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Talking About Active Shooter Situations With Your Employees

It’s a statistic your place of business, worship or organization never wants to be a part of.

For many, the actuality of active shooter situations around the United States is far from real.

But in reality, you could be one disgruntled employee, student, or individual away from your worst nightmare.

More than 60% of active shooter situations from 2000-2017 took place in either commerce (businesses and malls) and education settings, according to FBI statistics.

According to those same statistics, 10% were at places of government, 4% were at houses of worship, 4% were at health care facilities, and 4.8% were at residences.

799 people lost their lives in these incidents.

This shows it's more important than ever to have a mindset, plan, and setup ready to go just in case the unthinkable happens.

All airplanes are equipped with flotation devices and oxygen masks in case of an emergency. Just because 99.99% of travelers will never have to use these, the airlines can’t take the risk.

Your organization shouldn’t take the risk of being unprepared in active shooter situations, either.


It starts with a community mindset. Your boss, school principal, pastor, etc. has to be the one to first embrace the change, whether it was from a recommendation, or from watching too much continuing live coverage of the latest public tragedy. Whatever the reason is, find one. It starts with management. If you’re an employee, student or community member who sees this dire need to have a plan of action, tell management and get them on board. There is no time to wait!


Each space is unique, having a different number of setups and physical barriers (cubicles, chairs, etc). When you start to think about how to keep everyone safe in your space, remember your setup is different from your neighbors’. A plan that works in a warehouse might not work in an office setting. A plan that works in one church might not work in the next. If you’re unsure of where to begin, start by getting with your local police department, Fire Marshall, or emergency management team to see what setups and strategies would work best for your space.


It’s great if leadership knows what to do, but it means nothing if they haven’t shared the plans with their team, congregation, or employees. Setup a time to train on what to do, how to get to exits, where to hide, and how to potentially disarm a threat to your safety. If you’re not comfortable doing so, you can even setup a time with local authorities to do the training. Have a copy of the plan made readily available to everyone.


Going over your plan of action once and taking off the training wheels is a recipe for disaster. Your people need continuing education. Your spaces also change over time, so your plan might need to be tweaked from time-to-time. Much like a fire or tornado drill, conduct training sessions and drills so everyone is prepared should the worst ever come through your doors.


When the Florida school shooting happened, schools across the United States started thinking about their own plans of action. If you see something in the news and know you haven’t trained your people in a while, round them up and get their thoughts. It won’t be easy or fun, but it’s necessary to keep this in the back of everyone’s minds.


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