a communicable stage; or
  • (B) is in a precommunicable stage, if the disease would be likely to cause a public health emergency if transmitted to other individuals.

 

The states also have similar legislation enacted at their level regarding quarantine laws, and overall penalties vary from state to state but usually include fines or jail time.

 

I encourage everyone to heed the requests to self-quarantine to help effectively deal with this very disruptive crisis.

To read more about this topic please go to the CDC webpage at this link https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/aboutlawsregulationsquarantineisolation.html.

 

 

3/17/2020

Best Security Practices for COVID-19 Related Reductions In Force

By Oscar Villanueva

Managing Director of Security Services & Crisis Preparedness at R3 Continuum

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues unabated and the impact goes beyond human suffering, companies nationwide of all sizes are feeling the effects of social distancing and the significant slowdown in economic activity. And the resulting financial hardship will force many companies to do layoffs, also known as reductions in force or RIFs.

 

These are difficult events for everyone under the best of circumstances, but they’re especially difficult now under the current pandemic crisis. Affected employees losing their jobs face poor prospects of getting new employment, as these opportunities are almost non-existent during the crisis. As a result, there is a strong possibility of an increase in workplace violence incidents as some employees react angrily to being let go and potentially become belligerent or violent during the RIF notification and subsequent process.

 

 

When planning a RIF consider following the strategy below to minimize the risk of violence:

  • Develop a plan and have it vetted by all relevant stakeholders involved in the action prior to implementation
  • Include security consideration in the RIF plan
  • Develop and implement a timely communication plan
  • Increase security discreetly during the lead up to the RIF and on the actual day of execution
  • Be prepared to address workplace violence issues as they come up
  • Provide workplace violence training to managers and supervisors, including how to identify triggers and warning signs of workplace violence

 

Plainclothes armed protective agents are common during these events to ensure any security issue can be addressed and to escort employees out if necessary. Protective agents are less noticeable than uniformed guards and more effective. And their presence is less noticeable, thus less confrontational. They should be an integral part of any RIF activity.

 

Ultimately the goal should be to remain safe and secure through these difficult job actions, and being prepared is the best way to mitigate issues.

 

Ensure the physical and psychological safety and security of your organization. Talk to us.

For security resources, behavioral health solutions and real-time front lines information, visit us at www.r3c.com, email us at info@r3c.com or call us at 866-927-0184.

 

3/16/2020

COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Emergency Services and First Responders

As the COVID-19 pandemic crisis continues to affect almost every facet of life globally, it’s important to reflect on how the crisis can also interfere with life-saving emergency services. First responders including police, firemen, paramedics and other professionals that routinely provide critical support for our daily lives and are often taken for granted will also be affected by the COVID-19 epidemic.

 

First responders are particularly vulnerable to contracting the virus in their daily work and many are already in self-quarantine as a result of exposure.  Examples of first responders in self-quarantine include:

  • In New York, NYPD and FDNY have several members in quarantine
  • In the Seattle, WA area, over two dozen first responders have been quarantined
  • Several Los Angeles and Orange County first responders are under quarantine
  • Firefighters from the Miami-Dade County are in quarantine after exposure

 

This is likely to become a much larger issue as this crisis continues to evolve and grow. And the consequences can be significant as a result of less police, firemen, and paramedics.

 

In response, police departments are shifting personnel from desk jobs and school resource officer positions to patrols and response duty. The same is likely from fire departments.

 

It is important for everyone to be aware of this issue and be prepared in case there is a crisis in first responder response. Possible issues are likely to include delays in police and fire department response, and no response to minor accidents and criminal (misdemeanor) activity. If this occurs, there will be a need for family members and friends to drive sick individuals to hospitals, and during minor accidents drivers will have to collect and share information with each other.