These incidents are horrific and swift, often resulting in multiple injuries and deaths. Typically, the active shooter dies by suicide or is killed by law enforcement.
The U.S. Attorney General reports that active shooter incidents at corporations, campuses, and other workplaces increased three-fold in 2013 versus the average of previous years.
“You can’t stop crazy.”
No court or government agency will find you—as an employer—at fault for failing to stop crazy. What every court and government agency does expect is that every employer know how to respond to crazy.
This means committing to emergency planning and employee training that complies with the law. The negligence issues are failure to plan and failure to train for this foreseeable circumstance.
Any employer’s response to an active shooter will be—in part—to recognize, plan, and train to implement the Active Shooter Protocol. This protocol is what your local law enforcement agencies will do once someone calls 911 to report “a guy with a gun” at your workplace. As an employer, you play a primary and critical role in working with law enforcement to respond to an Active Shooter.
Police, fire and EMTs are not the first responders—they are the official responders. Your employees are the first responders—by dint of the physics of time and distance. Remember that these incidents are almost always over in less than 10 minutes. So, how you plan and train your people will decide how many of your people are injured or worse.
You must understand what law enforcement will do once deployed at your workplace; what law enforcement expects of you by way of information, command, control, communications and procedures to bring this incident to a close with a minimum of injuries and deaths to your people.
Training your response to an active shooter is the ONLY way to mitigate risk and loss of life.
The only way to ensure your people and your facility are protected is to have a professional from outside your organization review your plans and conduct your training. Don’t wait for disaster to strike.
Lessons from the Taj Mahal Incident
In one of the most bloody and infamous active shooter confrontations to date, the 2008 attack of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, a lack of sufficient preparation resulted in disaster. Ratan Tata, chairman of the Taj Group, had this to say about the attackers:
“They went through the kitchen. They knew what they were doing, and they did not go through the front. All our arrangements were in the front.”
These arrangements were extensive. After receiving warning of a threat, the Taj had increased security at the front of the building, adding metal detectors to thwart surreptitious attackers and changing parking regulations to prevent a quick attack through the front door. But a lack of security improvements in the back left the hotel open to attack. Internal security teams are often susceptible to bias, and can miss critical holes that attackers will find. This is why it’s essential to have someone from outside your organization create your emergency plans – even if you have virtually unlimited resources, as does the Taj Hotels Group, if your emergency plans have been made in-house you are likely still over-exposed to risk.
To read the full interview with Ratan Taj, click here.
These are just some of the issues you will encounter when training to implement the Active Shooter Protocol:
- Which of your employees is in command?
- Where is your emergency team of employees deployed to help control your response?
- What communications do you provide to talk to your people?
- Can you account for all your employees and visitors?
- Where are all your people?
- Your Lockdown procedures
- Your Lockout procedures
- Control of power to your facility for shutoff
- Site map: detailed
- Floor maps for all floors for all buildings: detailed
- Perimeter control
- Identifying friend from foe among your people
- Procedures for rapid exit of your people when ordered
- Reuniting procedures/facility after incident
- Access to MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets)
- Crisis Communications Plan
- Crisis Media Plan
Now is the time to start planning for an active shooter – not after he arrives.
Are your organization’s active shooter plans in place? When was the last time you conducted an active shooter drill? Whether you already have plans or not, 911 Consulting can help ensure your people come out alive if an Active Shooter strikes.
We offer a range of comprehensive services to help you prepare. Fill out the form below, and we will be in touch to discuss how 911 Consulting can help your organization get ready.