It is an unfortunate reality that we must plan for mass shootings in our public and private spaces. There is no one magic bullet to stem this problem, and so we must all prepare – to prevent them and to respond should they occur to ensure workplace safety for our employees, clients, and members of the public.
STRATEGIES FOR ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENTS AND WORKPLACE SAFETY
1. Conduct a vulnerability assessment
A vulnerability test should assess threats from outside, points of access, and security checking systems. These areas are to prevent or limit unauthorized entry. Then, there are the internal assessments for how you and your staff will get out if there is an incident inside.
A vulnerability assessment is often best done by an outside professional. You are close to your business and therefore may be too familiar to provide an objective evaluation of security vulnerabilities.
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2. Provide awareness training
A common thread in mass shooting situations that have been thwarted is an awareness of changes in the person and acting once this is noticed. Therefore, awareness training should be a cornerstone strategy to limit the likelihood of a mass shooting situation.
Your employees, managers, and supervisors should be trained in what to look for, such as trends, changes in behavior, and how to approach these situations.
3. Practice what you learn
With a lack of muscle and memory practice, it is difficult for anything learned to be actively used during an emergency. So, conduct drills, get staff engaged in utilizing what they’ve learned. In an emergency, their responses would be almost reflexive as they are already trained and have practiced how to handle and react in these situations.
4. Drug testing and drug awareness policy
Prescription and illegal drugs have factored in several incidents of public shootings. Anti-psychotic and other prescription medications, for example, have been noted as contributory factors to these incidents.
As an employer, you need to safeguard the health and safety of all your staff. Regular drug testing and drug awareness campaigns can help mitigate the risk of an office shooting spurred by drugs.
5. Engage staff in awareness campaigns
Implement a policy of observation among staff. This shouldn’t be promoted as reporting members, but to look out for their well-being. Co-workers are in the best position to notice when something is wrong with a fellow member of staff. They can observe where reactions to certain situations are atypical. When they make their concerns known, intervention activities can take place before the behavior escalates into something deadly.
Carry out suspicious activity recognition training with ongoing reminder sessions for reinforcement. Reading or watching videos like the “run, hide, fight” aren’t enough. Practice is also necessary.
6. Implement insurance risk management policies
This can include crises response counselors that can be on-site quickly following an incident. Cultivate relationships that will build trust and offer a fast response after an emergency.
Subject matter experts on active shooter situations can help you put in place further strategies in the workplace. Business risk management experts can guide you on insurance requirements if ever you experience a public shooting in your business.
If you don’t have an active shooter protocol in your business as yet, let’s discuss the risk management strategies you need to implement as soon as possible. You’ll be protecting lives, including your own.