On May 24, just two days before students went on summer break, an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas and opened fire. The lone gunman killed 19 children and two teachers making it the deadliest school shooting in almost a decade. The last school shooting of this capacity occurred in 2012, when 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
As of Tuesday, there have been at least 213 mass shootings in 2022, according to Gun Violence Archive. This is at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022. A mass shooting is defined as a shooting where four or more people were injured or killed, not including the shooter, according to CNN.
There have been more mass shootings than days in 2022, CNN reports. This includes the racist attack at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store a little over a week ago that left 10 dead.
Unfortunately, this is the society we live in. People getting attacked on the job, in community centers, schools, grocery stores, etc. It’s heartbreaking.
But the most important thing we can do to strike back is to take proactive measures; have a plan in place, communicate that plan, and train employees on what to do if the unimaginable happens. This may not stop violence from intruding on your environment; however, it will give you a better chance of surviving.
According to the American Society of Safety Engineers & Homeland Security, what may surprise people is that most active shooters are not former employees, coworkers or even strangers.
Historically, almost half of the active shooters in a work environment were customers and/or clients. These people usually have knowledge of the building, including areas where people tend to congregate, such as break rooms and conference rooms, and they know the planned escape routes.
How to prepare for an active shooter
With this in mind, employers need to be able to notify their employees that a situation is developing without alerting the shooter. One way to do this is to develop a code, similar to “Code Adam” used in retail stores for a missing child.
This code should be communicated to all employees, be simple to use, and sound like routine communications in the work environment. The code may be as simple as asking “Alice, please call Reception” or “Gerald, please report to the front desk” when there is no employee named Alice or a front desk.
Higher-education employers have set up text mail systems where they can send out a mass text or e-mail to alert students and faculty to potential situations.
Once employees recognize the alert code, they need to make the decision. Here are your 3 choices: