An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and or populated place. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is usually no identifiable pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10-15 minutes, and before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.

An active shooter in your workplace may be a current or former employee, or an acquaintance of a current or former employee. Staff may notice characteristics of potentially violent behavior in an employee. Alert your Human Resources Department if you believe an employee exhibits potentially violent behavior.

To best prepare your staff for an active shooter situation, create an Active Shooter Emergency Plan/Procedure and conduct regular training exercises. This will prepare staff to effectively respond and help minimize the loss of life. The most effective way to train your staff to respond to an active shooter situation is to conduct mock active shooter training exercises at least annually. Local law enforcement is an excellent resource in designing training exercises.

  1. Ensure that your facility has at least two evacuation routes
  2. Post evacuation routes in conspicuous locations throughout your facility
  3. Be aware of indications of workplace violence and take remedial actions accordingly (refer to Code Gray SOP)
  4. Institute access controls (keys, security pass codes)
  5. Make sure your plans include relevant information and address individuals with special needs/functional needs
  6. Assemble Crisis Kits
    • Radios
    • Floor plans
    • Staff roster with contact information
    • First aid kits
    • Flashlights
  7. Components of an Active Shooter Training Plan
    • Recognizing the sound of gunshots
    • Reacting quickly when gunshots are heard and/or when a shooting is witnessed
    • Evacuating the area
    • Hiding out
    • Acting against the shooter (last resort)
    • Calling 911
    • Reacting when law enforcement arrives
    • Adopting the survival mindset during times of crisis


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