Policies and Training

Preparation and Training Are Critical in Reducing the Impact of an Active Shooter

The recent mass shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and a crowded entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio have hopefully prompted many employers to question whether their employees have the preparation to react should an active shooter situation happen in the workplace.

active shooter

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There is no general legal requirement that an employer conduct active shooter training but for employers who decide that they want to offer some type of program, here are some options. A good place to start is with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) where you will find a wealth of resources.

The U.S. Army and the DHS have used video game technology and animation to develop a virtual active shooter simulator that shows how to react to a shooting scenario.

Among other resources, the DHS provides a printer friendly “Active Shooter Preparedness” fact sheet. This document is a resource to bring greater awareness to the Department’s active shooter preparedness efforts and states the following:

Active shooter incidents, in many cases, have no pattern or method to the selection of victims, which results in an unpredictable and evolving situation. In the midst of the chaos, anyone can play an integral role in mitigating the impacts of an active shooter incident. The DHS provides a variety of no-cost resources to the public and private sector to enhance preparedness and response to an active shooter incident. The goal of the Department is to ensure awareness of actions that can be taken before, during, and after an incident.

Active Shooter Preparedness Program

The DHS maintains a comprehensive set of resources and in-person and online trainings that focus on behavioral indicators, potential attack methods, how to develop emergency action plans, and the actions that may be taken during an incident.

Active Shooter Online Training

This 1-hour online course (IS-907 Active Shooter: What You Can Do) provides an introductory lesson on the actions that may be taken when confronted by an active shooter, as well as indicators of workplace violence and how to manage the consequences of an incident. To access this course, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute online training website at http://www.training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx and type Active Shooter in the search bar.

Active Shooter Preparedness Workshop Series

These scenario-based workshops feature facilitated discussions to inform participants on the best practices associated with preparing for and responding to an active shooter incident. Through a dynamic exchange of information, these workshops provide participants an understanding of how to plan and aid in the development of an initial draft of an emergency action plan for their organizations. For more information on these workshops, please contact the Active Shooter Preparedness Program at ASworkshop@hq.dhs.gov.

Active Shooter Online Resources

There are additional resources available online to inform individuals on how to prepare for active shooter incidents. These resources range from booklets and pocket guides, to a 90-minute webinar that explains the importance of developing an emergency action plan and the need to train employees on how to respond to an incident. To access these resources, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/activeshooter.

Unfortunately, in today’s society you need to be prepared for the worst. Employers need to have policies and practices in place to increase awareness. By implementing comprehensive procedures, educating employees, and taking other preventive measures employers are in a better position to reduce risk associated with active shooter situations.