Read the reviews of The First Preventers Playbook below!

The First Preventers Playbook: How to Intervene, Disrupt, and Prevent Tragedy Before it Strikes

Author: Rick Shaw
Reviewed by: Rose L. Murillo, Ed.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Retrieved from: Workplace Violence Today; Volume 11, Edition 1, January 2021

Rick Shaw is a prevention specialist and has been researching the profile of failed interventions and preventions for over twenty years to find solutions for the gaps, silos, and disconnects. Rick founded Awareity in 2004 and in 2019. Rick Shaw notes that this book “will lay out powerful and effective solutions to empower all first preventers by focusing on proven strategies. With this guide, more incidents and tragedies can be prevented before the need to call first responders even arises.”

What I first appreciated about this book is the defining of a ‘first preventer’. We have heard of numerous roles, trainings, and requirements for first responders but have not widely been advised of a ‘first preventer’. This book gives credence and voice to the many individuals that work hard within their scope of responsibility and care to prevent tragedy. It also supports the valuable programs and organizations working to empower bystanders, or those who may be associated with individuals either receiving or intending hurtful actions. All these are ‘first preventers’.

This book also provides details regarding Rick Shaw’s research, including specific information and insight from multiple, tragic situations including mass killings, sexual abuse, workplace violence, nurse and healthcare violence, gang violence, and suicide. He explains and unpacks specific findings from less known situations to those that sent shockwaves nationwide – Columbine, Parkland, and Virginia Tech killings to the Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State abuses.

Finally, as in the title, this book truly functions as a ‘playbook’, detailing steps that can be taken and programs that can be built for effective prevention. Organizations and communities can build connections through a Threat Assessment Team or TAT along with reporting technology for shared information. The gaps, silos, and lost communication from the previous tragedies can be reduced and even eliminated.

In my own experiences, I remember hearing about the children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. I reacted as if it were my children’s school; I felt the loss deeply. To this day, I still remember when I tuck my kids into bed there are parents from that tragic occurrence who no longer have their beautiful kids to tuck in. It gave me a new sense of priority to take time with my children – and to work closely with their school to ensure that prevention and fast response were built into their programs. My hope is that others will use this book and work within their own areas of influence and care to prevent further loss.