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Workplace violence preparedness: Designing an active shooter exercise

workplace violence preparedness exercise

With most active shooter incidents being over in mere minutes, training exercises should be an integral part of an organization’s workplace violence preparedness program. However, prior to conducting an active shooter training exercise, Regina Phelps says in a recent white paper that there are four things that must be in place:

  1. Senior management support
  2. Workplace violence preparedness policy, plan & program
  3. Exercise design team
  4. Planning time

Once organizations have tackled the above tactics it is time to move on to the exercise. In the beginning stages, Phelps points out that it is critical organization’s answer the “silly little question” – What do you want to get out of this experience? This includes the scope, goal, objectives and narrative. While an active shooter training exercise is critical for any company’s workplace violence preparedness program, Phelps cautions that organizations must do their due diligence before embarking on this challenge. Prior to conducting an exercise, she recommends telling the audience the following information:

  • The narrative involves violence.
  • Many people have been involved with violence in their lives and this scenario may affect exercise participants.
  • Participants should take of themselves. Let them know that it’s okay if they need to step outside for a moment to take a deep breath and collect themselves.
  • Also, remind them of any company employee assistance program (EAP) options.

To learn more about designing an active shooter exercise for your workplace violence preparedness program, download Regina Phelps’s full white paper, “Designing an Active Shooter Exercise that Focuses on Impact.”

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