Active shooters are becoming more prevelant in the workplace, and you should know what to do in case an active shooter takes aim on your construction site or in the office.
Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. These situations often last only 10 to 15 minutes, many times before law enforcement arrives on the scene. So you should know in advance the steps to take to help you survive.
Have an emergency action plan and practice it. Some companies enlist the help of law enforcement for training exercises. Foster an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting unusual behavior or circumstances.
A U.S. Department of Homeland Security document, Active Shooter – How to Respond, gives guidelines to follow if you are in an active shooter situation. Here are a few of them.
- Be aware of your environment and know at least two possible avenues of escape.
- If there is an accessible escape path, run – even if others refuse to follow. Leave all personal items behind.
- Help others escape if possible, but do not attempt to move wounded people.
- If law enforcement is not on the scene, call 911 as soon as you are safe.
- If law enforcement is on the scene, keep your hands visible at all times so they can see that you are not hiding anything.
- If running is not possible, find a place to hide.
- If inside, lock the door and barricade it with heavy furniture.
- Hide behind large objects.
- Call 911. If you cannot speak because the shooter is close by, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.
- If your cell phone is not in use, put it on vibrate and stay quiet.
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter. Act as aggressively as possible against the shooter. Throw items, improvise weapons, and yell. There is safety in numbers, so when possible, attack as a group.