Every workplace should have an evacuation plan in case of an active shooter.

5 Steps Every Organization Should Take To Protect Against Active Shooter Incidents

By taking precautions for the possibility of an active shooter, an organization reduces the dangers to workers.


Responsible leaders must be ready for all the disasters that can hit a workplace or school. Employees should have all necessary supplies and be trained to take action to protect themselves in situations like a fire, flood or earthquake. It’s just as vital to have plans in place in case of an active shooter incident.

The possibility of an armed individual attempting to injure or kill people in the building or office where you work seems unthinkable. However, by taking precautions for the possibility of an active shooter, an organization reduces the dangers to workers. These five steps might make the difference in saving lives.

1. Consider improved security measures

“Routine security is the first line of defense.”

Routine security is the first line of defense against anyone intending harm against the people in your school or business. According to the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, common vulnerabilities in commercial buildings include a lack of security cameras, insufficient control over parking areas and open access to the entrance. Local law enforcement or a security consultant can provide advice on measures to head off these problems and minimize risk in a dangerous situation.

Establish policies of zero tolerance for workplace intimidation or violence and forbidding any weapons from being brought onto the premises. Make employees aware of anonymous reporting procedures to follow if they suspect someone might intend to commit a violent act on the premises. Restricting building access, especially for potentially disgruntled former employees, is also a prudent choice.

2. Develop an evacuation plan

If something does go wrong, everyone in the building should be quickly notified and know how to get out as quickly and safely as possible. All organizations should invest in text alert systems all buildings need multiple, clearly marked exits that are wide enough to accommodate all the people in the area. By posting floor plans, employers can ensure that personnel are able to find their way out in an urgent situation.

3. Train employees to respond

Establishing a uniform violence reporting system and a training program, including a communication plan and drills, will help personnel make the right moves under dangerous circumstances. The Federal Emergency Management Administration recommended three strategies when an active shooter is in the building:

  • Run: If possible, all personnel should immediately evacuate the area, leaving any belongings and warning others as they move.
  • Hide: Workers should be aware of a location where they can shelter in place if necessary, locking the door, closing blinds and switching off lights.
  • Fight: Physically engaging a shooter is a last resort to be taken only in cases of immediate danger when there are no other options.

4. Provide emergency equipment

In an active shooter situation, like any emergency, employees will need the resources to call for help and tend to injuries. Place landline phones in readily accessible areas along with contact information for emergency services. Situate well-equipped first-aid kits at multiple points of the buildings, and train students and workers in first responder trauma scenarios, like applying pressure to wounds and using tourniquets.

Immediate medical assistance can save lives in an active shooter situation.Immediate medical assistance can save lives in an active shooter situation.

5. Insure your business

Taking safety measures is the first and foremost concern for protecting against an active shooter. In addition, business owners and managers must take into account the long-term impact of an incident. In the aftermath of a shooting, these individuals may even find themselves held liable in civil and regulatory actions.

For that reason, active shooter insurance is a wise investment. McGowan Program Administrators offers a program that includes primary liability coverage with limits of up to $25 million, plus coverage for property damage, business interruption expenses and post-crisis management. The policy also features a range of services for your business, such as a risk assessment of the insured locations, an action plan seminar and a 24-hour crisis management service. Preparing for the unthinkable is a responsible choice that could keep the employees at your business safe.

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