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CEO DATELINE – FMI launches training for food retail industry in preventing, surviving workplace violence

Aug. 20, 2021
By Kathryn Walson

Following recent attacks at grocery stores, FMI—The Food Industry Association announced Thursday it is offering its members online training in identifying warning signs of workplace violence and surviving an active shooter situation.

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FMI partnered with The Power of Preparedness (TPOP), whose founders and trainers include people who have worked for police departments around the country, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, news site Grocery Dive reported.

“Our industry leaders have experienced inexplicable crises that tremendously affected their companies, their employees and their communities,” FMI CEO Leslie Sarasin said in a statement.

“They have experienced acts of violence and responded with heroism. While we may never be able to make sense of these devastating situations, we must continue to remain vigilant, offer resources and training, and uplift each other when they occur.”

TPOP's 50-minute course, which was launched this week, is tailored to the grocery and food industry, according to FMI. The training is available on-demand and is accessible for a year, Grocery Dive reported. It usually costs $14 per person for one year, but discounts are available to FMI members, FMI told Grocery Dive.

The online course, called Think & Survive, consists of short videos and quizzes to maximize retention of the information, according to FMI. It contains tips for verbal de-escalation techniques, recognizing warning signs, reacting to gunfire, run/hide/fight responses and making a tourniquet in case of injuries. The course is available on computers, smartphones and tablets.

FMI held a session on workplace violence during its summer executive conference in June, Grocery Dive reported. The association’s members include retailers, producers and other companies.

Earlier this summer, customers verbally and physically assaulted employees of Community Foods Market in Oakland, Calif., after the business brought back its mask mandate, Grocery Dive reported. A shooter killed a cashier and injured two people at Big Bear Supermarket in Decatur, Ga., after allegedly arguing with the cashier over the store’s face mask policy, according to the news outlet.

FMI, the National Grocers Association, the National Retail Federation and six other groups sent a letter earlier this month to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration asking the agencies to declare that “the burden of (mask) enforcement should not be placed on businesses and their employees.

During the last year and a half, "some local ordinances put the onus of mask enforcement on retail businesses,” the letter stated. “These requirements put employees in perilous situations as mask-wearing became a heated and politicized issue. Many of these confrontations became physical, and tragically, in some cases deadly.”