Policies and Training

Security Expert Shares Top Priorities for Responding to Active Shooter Situations

Despite the prevalence of headlines regarding active shooter situations, most Americans get up and go to work every day believing that such an event couldn’t happen to them. While it’s true that most folks will never experience an active shooter in their workplace, it’s incumbent on security professionals to ensure the safety of their workforce in the event such a situation unfolds at their facility. The best way to ensure the safety of your workforce is to be proactive and have a plan in place before its needed.

Active Shooter

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To get a sense of what the seeds of an active shooter plan would look like, I was lucky enough to have a good chat over e-mail with Greg Shaffer, the founder and president of the Shaffer Security Group. I asked Greg if he would share his top 3 priorities that safety and security professionals should consider when developing an active shooter response plan. Here’s his response:

“First, communicate to your employees that they need to save themselves in an emergency or crisis situation. Help them to have a plan! Teach them where to go and how to get there. Inform them of improvised weapons such as pens, scissors, box cutters, hammers, screwdrivers, fire extinguishers, and chairs.”

“Think of this in terms of an Airline Safety Brief. Empower them with an “Action Plan,” but leave enough room for personal improvisation to thwart the unexpected actions of the offender.”

“Second, reward participation in your awareness and reporting program. Even if you can only get one out of ten people to go along, you’ll have increased your protective intelligence model by ten percent. You do this by developing innovative and fun ways to engage your employees to ‘Think Security.’”

“Third, teach your employees to ‘Avoid, Deny, Defend’ in the event of an Active Shooter. Avoid the shooter if you can – Get Off the X! Leave the Building! If you cannot escape, Deny the shooter access to your area by locking and/or barricading the door. Once that is completed, prepare to Defend yourself using weapons or improvised weapons.”

Greg ShafferSecurity Expert Greg Shaffer is the founder and President of Shaffer Security Group, a global security, risk management and tactical training specialty firm based in Dallas, Texas. Greg is recognized as one of the nations’ leading and respected policy experts in the prevention of domestic terrorism and active shooter events.

Prior to founding Shaffer Security Group, Greg served for over twenty years in the FBI, with positions including supervisor for the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force, Counter Terrorism Supervisor, and as a member of the elite Hostage Rescue Team.