There have been 1640 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2012. This includes the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace shootings have also increased by 15% since 2012. Recently Nova Medical Centers hosted a Lunch & Learn Active Shooter Training event in our medical center in Knoxville, Tennessee. The purpose of this event was to train our employees on what to do in case of an active shooter in the workplace. Unfortunately, in these times, every employer needs to be prepared and have a course of action in place in the event of an active shooter in the workplace. FEMA has created a 3-step guideline that employers can use to prepare and prevent active shooter incidents in the workplace.
See here for upcoming Active Shooter Training’s in your area: https://n-o-v-a.com/events/
Develop an Emergency Action Plan
In order for your Emergency Action Plan to be effective, it should have the input of the leadership of your business and local law enforcement, and first responders. Make sure your emergency action plan includes:
- A preferred method for reporting different types of emergencies.
- An evacuation policy and procedure.
- Emergency escape procedures and route assignments (with floor plans and identification of designated safe areas).
- Contact information for—and responsibilities of—individuals to be contacted under the Emergency Action Plan.
- Information concerning local area hospitals (i.e., name, telephone number, and distance from your location).
- An emergency notification system to alert various parties of an emergency, including:
- Individuals at remote locations within premises.
- Local law enforcement.
- Local area emergency responders and hospitals.
Try to conduct drills of your emergency plan at least once a year. For the safety and well-being of your employees, it’s important to have a plan in place to prepare for worst-case-scenario incidents in the workplace.
Reach out to local law enforcement organizations to help conduct mock active shooter training exercises at your workplace. With these exercises, you will be able to determine how effective and efficient your business’s Emergency Action Plan is. Here are some areas your employees should be trained in:
- Identifying the sound of gunfire.
- Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard or when a shooting is witnessed.
- Fight as a last resort
- Calling 911.
- Reacting when law enforcement arrives.
- Adopting a survival mindset during times of crisis.
These pieces of training help better prepare your employees in the event of an active shooter. By conducting these training’s employers can also test the effectiveness of their Emergency Action Plan and see if anything needs to be added or changed in their plan.
Recognize Indicators of Potential Workplace Violence
It’s the responsibility of everyone within an organization to be aware of characteristics of potentially violent behavior in an employee. If you notice peculiar behavior that could lead to violence alert your supervisor or HR department immediately. HR departments should have processes in place for emergency situations such as:
- Conducting effective employee screening and background checks.
- Creating a system for reporting signs of potentially violent behavior.
- Making counseling services available to employees.
- Developing an Emergency Action Plan that includes policies and procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation, as well as after-action planning.
No business or individual can truly prepare for an active shooter incident. Unfortunately, mass shootings are random, completely unpredictable, and wreak havoc on families and communities. But with the right emergency preparation in place, businesses can potentially save lives or minimize loss of life. You may also like: Tips to Prevent Workplace Violence and 4 Ways to Prepare for A Natural Disaster.