When you join a company, you likely do so with the hopes of growing your career, enriching yourself, and paying the bills. But when it comes to planning for active shooting events, a lot of companies would just assume ignore the elephant in the room. The liability inherent with implementing a half-baked way of dealing with emergencies not only endangers the lives of your colleagues but can severely hamper that company’s future opportunities of acquiring talent. That’s why, if there isn’t a plan in place, perhaps there needs to be.
Read Through Your Company’s Handbook
Before recommending a course of action in the event of a workplace active shooting situation, it’s best to know what your company has in mind. An active shooting event is not the same as fire evacuation or other emergency protocols. It’s a unique situation where you’re dealing with one or more active, violent participants. This means that traditional reactions to emergency drills such as “find the nearest exit, get to a safe distance away from the building, contact 911” may not apply.
Read through your employee handbook. Specifically, what you’re looking for is the company’s stance on weapons in the workplace and any emergency-related drills that they intend to run. From there, you will know who the company’s point of contact is for emergency coordination drills. That’s likely the person you’re going to want to talk to next.
Talk To Your Safety Officer
In every company that has fifty or more regular employees, there’s usually a designated safety officer or similarly titled position responsible for coming up with all the plans for the company’s response to emergencies. This is the person you will want to talk to. Find out what the company is actually planning. They may have contingencies in place but are they being communicated appropriately to you, the employee? Do your other employees know what they need to do in the event of an active shooter?
Coordinate And Consult To Reach A Good Plan
Work with what exists. Your company may be planning to expand, contract, or move but right now, the focus needs to be on working with the existing infrastructure. This starts with a building and property layout. Similar to a fire evacuation plan, entry and exit points should be identified. Where bottlenecks occur or workers may not have the opportunity to escape easily, a contingency needs to be created so they can shelter in place.
People to consult:
- Former law enforcement with applicable experience
- Former and active duty military
- Properly accredited and trained instructors
This isn’t just about reducing a company’s liability in the event of a workplace active shooting event, this is about preserving life and educating fellow employees about self-defense.
Building and property layout
Map out how different work sections can either attempt to flee or shelter in place.
Show how employees in different sections of a building or facility can avoid the fight for as long as possible by sheltering effectively in place.
Appointing section safety leaders
In a workgroup, it’s always good to know who a primary point of contact is in the event of an emergency. This person will act as the primary liaison ensuring employees know what’s going on, what’s expected of them, and how best to proceed. This person will also be in charge of either contacting emergency services or ensuring someone else is on it.
This is the most essential piece after a plan has been coordinated. Employees should ideally be given at least one opportunity to practice responding to active threat situations. This isn’t the expectation they will encounter it, it’s merely letting them know both their own awareness about the situation as well as getting them used to getting into that mindset.
Helping your workplace coordinate and prepare for these events is the first step to protecting yourself. Employees who know approximately what to do when the situation is frenetic and crazy will be less of a threat to each other’s survival in the event of an active shooter.