Does Your Company Have an Active Shooter Plan?
by Matt Trevathan
In my travels around the world, I’ve learned to become more situationally aware. When I travel to a foreign country, I take some time to learn the lay of the land. To me, it’s important to know what’s around my hotel as well as understanding the layout of my hotel and office. I always find the exits, and I keep my phone charged as well as a small travel bag in my backpack in case I can’t get back to my hotel if there is an emergency. Some people may consider this over kill, but I don’t. I’ve been in enough hotels with security check every car that enters for IEDs to put some thought to how I would get to a safe place in the event of an emergency. For many people with military or law enforcement experience, they may know what they would do in the case of an active shooter, but do your employees?
If you walked through your office and asked your employees what they would do if there is a shooter in the office, how would they respond? Some would say they would hide under their desk while others would insist on running. The real answer is that it depends. The Department of Homeland Security provides a quick guide for coping with an active shooter scenario. Here is a summary.
Think quick. Listen to where the shooting is coming from. Assess if you can evacuate. Understand where you are going to go. Remember windows are valid exit points. You don’t have to leave out the door. When you evacuate think of alternate routes if you need them. Leave everything and get out, even if others don’t want to follow. Once safe, call 911. Don’t assume someone else has.
If you can’t evacuate, hide. If you can lock the door, lock it. If you can, block the door with heavy furniture. Leave your cell phone on, but put it on silent.
Finally, the DHS recommends actively engaging the shooter as a last resort. Tackling, throwing, objects or engaging the shooter with lethal force such as a concealed weapon are considered a last resort.
Additionally, review with your employees hat to do in the event an active shooter enters the workplace is more important than having a plan. Helping your employees know how to exit and thinking safe may save their lives. As part of this review, establish a communications plan between employees, government officials and the press when the active shooter is contained or has left the building. If your company is uncomfortable building an active shooter plan, get professional help.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal December 12, 2015.