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How to Prepare for an Active Shooter Event in the Workplace

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, XpertHR Legal Editor

Active shooter events are devastating and unpredictable and can evolve very quickly. Unfortunately, the frequency of these incidents have increased in recent years, often occurring in a place of business. As a result, an employer is well-advised to implement certain procedures in order to protect the workplace in the event of an active shooter situation, as well as ensure employees and managers are mentally and physically prepared to respond to such a situation and to manage the aftermath.

An active shooter is defined by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an individual who is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Typically, active shooters will continue to move throughout a building or area until stopped by law enforcement, suicide or other intervention.

While not all the recommendations listed below are applicable to every facility or organization, it is nonetheless prudent for an employer to consider measures it can take to increase individual awareness of, improve chances of preventing and respond effectively to an active shooter event.