Unfortunately in today’s world, active shooter preparation is becoming an essential emergency response practice for organizations of all shapes and sizes. In fact, between the years 2000 to 2013, “the FBI identified 160 active shooter incidents and 1,043 casualties – an average of 6.4 incidents occurred in the first seven years, and 16.4 occurring in the following seven.”  Although each organization is different, there are steps you can take for active shooter training to ensure that your employees and managers are prepared to initiate a response plan and manage the consequences of each incident:
- Recognize the signs of potential violence. Workplace and active shooter violence can start from small incidents and can escalate quickly – social isolation, crying or temper tantrums, swearing or emotional language are just a few of the signs that an employee or patron might be under a high level of stress and therefore more likely to commit an act of violence. Be on the lookout for signs of high stress and change in behaviors, you might be able to prevent an active shooter situation from occurring in the first place.
- Create an active shooter response plan. Detailing specific actions in a response plan and sharing this response plan can help save the lives of your employees. Include an evacuation and communication strategy. Where should employees go if presented with an active shooter situation? How will you alert employees and law enforcement? These are all questions that should be answered in preparation of an active shooter event.
- Publicize actions to take when confronted with an active shooter. The Department of Homeland Security lists 6 active shooter training practices to encourage your employees to memorize and follow if confronted with an active shooter: 
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
- Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
- If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
- If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
- As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down.
- Call 911 when it is safe to do so
To read the entire Active Shooter: How to Respond informational booklet, click here.
- Manage the consequences of an active shooter event. Predetermine how you will alert the public and communicate details to the media. A well thought out post-emergency strategy helps prevent mass chaos and ensures there are no conflicting or confusing messages.
An active shooter incident is a scary and terrible situation that hopefully no organization will have to experience. However, with proper active shooter training there may be a chance to prevent, or at least minimize the damage of a tragic event. If you are interested in learning more about active shooter preparedness, response and recovery register for our upcoming webinars: Active Shooter Preparedness and Response in Healthcare | February 17th, 2016 Active Shooter Preparedness and Response | February 18th, 2016