Active Shooters and Workplace Violence
For large businesses in particular, active shooters and workplace violence are serious dangers. When they happen, such incidents cause a great deal of harm and damage in a short period of time. There are several steps you can take to manage the risk posed by an active shooter in the workplace. Act now so you will be prepared to protect yourself and your coworkers.
Causes of active shooters in the workplace
While there is no clear explanation for the cause of active shooters, a few theories may hold true. Mental health is often a primary factor, as many shooters have a track record of mental illness. Often these individuals started threatening or demonstrating violent behavior prior to the shooting. Workplace bullying and harassment are other possible causes. Inadequate work environment may also lead to employee resentment and frustration which could escalate to violence. Lastly, easy access to firearms may play a role in workplace shootings.
Warning signs of an active shooter
It’s hard to pinpoint one warning sign to suggest an active shooter situation is likely to occur. On the other hand, certain behaviors could signal a person is likely to engage in a mass shooting.
Make note of these warning signs and if you see someone exhibiting any of them, do not hesitate to call the authorities:
- Discussion of wanting to kill or hurt people; making threats.
- Displaying an abnormal interest in guns or other weapons.
- Sharing racist, extremist, or violent beliefs.
- Having a record of aggressive behavior or mental illness.
- Behaving in an odd or peculiar manner.
- Pulling away from friends and activities.
- Unusual changes in behavior or appearance.
How to respond to an active shooter
Your natural instinct when hearing gunfire may be to run away or hide. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, however, this is the opposite of what you should do. You must remain calm so you can think rationally.
First and foremost, you will want to get yourself to safety. If you are unable to get away, look for a safe place to hide. If you cannot find a safe place, then make a barrier between yourself and the shooter. Turn off the sound on your cell phone and remain quiet and calm. In the event the shooter approaches, act forcefully and try to overtake them.
While your safety is your top priority, don’t hesitate to help someone else who may be in danger. You are advised to take risks only if it’s safe to do so.
If the shooter happens to be near you, try talking him or her down. Be courteous and respectful, but also firm and decisive.
Repercussions of an active shooter situation
Law enforcement and emergency responders are still trying to understand the active shooter phenomenon. To be as prepared as possible for this kind of situation, it is good to know what to expect in the aftermath.
To begin with, victims will need to be given medical attention right away. Whether the shooter was targeting certain people, or the shooting was random, there will certainly be many victims. In addition, first responders will arrive on scene, so it is best to remain calm and abide by their instructions.
For law enforcement to investigate, the area around the shooting scene will be sealed off. It could take some time for people who were inside the shooting area to be released. During that time, you will want to cooperate with law enforcement and share any information you might have about the shooter.
In conclusion, active shooters in the workplace are a serious problem. Even though action steps can be taken to reduce the risk of an attack, it is impossible to completely prevent them. Employers should develop a plan in case an attack occurs. This way, employees will know what to do if they find themselves in such a situation.