The active shooter incidents this past weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which took a total of 29 lives, have contributed to an alarming 32 mass casualty events by firearms in the U.S. this year. As law enforcement braces itself for potential ‘copy cat’ incidents, public places where people gather – including businesses, schools, medical facilities, entertainment venues and shopping centers – are considering what more they can be doing to fulfill the ‘duty of care’ to provide a safe environment for workers, students, patients, visitors and others. T&M emphasizes that preparedness, planning and training are key.
Given the growing number of active shooter incidents resulting in mass casualties (a mass casualty event is defined by the U.S. Department of Justice as 3 or more deaths in a single incident) and the varied, highly-populated public locations where they tend to occur, it is no longer acceptable to do nothing. Legal precedent indicates that there is 'foreseeable risk' and those that do not plan can be held liable. Institutions must acknowledge that active shooter incidents present a credible threat and must take measures to mitigate this threat.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal law enforcement agencies remind individuals to ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ during an active shooter incident, and we know to stay vigilant and maintain situational awareness, but organizations need to do more. Measures that institutions should be taking right now include:
Conducting a comprehensive Threat and Risk Assessment to identify risks specific to the organization and the current mitigation measures that are in-place. A special focus should be given to access control and the ability to compartmentalize and contain an identified threat. Recommendations for enhancing security should be in-line with recognized best practices.
Ensuring that the security program includes a site-specific Active Shooter Plan and that personnel are trained so they become familiar with it.
Implementing a Workplace Violence Program, if the organization doesn’t already have one, and training personnel on recognizing potential behavioral indicators. Have a protocol for reporting and assessing individuals exhibiting concerning behaviors.
Assembling a Threat Assessment Team that has the capability to gather and evaluate intelligence that is relevant to the organization. For example, T&M is providing a growing number of clients with social media monitoring and analysis services in response to threats made to the organization or its personnel.
For more than 10 years, T&M’s security experts have been advising, developing custom programs and plans and providing site-specific training to help businesses and various public institutions address the threat of active shooter events and workplace violence. If your organization needs assistance, our team is at the ready.