De-escalation – Take a deep breath

As human beings, emotions often get the best of us.

Our initial reaction to most things is to “feel”. We’ll have an opinion about anything and everything and if something happens and we are directly affected, emotions are going to play a huge part in how we react.

Or generally – they’re going to want too.

If a situation escalates, forcing us to make a move or a decision, our usual first instinct will be an emotional reaction that sometimes doesn’t make rational, or legal sense.

Lets take for example a situation where someone makes a physical move on you. They attack, hit, strike. Your emotions are going to want you to hit back. Try to obtain the upper hand and gain control. This is a personal move. And you don’t want to look like a lesser person for getting taken out in such a manner so to speak.

Whether the “attack” was initially intended to be on your, or if you’re a byproduct of a situation spiralling out of control – emotions will be running high.

As Security, this is where your training and common sense need to really step up and kick in.

Keeping a level and cool head is absolutely integral to the job.

While your emotions are running high, amping up and yelling ‘pick me!’, stability has to take the reigns. Common sense taking over and the realization that this is your job, and taking control as quickly, efficiently and with the least amount of physical interaction possible is vital.

De-escalation is defined as the reduction of the intensity of a conflict or potentially violent situation. This needs to be done as swiftly and with as little physically altercation as possible.

For some people, they jump at any opportunity to cause a problem or be a problem. Perhaps this is a behavioural thing, or maybe this is a side effect of a substance like alcohol or drugs. Every person is different, every situation is different.

In some cases, you could be dealing with an individual that is looking past the fight. They’re looking at the bigger picture and how they can potentially cause problems for you further down the line. This could include legal issues.

When you so much as lay a finger on a person, you could be in their minds, assaulting them. This could have further legal implications, making your job and your life a potential nightmare.

There is another issue. With an increase in substance abuse, it does nothing but cause the potential for more risk when it comes to personal and public security. Security for the person under the influence, and security for the people in the vicinity.

Depending on the substance, the reactions, risk, and control (or lack there of) vary tremendously. This only makes the job of security that much more difficult. If the person themselves has lost control of their mental and physical well being, how are you supposed to positively gain control – while ensuring the safety and well being of everyone around?

For this reason (and many more), having a form of de-escalation training is something that is not to be taken lightly.

Being able to articulate, calm, and diffuse a situation without causing further escalation is the job of Security.

By no means is it always easy – but it is always necessary.

Stepping up, stepping in, while emotionally tapping out is your number one job in these situations. Calming yourself and others – especially the instigator – is priority.

Having the skills and know how to verbally de-escalate and diffuse can be a tremendously powerful tool.

There are far too many incidents now where Security has crossed the line and taken advantage of a situation, or made a situation worse by getting physically involved.

Being at that line and having the ability to step back and control it without the use of physical force, is what will make you the bigger person in the end.

While we can’t always control all situations without some aspects of physicality – having the intent is often half the battle.

Whether you have the intent to fight – or the intent to calm, this is what makes the difference.



Guest Blogger Rayna Davies

Rayna Davies is a graduate and practitioner of Business Management.  She has developed an expertise in blogging, covering subjects like travel, world events and security.  Having grown up with a father who has developed an expertise in Physical Security and Executive Protection in the RCMP and two major corporations, she has personally observed and experienced many security details.  These experiences have included personally meeting HM Queen Elizabeth, Prime Minister Jean Chretien and many celebrities.  She presently assists Sentinel Security in Executive Protection workshops and guest blogging and also assists Gloprosec Preventative Services in Intelligence gathering and Business Administration.  Her passions include World travel, having visited every continent.