No one wants to think about their business, hospital, school or community being victim to an active shooter incident, but it’s a real possibility.

In many cases, active shooter incidents are preventable, or at the least, the severity of incident minimized. It takes careful preparation and training long before an incident occurs.

With the news filled with these tragedies, now is the time to act to protect your location from being a potential target.

Know Your Risks

Far too many businesses and communities believe it could never happen to them. The FBI has compiled a list of active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2016, which shows that they’re far more common than you might believe.

The FBI’s study of incidents in 2014 and 2015 showcase how varied each incident is and the results of each. None of the incidents listed were places that thought they were at risk. It wasn’t until after the fact that they learned it can happen anytime and anywhere.

Create A Clear Procedure

The first step is to create a clear procedure of how to respond during an active shooter incident. You hope you’ll never have to use any of the steps, but being prepared now could prevent or at least minimize the number of injuries and/or deaths.

The Department of Homeland Security provides an incredible guide on how to respond during active shooter incidents. Use it to help your business create steps for employees, residents, customers and others to follow.

For instance, where should people try to gather? Which exits are safest? Where are emergency supplies?

Improve Security

The next step is to improve security. This is paramount to protecting against active shooter incidents before they happen. Someone who is planning an attack or decides to act impulsively may reconsider their plan if they see armed security guards.

Some of the best ways to improve security is by:

  • Adding high-quality surveillance cameras in more locations
  • Using remote monitoring
  • Having at least two on-site security guards (this allows for immediate backup)
  • Providing better lighting
  • Keeping entrances/exits secured and locked down
  • Checking for weapons when people enter
  • Considering armed guards for higher risk businesses

Better security works as a preventative measure. Plus, adding security guards ensures you have someone on-site who is trained in how to respond during emergency situations.

Another benefit of implementing guards, either on-site or remotely, is they’re trained to identify potential active shooters before they have a chance to do any harm. From looking at body language to noticing when someone’s bag seems to contain weapons, guards are well-trained on what to look for.

This means they can warn you in advance and ensure everyone evacuates quietly and safely until the shooter can be detained.

Train Employees

This one might seem like the most difficult. After all, your employees aren’t security guards and are going to feel stressed, panicked and anxious during active shooter incidents. It’s just a natural human response.

However, the better prepared your employees are, the more likely they are to help protect against an active shooter incident. The first step is to take them through common ways to identify a potential suspect. For instance, an active shooter might seem out of place or unresponsive to questions or comments.

The next step is to train them on what to do if they spot someone. This should involve contacting a security guard, on-site security staff, local law enforcement or even just another employee (to help confirm their suspicions). At no point, should they try to engage with the person themselves.

Finally, train them on what to do to help protect others. If they notice someone has a gun, for instance, they may pretend not to notice, but quietly walk away like nothing happened. They will then gather everyone in their area as inconspicuously as possible and lead them outside or to a safe area and lock the door. They’d then contact other floors or areas to warn them.

The final training involves what to do if the worst happens. This involves getting to safety, treating wounds until help arrives, knowing the safest time to contact 911 and how to respond when law enforcement arrives. The more prepared your employees are, the better they’ll respond during a crisis.

Just remember, run active shooter drills regularly to ensure everyone knows what to do.

Contact BOS Security

Are you ready to protect against active shooter incidents? Contact BOS Security today at 404-793-6965 to learn more about how our trained guards can help.

Want to learn about other areas where you could boost security? Take advantage of our free Security Needs Assessment today.

Image: Roman Koester