News reports provide repeated reminders to employers across the country that active shooter incidents are not just a potential threat but a real one. While it is reassuring to adopt a “that will never happen here” mind-set, it is important to be proactive—planning ahead and training your employees on what to do if such an incident were to occur at your workplace.
Yet, many organizations do not do so. In a recent survey by Emergency Management & Safety Solutions (EMS Solutions) and Everbridge®, the majority of security and emergency management leaders reported that they are concerned about the possibility of an active shooter incident but do not feel adequately prepared for one.
In fact, 69% identified an active shooter incident among potential top threats, and 79% indicated that their organization is not sufficiently prepared for such a situation, according to the report, Active Shooter Preparedness.
“The results of this study underscore a very disturbing trend. While an active shooter scenario is every company’s nightmare, few organizations are prepared to effectively manage the situation,” said Regina Phelps, founder, EMS Solutions. “Companies need to move beyond fear into action, take clear steps to prevent an attack from happening, and also be prepared if it does.”
Here are two training-related lessons to glean from the survey.
First, develop a communication plan, and train employees on how the plan works. The biggest identified challenges related to a potential active shooter incident were “communicating to impacted individuals” (cited by 71% of respondents) and “locating people who may be in an impacted building or facility” (55%). However, 39% of survey participants have not adopted a communication plan for active shooter incidents, and 44% report that they “don’t have a plan to communicate and escalate alerts to those most likely to be impacted.” Second, conduct active shooter preparedness drills. Most surveyed organizations (61%) do not.
“Communication plans, education, and practice are critical to being prepared for any emergency situation,” said Imad Mouline, chief technology officer (CTO) of Everbridge. “During an active shooter incident, it is imperative that organizations have a way to quickly and reliably locate individuals in harm’s way and share relevant information, such as instructions to either shelter-in-place or evacuate a particular part of a building. This research shows far too many organizations still have a long way to go to call themselves prepared to locate and inform affected personnel during an active shooter situation.”
Download a copy of the report here.