How Does a Company and Individual Recover from an Active Shooting?

Security Industry Association (SIA)

Recovery from an active shooter event is not an afterthought or a topic that is last on the minds of a business or individual, but it is a component for survival for a business and those employees who devote their lives to the company.

At ISC West, one session will explore how recovery consists of an individual, department, working group, and company. The survival and longevity of a business cannot be measured on a spreadsheet nor can the individual recovery of the employee be plotted. The presentation will explore the three phases of recovery and sustainability of the employee, department, and company. The presentation will discuss what is at stake for this foreseeable or unforeseeable to more comprehensively protect assets, infrastructure, and people.

Join Dave Shepherd, CEO of the Readiness Resource Group, for this discussion on active shooters, on April 5, 2017, from 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. The Security Industry Association (SIA) chatted with Shepherd about the topic.

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How have active shooters changed over time?

First, we need to look at the classification of active shooters compared to other categories. Excluded when totaling active shooter attacks are gang-related events, drug deal interactions, family disruptions and robberies went wrong to determine how active shooters have changed over time. Second, there is confusion if an active shooter incident is an active shooting or a workplace violence incident, i.e. the shooting of two managers at the UPS Customer Center, Birmingham, AL, followed by the suicide of the shooter immediately after the attack. Third, in 2016 Chicago, unfortunately, experienced the death of 762 of their citizens in 3,550 shooting incidents of which none were classified as an active shooter. Fourth, ISIS-inspired, not directed, terrorist attacks have occurred in three locations: San Bernardino Christmas party, Orlando nightclub and the Mohammed cartoon event in Garland, TX. Fifth, since most people associate active shooters with firearms, they also use other weapons as trucks/cars and knives. There has been a significant increase in the number of knife attacks and vehicle attacks, such as the Ohio State University attack.

What are tools for managers and colleagues needed to identify potentially violent individuals?

First, since there are 56 different personality traits and behavioural characteristics of an active shooter as found in the book, “Active Shooter: Preparing for and Responding to a Growing Threat”, technology, such as surveillance cameras, mass notification platforms, and access control are tremendous forensic evidence and alert tools, but not a method to identify potential active shooters prior to an attack. Second, we have seen the number of potential active shooter attacks prevented as a direct result of individuals reporting social media comments and tweets of pending attacks within schools. In the 2004 U.S. Secret Service report on 37 school active shootings, 81 percent of other people knew about the attacks. This process is known as “leakage”. Providing an open line of communications for individuals to report potential attacks is an effective tool. Third, school police departments are now monitoring social media sites in the attempt to disrupt active shootings prior to the actual attack. Students are registering cell phones and even social media sites with schools for mass notification, as well as preventive measures prior to an active shooting. Businesses monitor company-owned computers to alert the management staff of a potential insider threat, such as a potential active shooter or the disgruntled employee who is looking to steal company secrets to solidify a new job. For many companies asking potential new employees to provide social media, site access is a growing trend and potential preventive measure for an attack.

How does a manager begin to develop cooperation and a solid plan for getting public sector cooperation (i.e. first responders and police), especially when their resources are often stressed?

First, major corporations provide the funding for the first responder community through taxes, thus it is a prudent measure for the first responder community to cooperate with the private sector. Approximately 40 percent of the active shooting is occurring in private sector businesses. Second, invite the first responder community to tour the business and ask what additional equipment and tools would be needed to assist with their entry. Once the first responders provide a list, attempt to immediately purchase items and allow the first responder to store selected items at the business and allow the first responders to use items at other response incidents. Third, create “Go or Response Bags” for the first responder to easily navigate the business. The bag includes access cards, master keys, flashlights, door stops and a map of the business, complete with stair locations and exit doors. Fourth, invite the first responder community to the business as a site for active shooter training. The public sector is always looking for practice locations that will help hone their skills and provide valuable insight into their capabilities.

How do you communicate with the media after an active shooter incident?

Traditionally, any communication with the media concerning active shooting is done by the law enforcement community. Specific details of the attack are closely guarded because the attack is an active investigation to determine a motive, coconspirators, and terrorism directed or inspired, just to name a few. It is highly suggested that any communication with the media should be coordinated with the law enforcement community, as well as the business’s internal or external legal staff, and insurance carriers.

What’s the biggest takeaway that attendees of this session will have after attending it?

Businesses are not alone when facing an active shooting as the first responder community is preparing for these devastating attacks well in advance. The attendee should also realize they are not silent in an active shooting, but a valuable partner who knows the property and its nuances better than the first responder community, thus they need your help.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association (SIA).