Not only are active shootings equal opportunity threats to organizations and their constituents, but they’re also on the rise. The horrifying attack in Orlando earlier this month underscored the vital need for all organizations to amp up their own efforts to plan and prepare for active shooter scenarios in their own workplaces and communities. Let’s take a closer look at the active shooter phenomenon, along with what you can do to safeguard yourself, your employees and your organization.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security describes an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.” And while some behaviors may fit the profile of an active shooter, there’s ultimately no way to predict whether, when, and where an active shooting will occur.
What we do know with certainty is that active shootings are on the upswing. In fact, according to data from the FBI, active shooter events rose from 6.4 annually in 2000 to 16.4 annually in 2013. Over the course of the same 13-year period, 160 active shootings in 40 out of 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, resulted in 486 deaths, 557 injuries, and countless threats to the health and wellbeing of the public at large.
Since the report’s 2013 publication, meanwhile, the numbers have grown even more dire culminating with Orlando’s tragic newfound status as the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Organizations have a basic moral and legal obligation to protect the safety and wellbeing of their employees.
But, there are other reasons for focusing on a proper response as well. As many as 40 percent of businesses which undergo a human-caused or other type of disaster are forced to close their doors for good. Even worse? A growing body of research suggests that most organizations are woefully unprepared despite all indications that workplace violence can and does happen everywhere.
Even while the world is still reeling from what happened in Orlando, the mandate is clear: organizations need to take proactive action — and quickly so — toward securing both the safety of their constituents and the futures of their businesses. Wondering where to even begin?