Preparing for an Active Shooter Incident

No workplace is immune to the risks of an active shooter incident. However, there are steps that you can take to assure that your organization is prepared for the worst.

Emergency Action Plan

Preparing an emergency action plan helps all employees to understand the proper procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation and its aftermath. Your plan should include:

  • Instructions for reporting emergencies to proper authorities and remote locations within the premises.
  • Contact information for area hospitals and emergency personnel.
  • Evacuationpoliciesandprocedures.

When creating your plan, work with Human Resources and training departments, as well as external resources such as facility owners, property managers, and local law enforcement.

Training Exercises

Training exercises that simulate active shooter situations educate employees about the emergency action plan and reinforce practices that may help save lives. The training regimen should include:

  • Exercises to help recognize and react properly to gunfire.
  • When to call 911.
  • What to do when law enforcement arrives.
  • Exercises to develop a “survival mindset.”

Contact local law enforcement and emergency response agencies if you have any questions about the design or facilitation of training exercises.

Preventative Measures

Take steps to minimize the chances of an active shooter situation occurring at your workplace. Cultivate a respectful environment in the workplace. The responsibilities of organizational and facility management include the following:

  • Proper screening and background checks
  • Adherence to procedures for reporting violent behavior
  • Implementation of access controls throughout the premises
  • Distribution of floor plans
  • Preparation of crisis kits

Warning Signs 

Before an incident, active shooters usually exhibit traits of potentially violent behavior over an extended period of time. Know the warning signs and train employees to be aware of them. Employees should report signs of potentially violent behavior to a manager or HR. Common traits that may be indicative of potentially violent behavior include the following:

  • Feelings of depression or withdrawal
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Decreased attention to personal appearance or hygiene habits
  • Resistance to policy or procedural changes or disregard of existing organizational policy
  • Increased severe mood swings, unprovoked outbursts of anger, or unstable, overemotional reactions
  • Increased talk of personal issues, suicide or death, firearms, or violent crimes

Please note that this list is not comprehensive, nor is it to be used as a diagnostic tool. If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

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