No one wants to think about the reality of experiencing an active shooter incident, and hopefully, you won’t. However, just as schools, businesses and homes have fire and tornado drills, active shooter drills are a reality in our lives today. Your business should be prepared with a plan.
The Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no method or pattern to their selection of victims.”
Who is an active shooter?
- Domestic disturbance that follows an employee to the workplace
- Mentally ill employee, customer or person off the street
- Random act of violence
Active shooters are unpredictable. Knowing signs to look for and understanding a plan of action, employees will feel more confident in responding to the situation. Knowing what to do – and to some degree what to expect – before, during and after an incident will help.
“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” -W. Clement Stone
Before an Incident: Discuss the possibility with your employees. Outline your expectations and a safety plan so everyone understands what their actions should be. Give them the “during” and “after” concepts for awareness.
During an Incident:
- First, Run. If you can safely and quickly get out, do so. Leave personal belongings and call 911 once you are safe.
- Second, Hide. If you cannot get out, hide, silence your electronics.
- Third, Fight. This should be your last resort but if you choose to do so make sure your actions are committed.
- Finally, After. Be prepared for the actions of law enforcement. Their primary job is to end the incident so they may pass by the injured or treat you abruptly. Keep your hands up and open and follow their directions.
The idea of an active shooter is disturbing. Help alleviate the scariness by engaging in open and confident dialogue with your employees about the “what if’s.” The dialogue should not simply be a one-time handout or email, it should involve face to face conversation and discussion, as in a staff meeting. Give your employees the knowledge to help them be less fearful and more confident in uncertain situations.
If you aren’t sure where or how to start the conversation or come up with a plan, please call.