Five days ago, an oil burner service technician who had been terminated the week before after repeatedly threatening co-workers entered the utility service provider’s main headquarters just as the work day began and calmly began shooting people with a military-style weapon. In just under five minutes, he shot and killed three people and wounded five others. He then killed himself.

Five Missed Opportunities

The working group pored over the timeline, analyzed the evidence and shared technical data and first-hand accounts of the shooting. Four hours later, the group had identified five critical opportunities where workplace violence prevention might have saved one or all of the lives.

  • Failure to “connect the dots” with respect to the attacker’s behavior over the past few weeks. He had lost his job, his wife and his health care insurance within the past two months.
  • Critical deficits in the company’s suspension and termination processes. Policies did not address security notification, for example.
  • An outdated Emergency Management Plan that did not include floor plans for the new headquarters facility.
  • Lack of active shooter plan training for employees on what to do during such an incident. One of the wounded had been shot after her ringing cell phone revealed her hiding place to the shooter.
  • Poorly established crisis communications protocols that caused some first responders to lose precious time responding to the company’s nearby secondary location.

Three Drivers of Excellence in Active Shooter Planning

  • Identity: Recognition that a high number of active shooter incidents are acts of “targeted violence.” This is crucial – because we know, as a nation, how to prevent such tragedies.
  • Methodology: Leverage of an established approach to intervening in the pre-attack process. Targeted workplace violence is the result of an understandable and often discernible process of thinking and behavior.
  • Alignment: Careful and consistent alignment of the Active Shooter Response Plan with your Emergency Management Plan and the four phases: Prevention and Mitigation; Preparedness; Response; and Recovery.

Practical Tips for Execution: Our Recommendations

An active shooter attack is over in five minutes or less. Would your team be prepared?
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