With active shooter situations on the rise, it is important for individuals and employers to be cognizant of a few guidelines that can help increase a person’s chance of survival and potentially prevent these unfortunate situations in the workplace.

The specific situation and location matters, but the general rule can be described as “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT.” First, if there is an accessible escape path your primary goal should be to take it. Make sure to help others if possible, leave your belongings behind, and keep your hands up in the air with your fingers spread wide. Remember too, that the best escape path might not be the one that you initially see or be the most obvious, similar to being on an airplane.

Second, if you cannot run, then hide. Choose a spot where an active shooter is less likely to find you, out of the shooter’s view, that provides protection if shots are being fired and does not restrict your options to move again, if possible. Lock or barricade a door if you can, silence your cellular telephone and do not make any noise.

Third, and only as a last resort, fight back! You should only fight back when your life is in imminent danger. You can attempt to disrupt or incapacitate an active shooter by acting aggressively towards the shooter, throwing items, improvise with weapons nearby (like a fire extinguisher), or yelling loudly to distract the shooter.

With the above in mind, it is important for employers to take steps to prepare for and manage an active shooter situation. This could include conducting effective employee screenings, including background checks; offer counseling services to employees; institute access controls; train managers to respond effectively; assemble crisis kits; and have an emergency notification or alarm system in place.

In reacting to active shooter situations, managers should be sure to take immediate action, as most situations do not last more than 10-15 minutes. Managers should remain calm, lock and barricade doors if possible, and evacuate staff and customers to preplanned meeting points.

In the event that you have any questions or that Dawda Mann can be of assistance in working with your Human Resources Department, please feel free to contact Randal R. Cole at rcole@dmms.com or (248) 642-3025 or Nina M. Abboud at nabboud@dmms.com or (248) 642-8591.