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Responding to an Active Shooter Incident

Workplace violence may be a rare occurrence, but you should never underestimate the importance of being prepared in the event that your company and employees are targeted by an active shooter. An active shooter is an individual who intends to use deadly force against his or her victims without the expectation of his or her escape.

An attack like this can happen to anyone, anywhere. The general perception is that these events happen in “bad areas” or buildings with key people in society. However, this is not always the case, and the majority of shootings that occur in the workplace are carried out by employees (or former employees) for reasons associated with their job.

While you may not be able to prevent an attack from happening, it’s critical to keep the following tips in mind in the event that your organization experiences an active shooter incident:

  • Evacuate the premises if at all possible.
  • Call 911 if you can do so safely.
  • Warn everyone you encounter to leave the area.
  • Remain silent and still if you can’t flee safely. Be sure to silence any devices you may be carrying.
  • Block any doors with heavy furniture if you are hiding in a room. Don’t stand near any windows.

Employees should be instructed to fight back only as a last resort. During active shooter incidents, co-operating with emergency personnel can mean the difference between life and death.

Attacks can happen without warning. As such, it’s important to consider the threat of an active shooter in advance and make an effort to assess your organization’s vulnerabilities. To do this, take into account the number of workers you employ, the number of exits each of your locations have, secure areas that could act as hiding spots and the types of incident response training your leaders receive.

It is equally important to inform everyone of the actions taken to mitigate the risk as well as what to expect from the company should an attack occur.

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