"Active shooter on premises" are words that instill terror. However, these incidents seem to permeate the American psyche. Even with seemingly endless reports of these attacks on organizations, many leaders do not organize a plan for how to respond should they be faced with such an event.
The most likely reason for this is fear. Even preparing to mitigate against such an event is scary. An active shooter incident is when an individual or individuals actively engage in the killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, as defined by the FBI. The FBI designated 27 shootings in 2018 as active shooter incidents.
Unfortunately, active shootings — which are highly unpredictable when underway — are a reality that organizational leaders and facility managers must prepare for. Individuals must be prepared to manage such an event before law enforcement personnel arrive on the scene.
According to OSHA’s General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (which is applicable to all business in the United States), employers must provide their employees with a workplace that is "free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious harm." Per Active Victim, a provider of active shooter training prevention, courts have interpreted this provision as a legal obligation for all businesses, and this has led to significant legal action and awards for damages against businesses from victims of workplace violence.
Thus, you must have a plan. The following steps can help in creating a plan to effectively respond to an active shooter situation. Employees deserve safe environments, which can be furthered by an effective active shooter plan. There may never be a need for it, but planning for the unexpected is essential to being prepared in the event it does happen.
Next week we will look at part 2, and begin developing those tips an active shooter response program.
Source: NC Sheriffs’ Association