Is Your Business Prepared for an Active Shooter?

Adequate preparation can save lives

Posted by Timothy Dimoff in on December 17th, 2015

We live in a dangerous world and while we can’t eliminate every threat, we can boost our ability to recognize and prevent violence, learn how to respond better and faster, and learn how to speed up our recovery to these horrific incidents. As a business owner, manager, or employee this information and these skills are paramount to saving lives, including your own.

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Important facts to know regarding active threats include the number of perpetrators involved, the amount of planning and training the shooter(s) have, where the attacks are taking place and the type and number of weapons involved. These facts will help first responders and those being attacked or held hostage to defend themselves or deal with the situation. Each situation is different and each one is dangerous.

What is an Active Shooter?

The definition of an active shooter is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined space or other populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. They may be motivated by revenge, anger, ideology, and/or untreated mental illness.

These situations are unpredictable and usually evolve quickly. Once the attack begins, the shooter(s) may move throughout the building or area until stopped by law enforcement, suicide, or some other intervention.

Because most incidents are over within minutes, you must be prepared to deal with the situation until help arrives. Preparedness and awareness are the keys to helping protect your employees, your customers, and yourselves.

Try to remain calm and take immediate action.

Train Employees on How to Respond

Here are a few things that you and your employees should know:

  • If you suspect a potential active shooter situation, quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect lives. If there is an accessible escape path, try to evacuate the premises. And, make sure to leave your belongings behind and keep your hands visible.
  • If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Lock any doors and block entry to your hiding place using heavy items to barricade yourself if possible. And, remember to remain quiet and silence all cell phones and pagers.
  • As a last resort, and only when life is in danger, should you ever attempt to incapacitate the shooter. You can do this using physical aggression, throwing items at the active shooter, or other means of physically trying to stop them.
  • Call 911 when it is safe to do so.

Remember, preparation is a key factor in preventing an active shooter or other violent situation. Information is available to help you via webinars, consultants, seminars, etc.


Timothy Dimoff
Timothy Dimoff

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues.
He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University.

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