An active shooter preparedness plan should be part of every company’s planning for emergencies, in the same way that you plan for other emergencies such as fire evacuation, severe weather, and bomb threats.
With many facilities being partially or fully shuttered over the pandemic, employees may have forgotten what to do in certain scenarios. As more employees return to the facility, FMs should begin initiating training for employees in how to respond to active shooter situations, as well as reevaluating security practices that can make the workplace safer for the employees and visitors of your facility.
Here are 7 ways FMs can help mitigate an active shooter scenario:
1. Security assessments
Assess the facility and its perimeter. See what can be done to make the facility more secure within and around the building. Consider facility modifications, such as means of egress or ways to secure doors. Ensure that meeting room doors can be secured from the inside. Determine whether any additional security staff should be hired, or whether additional security equipment like cameras, keypads or sensors should be installed.
2. Control facility access
Create a system for receiving guests and don’t allow visitors to gain entry with another employee or guest’s pass. Use unique and separate ID badges for staff and visitors. Restrict access to your office with locked or guarded paths of entry. Employees or staff should accompany visitors from the entrance areas to their locations.
3. Security checkpoints
The security checkpoint should also have a system for checking each new visitor’s belongings when visiting your office or building areas. This is a great safeguard against unwanted weapons being brought onto facilities, as well as other unwanted items like drugs, alcohol, and beyond.
4. Create access limitations within the facility
Storage rooms, boiler rooms, telephone and utility closets, and other potential hiding places should be locked or off-limits to visitors. These areas can be great for criminals to hide contraband or themselves in preparation for an attack. Operational facilities can also be sabotaged to set off sprinklers, alarms or disable phone lines.
5. Invest in alarms, surveillance and security systems
Door alarms can help prevent unauthorized use of emergency door exits or motion detectors to protect equipment and products from theft. Video surveillance can include digital video monitoring, coding, storage and data analysis.
6. Create emergency action plans
The Department of Homeland Security has developed an Emergency Action Plan Guide that helps companies train their employees to recognize behaviors on the Pathway to Violence, create a system for reporting that is tailored to your organization, and develop intervention capabilities to appropriately evaluate potential threats. Some companies and institutions also conduct mock training exercises with local law enforcement.
7. Keep your eyes open and encourage employees to report suspicious activity
As FMs regularly walk through the facility, be on the lookout for anything different in terms of people’s behavior and anything out of place in the facility, like items left in the hallways, furniture that has been moved, etc. These observations may be valuable in identifying security vulnerabilities or employees that may become a threat.
FMs should also communicate with staff that safety is the responsibility of everyone. It’s a big job, and the more people you have on watch, the more likely a suspicious activity will be seen and reported before it becomes anything else. So, empower employees to speak up about suspicious activities or anything strange that they may see and establish a safe reporting method for employees to use.
The large increase in gun violence over the last two years is consistent with the idea that violence may be influenced by social and economic factors, according to researchers. The data also supports an expected increase in mass shootings – and that is why Active Shooter Emergency Plans should be a primary focus for facility managers as more facilities open and operate at full potential.
Flagship can help you improve the health and safety of your facility.
We have experienced and professional teams ready to help your business with your security, IoT updates and your integrated facilities management needs. If you have any questions, please email a facilities expert and get the help you need.