Planning for an Active Shooting in the Workplace
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 07-28-2018 07:01 AM
Synopsis: It seems like there is another active shooting in the news on a weekly basis. The details are horrific and the tragedy almost never results in less than multiple deaths. While there is no way to keep your workplace completely safe, there are strategies to prevent a shooting from happening and survive a shooting if one occurs.
In 2018, the United States has continued to lead the world in mass shootings.
It’s a tragic reality.
Most recently, a disgruntled reader of the Capital Gazette stormed into the Gazette newsroom, murdering five Gazette employees and wounding several others.
Unfortunately, the possibility of a workplace shooting is not zero and it appears that the threat of workplace shooters will exist for the foreseeable future.
That said, we cannot simply ignore this reality. We must recognize this fact and develop a plan of action should a workplace shooting occur.
Here are some quick tips on how you can help your organization prepare and respond to an active shooting in the workplace.
Responding to a Workplace Shooter
As a start, it is important for you and your organization to make a plan in the event of a mass shooting. While some plans may not work out in reality, it is still better to have a subpar plan compared to no plan at all.
Typically, the best plan—as advised by the U.S. government—is encapsulated in a three-word phrase:
Run. Hide. Fight.
Run is fairly self-explanatory. Your first priority should be to remove yourself from the active shooter situation and to leave the building as quickly as possible. To help you in this effort, it is critical to identify the two nearest exits near your desk or your workstation. Subconsciously knowing where the closest exits are will allow you to leave your building more quickly and, thus, increase the chances that you will survive the shooting. When you leave the building, you will need to leave your belongings behind—bringing them with you will, in all likelihood, slow you down as you escape. As for your colleagues, you will want to help others escape (if possible) and warn others of the location of the active shooter. Once you reach a point of safety, you will want to call 911 and inform authorities of any characteristics about the active shooter, his or her weapons, and the weapons that the shooter is using.
While escaping the active shooter is the best case scenario, you may not be able to escape. The active shooter may be close to your location and any attempt to run may result in serious, even fatal, injuries. Because of this, the government advises that you hide in place. The goal is to remain as hidden and as silent as possible. Stay out of the shooter’s view and silence all electronic devices. If you are in an office or another room, lock the door, close any blinds, and turn off the lights. Try to avoid hiding in large groups—it increases the chances that the shooter will find you and the group. Once you shelter in place, communicate with the police via text message rather than phone call and shelter in place until you hear an “all clear” from authorities.
Ideally, you will be able to escape the active shooter situation or hide in place until the threat is eliminated. That said, what happens if you aren’t able to run or hide from the active shooter?
This is, admittedly, the worst-case scenario.
The U.S. government recommends that you fight as an absolute last resort. When confronting the attacker, it is first helpful to find and use any weapons—however improvised they are. Commit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter. Your odds will increase if you have some of your colleagues also attack the shooter, but again, only if there is no way to run or hide. Ultimately, you may have to cause severe harm—perhaps even fatal harm—to the shooter.
Assuming you are able to escape the building unharmed or if you leave the building after the threat itself is over, you will want to keep your hands empty and visible and follow law enforcement instructions. Take care of yourself first and assist others if you are able. If you come across a wounded colleague, provide first aid (if possible) and turn wounded colleagues on their sides if they are unconscious. Once you leave the scene, contact your friends and family. In the weeks ahead, you may need to seek professional counseling, so keep that in mind.
Plan For The Worst
We hope that you never have to experience an active shooter at work. However, it’s important to have a plan in case the worst case scenario happens. Following the guidelines above will increase the chances that you survive this absolutely horrible situation.
TrainingABC’s brand new training video course on surviving an active shooting in the workplace was designed to educate your staff on the latest advice on how to prevent and respond to an active shooter.