Case Study — Active Shooter
Do You Have An Industry Best Practices Active Shooter Plan?
Our country continues to be plagued by tragedies caused by individuals with unregulated access to firearms. Compounding this serious issue are the deadly consequences created by a society that allows people without the legal authority or proper mental capacity to possess weapons. An all-inclusive approach is required with a focus on the origin of these events. Currently, most of the attention, energy, and efforts are directed on what can be done to stop an active shooter during an attack. Rather than just focusing on the response and its aftermath, we need to step back and try to determine what caused the incident.
The CEO of a company with a large domestic footprint contacted The Lake Forest Group because of the increased number of active shooter incidents nationwide. Her goal was to develop an enterprise-wide strategy captured in an Active Shooter Plan to provide strategic direction on how to mitigate this type of incident. The chief executive not only wanted step-by-step instructions but also to change the mindset of her entire organization. The prevailing school of thought was “it will never happen here.” This was the most formidable challenge to transform the internal temperament to an enhanced state of preparedness.
A multi-disciplinary approach was needed with people up, down, and parallel in the organization along with input from external stakeholders. Individuals with diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and experience came together and worked collaboratively to design the plan. The group was comprised of management, law enforcement, security, medical, mental health, fire, legal, HR, and training. Their mission was to collectively develop policies and processes for preventing, controlling, and resolving an active shooter scenario. A key component of the plan was a designed structure to identify, assess, and control anyone exhibiting traits that can be categorized as pre-attack indicators, which without intervention could manifest into violence.
The focus of the Active Shooter Plan was on mitigation and creating mechanisms to prevent any behavior deemed irregular or concerning from possibly becoming violent. This holistic methodology included security personnel, policies, procedures, systems, and physical measures. Also, industry best practice-based response strategies such as safe havens, relocation areas, lockdown capabilities, duress alarms, notification protocols, evacuation procedures, communications modes, and defensive tactics were included. One of the keys to success involved designating ownership over the plan, disseminating it to all personnel, and regularly scheduling training and exercises to reinforce its components.