Rick Shaw is a prevention expert and his prevention innovations have been recognized with the Risk Innovator award from Risk & Insurance Magazine, Responsibility Leader award from Liberty Mutual, Business Innovation award from Business Insurance, Campus Safety BEST Award from Campus Safety Magazine, and MVP Award from Security Sales & Integration Magazine for the top Central Station/Monitoring Platform.

Rick has defined the new pathway in innovative and proactive prevention by utilizing 20+ years of his unique and extensive research into thousands of incidents and tragedies (shootings, terrorism, acts of violence, abuse, suicides, human trafficking, bullying, and others) where prevention efforts failed.  Rick’s research is different because he started by asking different questions to better understand why and how thousands of prevention efforts failed even though most incidents and tragedies were found to be preventable. By asking different and non-status quo questions, Rick continues to identify common and dangerous gaps, silos, and disconnects that nearly every school, university, organization, and community must address to improve prevention and community safety.

Rick’s book – The First Preventers Playbook: How To Intervene, Disrupt, and Prevent Tragedy Before It Strikes – shares game-changing findings from his research, the 6 Stages of Prevention, the value of Return on Prevention, and the innovative First Preventers Framework that radically simplifies prevention and community safety.

Rick is also the founder of the for-profit company Awareity (2004) and the founder of the non-profit organization First Preventers (2019), as well as a sought-after speaker, Prevention Coach, trusted advisor to organization and community leaders, and the leading expert on community-wide collecting and connecting the dots.

Success stories and examples from early adopters of Rick’s prevention innovations are impressive and mounting. Successful prevention examples involving community-wide partnerships – eliminating dangerous silos that exist in communities – are also impressing leaders within federal agencies, state agencies, and local agencies as well as leaders of schools and organizations of all sizes. Rick’s research and evidence-based data validate how Return on Prevention is far better than Return on Regret, because prevention is possible.


Rick’s Story

My story starts when I was in 6th grade where I went to school in the same building as the special needs students.  One of the special needs girls – MJ – was constantly being bullied and teased by other students and on numerous occasions, the others would get MJ so riled up she would have a seizure.  I remember how sad it was to see MJ have a seizure and then wake up from her seizure so scared and afraid because she did not know where she was.

Now, I was a little guy back then but I decided that I needed to step up and do the right thing and prevent the other students from bullying and teasing MJ.  From that point on, whenever I saw other students bullying and teasing MJ, I would hang out with her and tell the others to move along. After a while, a couple of my friends joined in and then a teacher got involved too and MJ’s experience at school completely changed with no bullying, no teasing, and no seizures.

This was my first experience with what I now call a “Return on Prevention”.  The culture changed, the students were much happier, teachers were happier, and MJ was much happier and she even called me her boyfriend and chased me around to give me hugs!

But the “Return on Prevention” didn’t stop there… for the next 6 years of school, when I met MJ in the hallways of school, we would smile or wave or say hi… the “Return on Prevention” continued.

What’s even more amazing was the “Return on Prevention” didn’t stop there… 31 years later at our 25th Class Reunion, I walked into the reunion and there was MJ!  She got that big smile on her face that I remembered and still gave those great hugs, and then she introduced me to her husband!  The “Return on Prevention” continued, and to my surprise, about a year after the reunion, I received a digital birthday card from MJ via the class reunion website.  The “Return on Prevention” continues…