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Community rec centers, YMCAs and JCCs are generally very safe places. Besides an occasional skirmish on a basketball court, these are safe places for your members and staff to spend their time.

Sometimes the challenge is where the facility is located, or the transit to and from the facility, as that can create an unsafe location. Your local police department can assist with actual crime numbers, but it is not unusual to see an uptick of crime numbers around community recreation facilities. The question is what can you do to train your employees and members on emerging safety issues?

This is where hosting training or seminars centered on personal safety at work can be extremely beneficial. This training can provide your staff with a simple framework they can apply to any and all dangerous situations that arise — at work, at home or out in the community.

Police officers train in stressful situations so they learn to deal with the body’s natural responses to fear. Some of the body responses include focused vision on the threat, heart rate increase, loss of finger dexterity, reduced hearing and short-term memory loss. By providing your staff with training and education on these natural responses to fear, they can learn to override them to get to a safe location.

During a seminar or training on personal safety, employees can learn basics such as:

  • The importance of trusting your instincts.
  • Tips for finding and moving to a secure location in a crisis.
  • How to put a barrier between yourself and a dangerous situation.
  • How to proactively avoid being a victim of a crime.
  • Action steps to take in a dangerous situation.
  • How police officers think, and what to learn from how they operate.
  • The importance of being observant.

These are skills your employees will be able to apply to any situation, and will benefit them inside and outside your facility.

The world can be unpredictable and unfortunately, as rec centers, you can’t protect your employees from all the risks they may face. However, by providing them with seminars or training on personal safety, you can do your part to ensure they have the proper tools necessary to respond in a crisis.



Jerry McCormick is the chief safety officer for Personal Safety at Work. He can be reached at jerry@personalsafetyatwork.com, 919.414.3672 or by visiting personalsafetyatwork.com.


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