Brian Werner is our Senior Director of Safety & Facility Operations. He evaluates Club safety and risks, making sure everything is up to code and free of hazards. Brian also handles safety incidents within the Clubs, conducts investigations with consideration to Boys & Girls Clubs policies, and finds solutions in case of policy violations.
Due to the increase in gun violence in the United States, Brian believes all places should have some kind of weapons policy and know how to respond in case of an emergency, while educating youth that violence is never the answer. Additionally, we want to enable our staff and youth to implement de-escalation techniques that decrease the likelihood of a violent event occurring in the Club.
Firearm safety is a really important topic right now. It is essential to acknowledge the fear surrounding gun violence. There are many people who are struggling with adversities, and unfortunately some of these adversities can be expressed in violent and dangerous ways. We have educated our staff and implemented firearms safety as a priority in our Clubs, along with other policies and procedures, in order to be prepared for any kind of emergency.
“We have installed security cameras throughout our facilities. We have made building improvements to make them more secure,” explains Brian. “We have a new emergency response plan that is in place at the Clubs that teaches active shooter protocol: run, hide, fight.” Run refers to escape. Hide is in case escaping is not possible, and fight is an absolute last resort. Preserving lives, prevention of physical harm, and ensuring everyone’s safety, comes before all else in the case of an emergency situation.
The Clubs are implementing active shooter training and response techniques with risk management experts and local law enforcement for Club staff, as well as teaching ways to de-escalate a potentially volatile situation if necessary. “We are working with how to stay safe in our environment, and how to handle any type of risk or any potential harm or threat outside of our Clubs.”
“Safety is our #1 priority,” Brian emphasizes. “When you come to our Clubs, there is an expectation that we’re going to have a safe and incident-free Club. So, we have expectations of our staff, and we have expectations of our members.” The Clubs are doing everything possible to ensure that correct policies, procedures, and trainings are in place so that our youth, staff, and families are prepared and kept safe in case of an incident, utilizing the tools and techniques revised and implemented throughout the facilities.