In light of the recent Umpqua Community College shootings in Oregon, I wish to express my heartfelt sympathy for the victims and their families.
Sadly, active shooter incidents are becoming more frequent. Having a preparedness plan for workplace violence could help save lives.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notes that there is typically no pattern in the selection of victims in an active shooter incident. There are three basics to remember if a coworker or stranger opens fire in your building:
- Run: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Call 911 when you are safe.
- Hide: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Lock and blockade the door, hide behind or under large items like file cabinets or desks, and remain quiet (mute your cell phone). If possible, call 911 to alert police to the shooter’s location.
- Fight: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.
It’s just as important to react appropriately to law enforcement when they arrive, so they know you are not the threat.
This 3.5-minute video, while dated, is a succinct visual reference for an active shooter situation:
For further resources, consult the extensive DHS Active Shooter preparedness list. The U.S. Department of Labor plan covers the broader scope of workplace violence, including early warning signs of violence from an employee.
Readers: Does your company include Active Shooter Response in its Emergency Action Plan?