Preparing the Workplace to Survive an Office Shooting

It’s an unfortunate state of affairs: each day around the country, countless school children have “lockdown drills” to prepare them to protect themselves should a violent individual enter the building. But violent situations occur in workplaces, too, and few companies prepare their employees for what to do should a shooter or other individual intent on causing harm enter the workplace.

It’s worth it to take a few minutes to let your employees know what they should do in the case of workplace violence. The FBI has estimated that as many as 45 percent of active shooter situations unfold in workplaces. As a business owner or operator, it’s important that you take some time to educate your employees that their response to a potential active shooter event will be critical to minimizing its impact.

Head for the Exits

All employees and anyone visiting your office should be aware of the position of the exits in the office. If a violent individual enters the workplace, it’s important that workers know to leave all belongings behind and run, if possible. Ensure that all exits are kept clear of equipment, furniture, and clutter at all times. While getting out safely is ideal, if you’re too far away from the exit, it may not be possible to do so without attracting attention from the violent individual. In this case, it’s ideal to look for a safe place to barricade yourself.

Find a Room to Hide In

The goal is to ensure the shooter cannot enter, so lock the door if possible, and build a barricade using furniture to hold the door until police arrive. Use any objects you may have in the room to help: belts tightened over the door hinge can be highly effective. Silence the ringers on phones, and turn out the lights to give the impression the room is empty. Should the shooter attempt to enter the room, fight back with whatever objects you have nearby, such as a fire extinguisher, coffee pots, scissors or piece of furniture.

Call the Authorities

Ensure someone calls 911 – even if it’s just to place a silent call — and to draw even more emergency personnel to your situation, set off fire alarms or use a flame from matches or a lighter to set off the sprinkler system. When the police arrive, keep your hands up, visible and empty.

Consider a Formal Training Session

It can help employees to be prepared and keep their heads should the worst happen. A professional workplace health and safety organization can help you ensure your employees and others are prepared for emergencies, including workplace violence. In addition to providing first aid supplies and protective equipment, SoCal First Aid also offers on-site safety training, disaster preparedness training, and other services to businesses and other organizations.

We will work with you to train your employees on safety best practices and establish a preparedness plan in the event of a workplace violence threat. Contact us at 800-480-5855 or visit our Web site for more information.

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