Prepare to Prevent

Active shooter incidents have become a concern for all in recent years. These incidents occur without warning and quickly progress. Although they cannot always be prevented, organizations can take steps to help minimize the impact to their organization, employees or students. Having a plan in place to respond to an active shooter event is essential as these situations usually escalate quickly before law enforcement arrives on the scene.

The best way to address the risk of violence or other unfortunate acts is to be prepared. By thinking about possible situations or risks, and taking steps to minimize the likelihood of them occurring, you limit the risk of surprise and chaos when an incident happens. The following considerations may be helpful:

  • Establish a Team – Develop a safety or risk management team that will be responsible for safety issues, and designate a point person for that team. The individuals on this team should be selected based on their maturity, active members of your organization and be physically equipped to respond. Backgrounds military and law enforcement are helpful but not necessary.
  • Assess Your Facility and Response Capability – A security assessment by a professional can go a long way toward identifying the particular vulnerabilities of your organization to criminal activity. Conduct an assessment in conjunction with local law enforcement, if possible, or a security professional. Many law enforcement agencies will conduct a security assessment for free.
  • Create an Organization Safety and Security Plan – Based on the results of the security assessment, develop a security plan that defines the roles of staff and volunteers with regard to safety and security, and details the prevention measures and responses to harmful situations that may arise. The plan should be comprehensive and cover such topics as weather emergencies, medical incidents and disruptive and violent individuals.
  • Establish a Communication Plan – In the case of a crisis, it is important to be able to communicate efficiently. The members of your safety or risk management team must be able to communicate with each other. In addition, create a plan of action for how your organization will communicate during an event and decide how you will explain the situation to your community members, the public and media.
  • Seek Training – Once your security plan is in place, make sure that all involved staff and volunteers are trained on their roles. Again, the assistance of local law enforcement or a security professional in training can be very helpful.

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Originally posted on GuideOne

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