This week, in nearby Broward County, 17 people died in a mass shooting. These students, teachers and coaches were killed by a 19-year-old with an assault rifle who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The images have been horrific and the sadness tremendous. My heart breaks for the victims, the parents and their friends and families.
In my newsletters, I like to stay positive, but this week’s events have hit close to home so I wanted to write about them. Psychologists say it’s important to talk about traumatic incidents.
Security experts recommend preparing and practicing an active shooter response plan. Before the Parkland shooting, school administrators executed countless “Code Red” drills so the campus would be ready for an Active Shooter. Administrators say a lot of students survived the attack because they knew how to respond.
If an emergency like this happened in your workplace, would you or your employees know what to do? Here are some suggestions from the experts:
- GET OUT – Former FBI agents say if you can safely exit a building during an emergency situation, you should do it. Then, run to a safe place, as far away as possible. In this case, the gunman was inside the building already and a number of victims were killed in the hallway or stairwell. In an emergency, you have just moments to think. So, now is the time to know all the exits to your workplace and evaluate which ones might be the most safe.
- BARRICADE YOURSELF – If you cannot exit the building, lock yourself inside a room or a closet. Teachers did just that and saved dozens of students. Once you’re in a room, hide behind a hard object, like a desk.
- ARM YOURSELF – When you’re secure inside a room, find a hard object to use as a weapon in case the person gets in. Experts say you and everyone that’s with you should grab a computer, a hard cover book or any object you can use to defend yourself. If the perpetrator makes his or her way into your room, you’ll have no choice but to fight back and can launch the items at the person.
- GIVE THE POLICE DETAILS – If you are trapped in an emergency situation and can call the police safely, then try to give police as many details as possible. Tell them your name, where you are calling from, who is with you, how many suspects you saw, and if there are weapons involved. The more details you can give police, the more prepared they are to face an emergency situation.
This school shooting is senseless and so very sad. I am saying a prayer for the families of the victims. But I’m also going to make sure my own company’s plan is in place in the event of workplace violence. If you can, you should do the same. By empowering your team to protect themselves in the event of the unthinkable, you will not only mitigate business risk, but also ensure the safety of employees, customers and the community.