As unfortunate as it may seem, threats to businesses of all sizes and types are becoming more and more a reality. The safety of your employees and the security of your physical plant are likewise becoming more important than ever before. In this changing environment, INTELLEO shares with you three reasons to train your employees for an active shooter threat.
Statistics Show a Steady Climb in the Number of Active Shooter Incidents
According to the latest Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, the number of active shooter incidents are showing a steady increase. There were 20 such incidents in 2016 and 30 more in 2017. For the purposes of definition, the FBI defines an “active shooter” incident as one where one or more individuals actively engage in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Implicit in the agency’s definition is the use of a firearm or firearms to accomplish the shooter’s goal. These numbers are outside of drug or gang-related shooting incidents. For a perspective, the National Crime Victims Resource Guide indicates that in 2017, 44 percent of active shooter incidents occurred in areas of commerce, including businesses both open and closed to the public.
A good overview of how and why your employees should train to respond to an active shooter situation in your business is provided by the United States Department of Homeland Security. The guidelines reiterate universal response practice: In order, train your employees to do three things: (1) Run (2) Hide (3) Fight as a final resort. Important subsections behind the purposes of active shooter training include information specifically focused on training for:
*How to prepare when an active shooter is in your vicinity.
*How your employees should respond when law enforcement arrives on an active shooter scene.
*How to train your staff for an active shooter situation.
*Preparedness and managing an active shooter situation.
*Recognizing potential workplace violence.
*Managing the consequences of an active shooter situation.
The three primary reasons to be proactive instead of reactive are simple and commonsensical. A study by Eastern Michigan University into active shooter incidents identifies a trio of clear reasons for proactive training.
Reason 1: Each active shooter incident tends to be unique in nature, and most incidents happen with little or no warning.
Reason 2: Writing for Elsevier, author C. David Shepherd points out among other factors, that active shooting incidents are not restricted to big cities, nationally recognized schools or businesses—they can take place in any state, any city, any location at any time and they occur in all types of businesses as well.
Reason 3: Simple common sense. Failure to train and prepare employees and your business for an active shooter incident could well have unintended consequences. Those might include widespread panic by unprepared employees; unnecessary loss of life or increased probability of injury to persons; complicated and increased danger for both employees and law enforcement entering your business trying to respond; and the possibility of increased business liability stemming from lack of preparation or neglect of warning signs or dangers such as disgruntled employees or former employees. Businesses could find themselves criminally and civilly liable for ignoring or even brushing off tips and clues that an incident was brewing under the surface from an internal source.
In a May, 2016 roundtable discussion, the American Bar Association (ABA) points out that while statistically active shooter incidents are considered rare, nonetheless about 700 people per year are murdered in the workplace. This article focuses on three distinct steps that should be used when considering training.
*Training that focuses on identifying the early, then advanced stages of employee behavior ranging from combative, confrontational arguments to bullying, threats and intimidation.
*Communication and training within the workplace and developing a plan of action to deal with active shooter incidents.
*Life-saving tips that should be incorporated into training. An eye-opening point here: active shooter incidents usually last 5 minutes or less, and in a significant number of cases, end when the shooter takes his/her own life. But what your employees, do, how they react, and how well trained and prepared they are to deal with the situation could in fact mean the difference between life and death for many of them. This ABA roundtable discussion concludes with a link to resources available for businesses considering active shooter training through the United States Department of Homeland Security web page.