Responding safely to a crisis situation is beneficial for everyone. Heidi Wysocki provided us with great information regarding how she and business partner Ed Pietrowski from First Defense Solutions can help you and your business with specific training to be ready for these crisis situations.
Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
We provide training and consulting services and physical security solutions for small to medium-sized businesses, schools, and houses of worship. We help everybody to respond safely to an active shooter or other dynamic threat situation. We give you the tools to cognitively train yourself to not only identify pre-attack indicators but also be aware of what's around you. We provide training in situational awareness and de-escalation techniques and what to do if you are caught in a crisis situation so that you can safely respond. We cover everything in our training including:
We teach what you can anticipate or physically experience if you are in a crisis and how you overcome those physical reactions so that you can get yourself through the event safely.
If you imagine an active shooting from a thirty-thousand-foot view as a timeline, you have a before during and after. From a holistic approach, we start with before, during and after and then address the situation so that we can work collectively together to identify and stop something before it starts or at least be as safe as possible during it. We also offer continuity management which is mitigating or avoiding risk at the end of an event. This provides resiliency to your organization and helps gets people back to a new state of normal which is mentally better for everybody who is involved. This includes everyone, including people who are firsthand involved in the community at large. The quicker you can reestablish your operation, regain function and define a new normal, the better it is for everybody. This is a service we provide on the back end as well.
Does your business have any ties to law enforcement?
My business partner’s name is Ed Pietrowski, and he has ten years in law enforcement, including six in a violent felon unit in Harlem in the NYPD He is now an officer here in Euless, Texas and is nationally decorated. He was, unfortunately, part of the first police ambush in March 2016 where an officer was shot and killed in a park. He received a national award for his heroism in the line of fire. He has been in over fifteen active shootings and has no bullet holes in him. He's our bank of experience and what I do is take his knowledge and information and transform it into something that can be explained to civilians like me. Ed does the hiring, handpicking people to do physical security, which is also a service we offer. I do our business development and organizational management.
What would you like people to know about your company?
Our goal is to make sure that small to medium-sized businesses and schools have the knowledge that can help them respond to active shooter risks. I want them to know that there are options that are affordable that and we can make sure that they have risk management in place.
Continuity Management is so critical, and it is basically a ten-step process in total. Ten professional practices cover everything from risk mitigation, risk assessment, impact analysis and emergency operations plan. We help you figure out what you're going to do and prioritize where you want to spend money and invest time to make sure that your company can stay up and running if you do encounter a crisis.
According to Travelers Insurance research, 65% of small businesses fail within the first full year of experiencing a crisis. 48% percent of companies have risk management, and that's it. We want more small and mid-sized businesses to consider our services to make sure our community is able to continue to flourish. This is critical in Collin County and especially in Dallas in general given the growth we’re experiencing right now.
What sets you apart from your competition?
I think the critical differentiator is that we have a unique mix of expertise. In the security world, you see a lot of people who have law enforcement or military experience and that that's pretty much the majority of the expertise that they can lend. The benefit of hiring us is that we also have a corporate background where we can comfortably work with everybody from the C suite all the way down to the essential stakeholders and people who do the day to day work.
The combination of all of our expertise together really brings a lot to the table. The other thing is that there are there are a lot of resources out there for security. What we've done is try to be a resource hub for managing everything from the before to the during to the after so that we can mitigate and avoid as much risk if possible and help people be as successful as they can be. For small business owners, it's critical that they're able to protect what they've built. You have to defend your people to protect your business.
Where do you see the future of your business and how do you plan to get there?
We were working only with schools and then decided that given the current climate we would be able to transfer our skills and our knowledge into small to mid-size businesses. Our goal to grow our business in the small to the medium-sized firm is to continue being present in the communities through word of mouth and networking opportunities. We're doing free seminars in the coming year so that we can start sharing information and start to elevate that conversation with a lot of different industries.
How do you market your business today?
We are online and active in the chamber and different community volunteer nonprofit groups. We work with an organization that provides free meals for the weekends for children who are below the poverty line to make sure that they're eating over the weekend. We do a lot of different things within the communities that we live in so we are as visible and contributing as much as we can.
We are on social media and the web.