Active Shooter Readiness Strategies Every Business Owner Should Know

Active Shooter Fundamentals Guide for 2023 - Run, Hide, Fight
Active Shooter Readiness Strategies Every Business Owner Should Know

How Businesses Stay Ready for Active Shooters

Each business needs a plan. It keeps them safe from active shooters. The U.S. Department of Justice has made a plan. The Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, agrees with it. The plan talks about five things: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery.

1. Prevention

A plan can’t promise full safety. Still, it’s better to try prevent shootings. Here are some good steps to take.

Each business should do the following:

  • Check on new employees. Do background checks.
  • Make sure everyone is treated well. Be kind and respectful. This can help stop bad actions.
  • DHS says to have a way to report signs. Have training videos ready. Teach everyone what to do.

Preventing violence isn’t always clear-cut though. The following could be warning signs. Yet, these are just possibilities. They don’t mean violence will surely happen.

Here are key signs to watch for:

  • More use of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Signs of feeling really sad. Pulling away from others. Big mood changes.
  • Being against changes in rules.
  • Being scared of things that aren’t real.
  • Suddenly being mentally unwell.
  • Past fights with authority figures.
  • More talk about guns, weapons, and crimes.
  • Understanding those who commit violence.
  • Interest in past attacks.
  • Traumatic life event. Examples are death, breakup, or losing a job.
  • Being bullied at work.

These signs aren’t the only ones. They also don’t mean violence is coming. Yet, noticing patterns could stop an attack.

Look at your business. See how well it could handle violence.

It’s best to have strong plans for these events. Prevention works often. Though, it’s not a perfect shield. It’s also good to keep all employees informed. Training is essential. It’s also important to look out for your coworkers. Everyone has a part. Be safe together.

2. Protection

Protection means taking actions. Keep people and property safe. OSHA says make an Emergency Operation Plan. This comes before any incident.

Include an emergency communication system. Notify employees right away. Active shooter events last 12.5 minutes on average. Every second is important. Be prepared before law enforcement arrives. 60% of events end before police come. Informing people can save lives.

3. Mitigation

Mitigation isn’t the same as prevention. It’s about detecting threats. Limit the damage of an attack. FEMA says mitigation is reducing the loss of life. It’s about lessening the impact of an incident. What can a business do? Follow precautionary steps. This helps lower the risk of shootings.

Start by doing a business threat assessment. Create a threat assessment team. They document possible danger. The team should have key stakeholders. These people are trained in assessing threats. They work with law enforcement. They find potential risks. Their aim is to keep people safe. Physical threat intelligence helps too. Monitor your business surroundings. Find employees in danger quickly.

The mitigation goal is to be cautious. Use available resources. Protect people from harm. Limit the damage from an active shooter.

4. Your Business’s Response

Workplace violence is bad. It can happen. If it does, your business’s response matters a lot. Good responses lead to swift recovery. A good response plan is needed. It will guide you to control the incident. Also, it ensures the environment is safe.

Speak to Your Employees

Keeping your people informed is key. Moving to recovery mode also becomes easy. Your employees are very important. They need to know what to do. The first step is to alert everyone. This happens when an active shooter comes. Not all employees can tell when danger is coming. Some may ignore the signs.

Train to Alert

Train your team to alert others. Training should contain easy-to-use tools. These tools could be a button or emergency code. This should notify everyone, including the police, quickly. This helps, even if it’s a false alarm. It can save many lives.

Training: Run, Hide, Fight

The next step is training again. This training is for active shooter situations. There are three strategies to learn: Run, Hide, or Fight. Running away is the best action to take first. Teach your staff to know all escape routes. This should be done before any danger comes.

Leave the Unnecessary

Tell your staff not to take personal things. They should avoid using elevators or escalators. Calling 911 is important, but do it when safe. A perfect drill will guide through these steps. This will lower chances of panic.

Hide if Running Isn’t Possible

What if running is not possible? Finding a safe place to hide is the next step. The response plan should tell people where to hide. They should look for rooms with fewer windows. Turning off lights is also crucial.

Lock and Barricade

Once in the room, lock the door. Using heavy furniture to barricade it is a good idea. Keep silence and stay hidden. Remain in hiding until the police say it is safe.

Fight as the Last Option

What if hiding fails? Fighting becomes the last option. No one wishes to face a violent person. But there may be no other choices. Your staff should use office items. Things like chairs and fire extinguishers can work as weapons. Remind them of the benefits of force in numbers. Also, speed and surprise can help a lot.

Final Thoughts

This is not a complete discussion. It’s a start. More information can be found elsewhere. This is only a guideline. It gives an idea of a strong defense. It also highlights the role of each worker. Everyone’s efforts matter.

Look at your own business. Consider its readiness. Shape your plans as needed. Respond effectively to threats. Your entire team is your biggest resource. Don’t leave anyone out. Every contribution counts. The steps mentioned are crucial. Make sure to take them. Remember, this isn’t a foolproof list. There’s always more to learn. Stay informed and prepared. As you make your plans, remember this. It’s not just about reacting. It’s about preventing danger. Be proactive. This way, even in the worst situations, you can keep your business safe.