The number of mass shootings in the United States has risen significantly over the past few decades. Today, active shooter situations are one of the many potential disasters every US business and public venue must consider when creating crisis plans.
To keep your employees and customers safe, an active shooter protection plan is a must. Here’s how to craft an active shooter protection plan for your business.
Best Practices for Active Shooter Protection Plans
The Department of Homeland Security recommends the following best practices for an active shooter situation. Incorporate these tips into your active shooter protection plan, and have your team practice them periodically.
Before an active shooter situation happens:
- Stay aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to exits, possible sources of cover or concealment, and potential dangers.
- Spot the exits. Where are the two nearest exits at any point in your building? Make sure your team knows where each exit is and which ones are closest to their workstations.
During an active shooter situation:
- Call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. Safety comes first. Take steps to secure doors, place cover between yourself and the shooter, or escape the building, then call for emergency help.
- Stay put. Workers in offices should stay in the office and lock or secure the door during an active shooter situation. If workers are passing through hallways or common areas, they should head for the nearest room with a securable door.
- Get away. Anyone who can exit the building and get to a safe location should do so. Designate a meeting place near your business, so that your team members can get together and determine who may be missing.
- If you cannot hide, fight back. Taking down an active shooter is dangerous, so it should be your last resort. If the shooter is close by and there is nowhere to run, however, the best chance of survival is to attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
Tips for Team Safety
Teach team members that the best thing to do in an active shooter situation is to escape if possible. Have your employees create escape routes, explore the building so they can find exits quickly, and know where they can go if a shooter appears.
If team members cannot escape, have them focus on hiding. Identify places that offer both concealment from the shooter’s line of sight and cover, or protection from bullets. When buying new office furniture or fixtures, look for sturdy materials that provide enough concealment for one or more people without restricting their movement.
Remind teams that taking down an active shooter should only be used as a last resort. If they must do so, however, teach them to identify items that may be used as weapons and to create distractions by yelling and throwing things.
Where to Find Business Support in the Face of Crisis
When a crisis hits, your business needs help. At Odell Studner, we specialize in supporting businesses through insurance, surety bonds, active shooter safety training, and other services. Contact us today to learn more.