When an active shooter enters the office, your employees and security team need to know exactly what to do to protect themselves and others. Not having a plan is a worst-case scenario that can lead to disaster. Like so many other potential tragedies, no one wants to think it could ever happen to them – but everyone should be prepared, just in case. The best defense is, of course, a strong offense, but you must also have a backup plan in case a shooter attempts to enter your building or office and attack your people.
A Strong Offense
Prepare your property to deter shooters from choosing your office as a place for an attack. Active shooters do not choose their locations randomly. They research to determine what site is vulnerable, often surveilling the location to watch for holes in security or protocols, and thus plan their attack.
Do a security vulnerability assessment to determine your security strengths and weaknesses. Immediately set about strengthening your vulnerable areas, whether they are in technology, security, personnel, or physical space. Just a few of the steps you should take, depending on the results of your vulnerability assessment, may include: enhancing your security camera system to cover all entry and exit points; equipping the system with a gun detection system such as ZeroEyes; eliminating hiding places or obstacles that limit visibility for security cameras or staff; enhancing onsite security personnel; implementing lockdown procedures; developing detailed security protocols, training your security and staff thoroughly; and if possible, adding remote locking features to lock down wings to keep the shooter out.
Reach out to your local law enforcement or to an independent, professional security consultant for help with a detailed vulnerability assessment and security upgrade. Avoid a consultant who represents a particular product, as the consultant may not give you completely independent advice based on your real needs.
The “Backup Plan”
The “backup plan” is just as critical as the strong offense: train your staff on what to do if a shooter does make it into your building.
Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. This is why ZeroEyes includes real-time information transmission to your on-site security personnel, administrators, and first responders, so they know exactly what is happening while it is happening and can respond as quickly as possible to neutralize the threat and mitigate injury or loss of life. . But your people need to know what to do in the frightening minutes before the shooter is stopped.
Develop a detailed emergency action plan (EAP) and have your staff practice regularly so it will be second nature if they ever need it. How they respond can depend on the situation, so they need to know their options and how to apply them. The options are Run, Hide, and Fight, in order of preference. Develop your plan with the input of multiple stakeholders: staff representatives, human resources personnel, facility owner or operator, property manager, and local law enforcement.
1. Run: Train your staff to recognize the sound of gunshots, and develop at least two evacuation routes for them to take, depending on the direction of the gunfire. Post evacuation routes throughout the facility. Train your staff to respond immediately and to leave their belongings behind. Identify people who may need help during an evacuation.
2. Hide: Train your staff on appropriate ways to hide if evacuation is not an option. This depends upon your facility. You may want to create safe spaces in areas of your office that may be difficult to evacuate. The goals: be out of the shooter’s view; provide protection from shots fired (closed and locked door, sturdy furniture); prevent or slow down shooter’s entrance to the area by blockading with heavy furniture or other appropriate means, depending on the location. Train your staff also to silence their cell phones and remain absolutely quiet!
3. Fight: As a last resort, if steps 1 and 2 are not possible, train your staff to have a survivor mentality – throw things at the shooter the moment he sees you; attack if possible. They should be as aggressive and frightening as they can. Shooters don’t expect resistance. A moment of disorientation may be all your people need to take him down.
Make It Real
Conduct mock active shooter training exercises, preferably with first responders, so that both your staff and your local law enforcement are familiar with the steps and your facility. You could even invite local law enforcement to use your offices in their own training sessions, so they will have in-depth familiarity with your facilities. As an added bonus, if a potential shooter is watching your building and sees police activity, he will likely choose another location.
Reach out to us here at ZeroEyes for an evaluation of how our AI gun detection technology and real-time intel system can enhance your security and help keep your people safe. Free demonstrations are available.