Having an active shooter plan ready is not enough to prevent an incident from growing worse, or even a guarantee of success during an actual event. A strong active shooter program will involve an evaluation of plan effectiveness through an after-action process following each active shooter exercise – including conducting a new threat assessment, and using drills in your business to ensure everyone understands how to respond.
Assessing Your Active Shooter Plans.
An active shooter plan needs to evolve with your business. If you have multiple locations, your plan should include details for allowing employees to relocate customers or personnel following an incident. However, not every field should require staff to relocate to the second site.
Meanwhile, the active shooter plan should provide directions for each class of employee, including managers, supervisors, custodians and office staff. Your plan should go further by encouraging staff members to help one another and customers flee in the event of an active shooter incident. The plan must be in an easy-to-access location, and evacuation routes should be posted throughout your business. This will help those who do not have anywhere to hide escape from the incident, and all staff members must understand that going back for belongings is dangerous.
This poster, created by the Department of Homeland Security, also offers a brief review of how people need to react to an active shooter in the area.
If nothing else, you need to re-evaluate your active shooter plan and preparedness training program annually and every quarter following the hiring of new employees. But, the best-laid plans are useless without drills. So, use the next section to help you conduct and assess the success of your active shooter training drills and plans.
Reviewing the Outcome of Drills.
Here are a few tips to enhance your drills.
- Never conduct active shooter drills without announcing it as a drill.
- Use at least two different Christmas ornaments to symbolize the weapon.
- Have one team member portray the active shooter.
- Attach one of the ornaments to the pant leg and another ornament to the hand of the person portraying the shooter.
- Have each team member recount their memory of the incident on a document following the drill.
- Ensure space is available for participants to describe the types of Christmas ornaments used as weapons.
- Christmas ornaments might seem odd, but they can vary heavily in color, shape and size. This variance helps to teach participants about the importance of looking to see what type and number of weapons a potential shooter has.
Please indicate “Yes or No” to each of the following questions:
- How successful was your drill?
- Did you conduct training in advance of your drill?
- Were emergency exits accessible during the drill?
- When “police” arrived, did your team members come out after being advised to do so?
Count the number of blanks that had a “Yes.” Use the following rubric to determine a preliminary drill score.
4 – 90 Percent.
3 – 80 Percent.
2 – 40 Percent.
1 – 10 Percent.
Answer the following questions.
- How many employees were involved in the drill?
- Did your team members have their hands up and in clear sight?
- If yes to the above question, how many?
- How many employees refused to participate in the drill?
- Does your organization allow employees to refuse to participate in active shooter drills?
- How many team members had their bags or personal belongings, excluding cellphones that were already in their pockets, on them when evacuating?
- Did any team member appear unnerved by the training?
- If yes, how many?
- How many employees did not appear to know where to go in the event of an active shooter?
- Did managerial staff fail to contact authorities, including cases where the “drill call” was to human resources or other departments?
- How many participants were unable to identify the number and type of Christmas ornaments attached to the person carrying the role of the active shooter?
- Did any employee actively try to engage the shooter when hiding or running was an option?
- If yes, how many?
Count each “Yes” as one point. Add the total number of points accumulated in your score.
Subtract the total from your score in Section A. This your general success score for your active shooter training drill.
If your score is anything less than 80 percent, you need to review your threat assessment and active shooter training plan. You will also need to have any team member who was included in the numbers listed in Section B complete active shooter preparedness training again.
Can we help?
Do you need advice or guidance in planning for an active shooter situation, or other disruption, at your business?
We’ve built crisis management and active shooter plans for colleges, universities, non-profits, and the Fortune 500 while designing and managing effective, realistic exercises for our clients. Learn more about our approach to Crisis Management, including active shooter training, planning, and exercises, in our Ultimate Guide to Crisis Management.