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Best Practices, Tips, Tricks and Strategies for Effective Emergency Management

Best Defense Against an Active Shooter? Planning and Preparation

Posted by Tara Gibson - Tuesday, April, 03 2018

Tragic recent history proves all organizations must take seriously the possibility of having to take action against an on-premise active shooter.

Even prior to February’s horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Gun Violence Archive pointed to 307 mass shootings resulting in the deaths of four or more people between January 1st and November 4th of last year.

That averages out to seven per week.

The U.S. led the world in numbers of mass shootings between 1966 and 2012, reports CNN. And the FBI determined that through 2013, seven of 10 mass shootings in the U.S happened at schools or businesses.

Unsurprisingly, the frequency and intensity of such attacks are motivating organizations to tighten up their emergency response plans for optimal safety. Here are some steps they’re taking to defend against an active shooter:

  • Update Emergency Response Plans 
    gun-1678989_960_720These days, every organization needs a formal, concrete emergency response plan providing step-by-step instruction on how leaders, employees, students and others involved should optimize their safety during a shooting scenario, and how emergency personnel can be expected to intervene. Suggestions for how individuals can help protect themselves are on Ready.gov.
  • Conducting Better Training and Awareness. 
    Rather than simply making emergency response plans available, businesses and schools must take steps to ensure anyone who's regularly on their premises would immediately know what to do in an active shooter situation. That may mean enforcing attendance at mandatory seminars, podcasts, etc., aimed at sharpening responses with education and practice.
  • Test/Practice the Emergency Response Procedures
    It is critical to evaluate the assumptions you’ve made in the emergency response plan. Will communications work as expected (a very common failure)? Will people act as trained? Identify gaps through round-table exercises and full-scale drills.  Be sure to use the lessons learned to fill those gaps when updating emergency response plans and procedures.
  • Implementing an Effective Emergency Notification System 
    If disaster strikes, you're going to need a highly strategic plan for communicating instructions clearly, swiftly and unobtrusively to those involved. Today's intelligent emergency notification systems offer capacity for nimble two-way messaging via multiple channels — voice, text, email, RSS and social media.

SwiftReach’s Swift911™ emergency notification system is implemented by more than 3,000 organizations across the country. Learn about how they can make your emergency response plan more foolproof at SwiftReach.com.