Defense Against Active Shooters: Part 1- Prevention
It comes like a whirlwind, fast and unexpected, and is over within minutes. This is what happens when an active shooter incident occurs. The FBI published a report on active shooter incidents, and the findings are heart-wrenching. Between 2000 and 2013 – in instances where the timing could be ascertained – 70% of incidents are over in less than 5 minutes, 24.4% of incidents occurred in educational facilities and 10% occurred in government locations. We shouldn’t dwell on these statistics; instead, we should create and communicate a plan of action.
Before diving into an incident action plan (we’ll get to that soon), let’s start with prevention. To minimize risk in your educational institution or municipality, you should:
- Establish a monthly inspection of your security perimeter and key protective features of your facility. Ensure locks, fences, exterior lights and other physical security devices are in place where needed and in proper operating condition.
- Enforce strict visitor control procedures such as mandatory sign-ins, name badges, escorts, etc.
- Check that all doors are locked with a staff member monitoring who enters and exits.
- Screen every person before issuing building facility keys and access cards. Keep lists of who has been issued access and have a procedure for when an employee is terminated without returning them.
- Ensure security is a large factor in the building plans of new or renovated facilities.
If you’re interested in more complex options, you also can:
- Install metal detectors at all entrances to the facility.
- Hire security guards to monitor activity.
- Enforce student conduct and dress code policies at schools.
- Train staff to be observant of the warning signs of potentially violent behavior.
- Educate students about violence and/or create an anti-bullying instructional program available through the school, park district or police department.
The definition of prevention is ‘the action of stopping something from happening or arising’, so be sure to take that very seriously, especially concerning an active shooter incident. Typically, a risk manager decides the level of preventative measures they’d like to implement since each school and municipality environment is different. But whoever is the decision maker, they must ensure proper prevention is always top of mind.
In my next post, “Defense Against Active Shooters: Part 2 – Action Plan,” I’ll discuss what to do if an incident occurs and how to act and save lives.
For more information on prevention and how to minimize risk, chat with us.
- Crisis Leadership & Game Time Decisions
- Get Schooled in Security Threats
- 2017 Industry Outlook Video: Public Entity & Education
ABOUT THE AUTHOR