It’s an uncomfortable feeling, knowing that we live in a society where mass shootings have become common place. As a business owner, how do you address this possibility with your staff? Should there be an active shooter protocol as part of employee training? Yes, there should. It is information that can empower an individual in a moment of crisis, especially when the information is delivered by an expert in the public safety field.
What should your active shooter protocol include? Here are a few tips that can be incorporated into your specific setting.
Personal Conduct for Staff
Every employee should learn what to do to protect themselves in case of an attack. There won’t be time for somebody else to give them direction. They need to be educated to evacuate the vicinity of the shooter immediately, leave the building and meet at a predetermined safety checkpoint for attendance purposes. They should not confront the attacker unless it is a last resort. They should learn the four steps for self-protection in an active shooter scenario:
- Tell Somebody: Use 911 and notify a manager if possible. Don’t wait for somebody else to do it.
- Flee: Run away from the attacker.
- Scatter and Hide: Do not congregate, but find individual hiding spots behind locked doors.
- Attack: If cornered, throw anything possible at the attacker.
Lastly, when leaving a building where an active shooter is in progress, the individual must make sure their hands are open and in the air. Arriving 911 personnel do not know who the shooter is on scene, and somebody carrying a cell phone may look like a weapon-wielding villain in the blink of an eye.
Each business should have assigned people in charge during these crises, as predetermined by your active shooter protocol. They are the person who will provide information to emergency personnel, check that all your employees are accounted for, and be able to notify the employees, vendors and the public to evacuate with a broadcast over your public address system. There should be an individual for each shift. They will require additional training to fully understand their responsibilities in case of a shooter.
Reach Out to Law Enforcement
Whether you run a small store front or operate a facility with several hundred thousand square feet of floor space, your police department would greatly appreciate the opportunity to walk through the property, with an eye for how to approach a shooter situation. They will be happy to have a dialogue with you to help implement your active shooter protocol.
Of course, every situation is different. Your location is unique. A company well-versed in active shooter training will be able to assist in training you and your staff for the most effective response in a time of crisis, saving the lives of you and your employees.