Over the last decade, active shooter rates have increased significantly. In fact, the number of active shooters in 2000 was only one and in the 2015, there was a total of twenty. An active shooter is a person that has the intention of engaging in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.
Who is most at risk for having an active shooter? Any area that consistently has a lot of people such as businesses, schools, open spaces such as parks and cities, and non-military government properties.
Preparing your friends, family and business for an emergency is crucial. In the situation of an active shooter, the best option is to run, hide, or fight; fight being the last possible option.
Training and Exercises for Defending Against Active Shooters
It is suggested that any business have the development of a workplace violence policy and plan, emergency response plans, training and exercises, and the providing of physical security onsite such as a cameras, badged entry or security guards.
A workplace violence policy will consist of the employer’s standard for acceptable workplace behaviors, affirm the company’s commitment to take action and provide a safe workplace for employees, and will address not only physical violence but also, threats, bullying, harassment, and the possession of weapons.
Following the creation of an emergency response plan, all employees need to test the plan in place together to see how well it works. The involvement of law enforcement to point out all discrepancies or breakdowns in communication is extremely helpful. Following the confirmation of your emergency response plan, it is a good idea to practice your plan once a month.
Every workplace needs to set a zero tolerance for violence policy and have a level of discipline for every action of violence. If you are a business owner, it is also important for you to set up a system for employees to report violence in the workplace and then thoroughly communicate this process to all employees.
Questions to Ask Yourself When Assessing Safety
Assessing the security around and inside your building is just as important as protecting your employees. Employees should be consistently telling their employer about any security concerns that they may have.
Questions to ask yourself about your business or workplace:
- How easy is it for people to access key personnel in your business?
- Who has access to the office, building, or space?
- Is there landscaping around the building that prevents a clear line of sight of who is entering the business or who is surrounding it?
- What kind of security is in place following office hours?
- Are cameras up and running around the building?
The key is to develop a plan that will prevent a shooter from gaining access to the building and to provide employees with the proper training and security. With the rise in active shooters, it is important to keep your business or workplace safe and free of danger.