Plan For An Active Shooter Situation

A recent article in the Washington Post by Bonnie Berkowitz and Marissa Vonesh summarized what to do in an active shooter situation. The advice provided is the same as we have discussed before, but an excellent review for all of us.

Does your organization have a plan if someone walked into your building and started shooting?

Threat assessment experts say the situation should be considered, a plan developed, and employees trained. These activities save precious seconds, allow employees to act, limit panic, and can prevent a catastrophic situation.

Every situation is different, but there are basics advised. Training sessions and drills will make the difference! 


The first – and best – option is to instruct employees to get out of the building whenever possible. They must leave belongings behind and encourage others to go with them, but not let the indecision of co-workers slow anyone from leaving.

Employees should be stealth when leaving, trying not to attract a shooter’s attention. They shouldn’t stop but keep running until they know they are in a safe place, then follow the chain of command to notify authorities. 


If employees can’t immediately leave because it’s not safe, they need to know where to go and what to do. Plan options and teach how to barricade areas, but not make it obvious so that the room(s) appear unoccupied and difficult to enter. Employees should turn off lights and silence phones. 


Employees should only attack or fight if there are no options. Items such as fire extinguishers, chairs or other pieces of equipment can be used.  

Organizations should BE PREPARED 

  • Develop a plan
  • Contract with experts to assess the facility and surrounding areas to ensure safety and an effective plan
  • Train employees periodically and schedule drills
  • Establish a First Aid Team that is adequately trained, and their roles are identified in the emergency plan as well as practiced.

Recommendations in the story were compiled from an in-person training course by Scott Zimmerman of K17 Security; ALICE Training; “Run. Hide. Fight.” by Ready Houston and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and the FBI. Washington post article

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

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