Bo Mitchell served as Police Commissioner of Wilton, Connecticut for 16 years. He retired in February 2001 to found 911 Consulting with the mission to protect people at their workplaces during emergencies.
911 Consulting’s mission grew out of three realizations:
- Police reports about incidents and emergencies at workplaces nearly always included a stunned boss saying, “I never thought this could happen to us.”
- Even though police response time to 911 calls was prompt, it could never be immediate. No matter how dangerous the emergency, police could not arrive and deploy in less than five minutes. The employer was exposed—everyone was on their own for those potentially-lethal first minutes.
- The tipping point was when Bo’s wife experienced a narrow escape at a new job. She was working on the sixth floor of a prewar high rise in lower Manhattan. One afternoon, when all of the top brass were out, she noticed smoke wafting through the office. She asked co-workers what they should do. No one expressed concern, and everyone kept working. As the smoke intensified, she collected her things and left, urging others to do the same. She told Bo that night, “No one knew what to do, so they did nothing. No one even called 911.” (Another tenant did call; the building was evacuated and the fire was extinguished.)