The F.B.I describes active shooter situations as instances where an individual actively kills or attempts to kill people in a populated area. According to an article published by The Washington Post in June 2022, over 300 mass shooting events occurred this year in the United States. The Gun Violence Archive notes that over 24,000 deaths have occurred due to gun-related violence in 2022. In addition, their figures estimate approximately 356 mass shootings have occurred in 2022 at the time of writing this article.
The sad reality is that active shooter cases are rising in the United States. Based on the figures above, active shooting instances will surpass 2021’s record, which was an all-time high. Last year already saw mass shootings increase by approximately 30 percent from 2020.
Considering the rise of active shootings in the United States, businesses are concerned, and they’re not the only ones. Schools, hospitals, and government agencies are also worried. Research shows organizations in the U.S. increasingly consider active shootings as a top threat to business continuity. However, a survey shows that approximately 25 percent of companies in the United States are unprepared for these situations. Furthermore, 75 percent of survey respondents stated that while they have emergency response plans for active shooting incidents, they have difficulties managing emergency scenarios until they’re over. That poses a significant problem because situational awareness and time management are crucial for protecting employees during active shooting situations.
As a result, businesses must prepare robust emergency response plans for active shooting situations. Here’s how.
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Key Steps in Active Shooter Preparedness for Businesses
Here are some key steps in active shooter preparedness for businesses. They include:
Ensuring Physical Security Preparedness
Active shooting incidents are increasing rapidly across the United States. There has always been an issue with gun violence. However, it has become more prominent recently. Businesses, educational institutions, and law enforcement agencies have started adopting state-of-the-art technologies to protect themselves from active shooters.
Most active shooter situations generally last between ten to fifteen minutes. The situation escalates quickly once the first shot is fired. Some corporations and institutions have started leveraging technology to help with gun detection. Integrating such technology with video surveillance can help organizations make their workplace safer and proactively prevent gun-related violence. Other solutions include using security scanners at entrance points and access control systems.
Instituting a Risk Mitigation Framework
People often say that prevention is better than a cure. This saying is particularly true for active shooting situations. Ideally, you’ll want to prevent the likelihood of such situations occurring on your premises. Active shooters attacking a business’s facility often have past ties to the organization. They’ve also likely suffered significant emotional distress and hardship before conducting the attack. The F.B.I. and Secret Service analysis reveal that various psychological factors can prompt active shooters to attack a business, including losing a significant person, being fired from their job, changes in financial status or living arrangements, and feeling humiliated or rejected.
As a result, businesses should also invest in assessing their employees’ mental well-being. Implementing employee screening and checks allows organizations to recognize employees’ emotional states. Doing so can curb potential workplace violence because businesses can identify individuals with high levels of fear, anger, anxiety, or grief and get them the assistance they require before an incident occurs.
Having a Emergency Response Framework Supported by MERLENN® & The Adaptive Contingency Process or ACP™.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s General Duty Clause requires employers to protect employees from hazards that can cause injury or death. As a result, businesses must develop a workplace violence prevention policy. In addition, they should also have an emergency response policy for such instances. Counterspherics, a safety technology company, has developed the ACP ™ for use with its MERLENN® Emergency Planning & Response Management System product; providing guidance, preparedness, continuous monitoring and response, to any emergency. The ACP™, developed by Counterspherics® and Specialized Safety Services, is process for Time boxed Operations in response to Critical add Actionable Threats; and defines time limitations and actions for safety operations by different entities of a business or organization. The ACP™ comes with Unified Safety and Emergency (USE) Sheets…which are templates for emergency preparedness and operations.
Developing an active shooter response plan is necessary for businesses in today’s age, particularly with active shooting incidents increasing rapidly. The Department of Homeland Security has prepared a recommendations list for businesses to follow when creating an active shooter response policy. The guidelines also detail how organizations must coordinate response procedures with local law enforcement authorities for employee safety. Similarly, the ACP™ previously described was specifically designed with this in mind.
Providing Regular Training to Employees
Businesses must ensure they provide regular training to employees. Doing so helps employees learn and remember crucial protocols they must follow during an active shooting incident. Active shooting incidents can be highly stressful and traumatic incidents. There’s noise from gunfire, alarms, and people shouting as they rush to safety. Naturally, people struggle to keep their composure during such events and start panicking instead.
Regular training and exercise drills can help people acclimate to a potential active shooting situation. These drills will help employees become more prepared, increasing their confidence in how to handle such situations. As a result, they will be more composed during an active shooting situation and follow the proper protocols correctly.
Furthermore, regular training also helps businesses identify weaknesses or roadblocks in their emergency response plan. Businesses can address these issues accordingly.
Protect Your Employees and Patrons Before and or During an Active Shooting Incident
For a budget-friendly safety technology or service to help you personally or your business in times of need, check out Counterspherics.com. They provide a Crisis & Incident Management Support System (CIMSS) or service to help you prepare, act, and recover from emergencies, natural or otherwise. Their CMISS also includes Tracking of Training, Business Continuity.
You can check out their video animated case study how a California university used its system to provide real-time alerts and pre-crisis/incident instructions to their faculty and staff on where to go, and what to do in response to possible active shooter incident overflow onto their campus from an act of violence nearby that tragically left two people dead. Counterspherics Labs is constantly working on safety and threat management systems to help people and businesses in crises.
About The Editors and Counterspherics®
Rushton Prince and Henrie Watkins are Safety and Disaster Preparedness experts. Both have extensive backgrounds as First Responders, Safety Technology Implementers, Human Protection, and Occupational Health and Safety Trainers.
Counterspherics, the company behind MERLENN® has 22 years of experience in providing crisis response infrastructure and boasts a 100% customer satisfaction rate. To view illustrated examples of the software in action, follow Counterspherics on YouTube.