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Grocers: We Need More Training for Mass Shootings and Other Crises

At least 28% of food retailers say they aren’t prepared well enough to respond to a crisis, poll finds

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Last week marked the two-year anniversary of a gunman killing 10 people at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Despite that wakeup call, most grocery retailers remain ill-prepared for a disaster event, a survey of Progressive Grocer readers found.

More than three-quarters of the respondents (78 percent) said it is important for their organization to be prepared to respond to a crisis and for crisis communications with customers, employees and others in the community. But when asked if they were so prepared, only 19 percent said they were very well-prepared, roughly a third (32 percent) said they were somewhat well-prepared, 21 percent said they don’t know, 23 percent said they are not very prepared, and 5 percent said they are not well-prepared at all.

“At a time of increasing numbers of mass shootings across the nation; a widespread pandemic that affected customers, employees and supply chains; and natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and wildfires, it’s not a question of whether a retail chain or one of its stores will be affected by a crisis, but when,” said Roger Lowe, a former CPG trade association executive and former communications leader for the American Red Cross.

Before 2017, there was just one mass shooting at a grocery store in the United States, according to The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research center, and CNN, Progressive Grocer reports. That took place in 1999, when a man randomly killed four people at a Las Vegas Albertsons store.

But in the last three years, there have been several such killings, including five people at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J.; two people at a Publix in Palm Beach, Fla.; 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas; the 10 people at the King Soopers in Boulder; 10 people at a Tops market in Buffalo, N.Y.; and six people at a Walmart in Virginia.

Click here for more on the PG reader survey.

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