Just three and a half months into 2021, mass shootings in the US have increased nearly 73% from the same time last year. According to data published by the Gun Violence Archive, 147 mass shootings have occurred since the year began, in comparison to the 83 incidents in the same time period of 2020.
Unfortunately, as mass shootings are becoming more common, we must place our focus on prevention and preparation. While these incidents account for a small fraction of the county’s gun deaths, there is no denying they are random and terrifying. An FBI study shows that 70% of the active shooter incidents occurred in either a commerce/business or educational environment, and because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene- it is important to have a plan of action should an active shooter incident occur at your workplace.
- Know your exit routes. Have an escape plan prepared, and make sure all staff and/or students are aware of the planned escape routes.
- If escaping to safety is not possible, it is best to hide out of the shooter’s view. Block the entry to your hiding spot and lock the doors. Remain quiet and remember to silence your cell phones.
- Only if you are unable to escape or hide, and only if your life is in imminent danger, then act with physical aggression, throwing items at the active shooter.
- Call 911 when it is safe to do so. Relay the location of the active shooter, the number of shooters, a description of shooters, a description of their weapons including the amount, and the number of potential victims.
Consideration should be given to the roles and responsibilities of different departments or staff members when creating an emergency action plan. Human resources, facilities managers and staff managers will all have specific and vital roles in creating and implementing a successful emergency action plan, and everyone should know what is expected of them during such an emergency.
No one can expect when an active shooter may walk through the door. But, everyone can be prepared to deal with these situations. OccuMed encourages business owners, parents, teachers, and friends to prepare themselves, as well as their staff for any possible situation. Having the proper policies, procedures and training for your business is vital in being prepared for violence in the workplace.