More than half of all active shooter incidents take place in a business setting and are now 18 times more likely to occur than workplace fires. How would you handle an active shooter in your workplace?
Fire drills are performed all around the world, every day. The alarm goes off, you leave your desk and gather with co-workers in the parking lot until it's clear to return. They are so commonplace that we're not even alarmed when the signal sounds. But, how prepared is your organization for an incident that is 18 times more likely to happen than a fire? Unfortunately, Active Shooters in the workplace are more common than ever before, but most organizations are not training their employees on strategies and tactics to defend themselves. Let's take a look at the numbers:
- In the FBI's first study of active shooters, they found that out of 160 active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013, over 80%, 132 total, occurred at work.
- Of the 132 worksite shootings, 73 incidents (45.6%) took place at businesses, 39 (24.4%) at schools, 16 (10%) at government sites, and four at health care facilities (2.5%).
- In a 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2015 to 2016 there were 83 more workplace shootings bringing the total to 394.
- Shootings accounted for 394 workplace homicides in 2016 (79% of the total).
- Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Approximately 70% are over in five minutes or less and 67% are over before police arrive.
- In the majority of cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.
We know these statistics may be difficult to comprehend and you may be asking yourself, “How can I prepare for an active shooter incident?” Preparing for an active shooter incident should fall under the umbrella of life safety programs such as fire/evacuation and tornado/shelter preparedness. It should be treated as a worst case scenario that is practiced so that employees are as familiar with what to do during this incident as walking to the muster location during a fire drill. When creating a training program, organizations should structure the training so that it does not cause alarm or panic.
Three basic steps most commonly used if an active shooter enters the workplace: run, hide and fight. Staying safe and protecting yourself is your primary goal. For each of the steps, there are safety precautions and tips to use to help you stay safe. One note to make is that fighting is the last option anyone should take when dealing with an active shooter.
For those employees in leadership roles, it is critical to send an alert signaling the incident through your organization's communication system such as email and text. The facts should be stated in plain language so everyone comprehends the full details of the situation.
Another tip that employees need to be aware of is law enforcement's role when they arrive on the scene. Law enforcement's first job is to find and neutralize the threat. They will not know who is the suspect(s) and who are the employees, therefore employees should keep their hands visible, open and up at all times.
We know that it can seem overwhelming to prepare for an active shooter incident, however it is a fact of life. If you and your employees are not prepared, now is the time. Watch the on-demand webinar recording below. You will learn strategies and helpful information so that you are ready should this incident happen in your workplace.