After an active shooter incident occurs, much of the tough work is still left to be completed. An incident like this has most likely affected the entire community, and it will likely take the entire community to recover. Recovery might include hospitals, grief counselors, employee assistance, and more.
In 2008, colleges were still scrambling to acquire an Emergency Notification System (ENS) to send mass text messages to their students. It was just over a year from the horrific Virginia Tech massacre that refocused the world’s priorities on the importance of campus safety and taking proactive measures to prevent a recurrence - on any campus.
No organization wants to think about the day that an emergency might happen at their facilities, especially an active shooter crisis, but it is something that each organization must prepare. Not only is mass emergency preparation a legal obligation, but most would argue that it is a moral one. You want to keep your people informed and out of harm’s way. If there’s an emergency, people expect to be notified and provided the guidance to remain safe. There are many alerts that we have grown accustomed to receiving such as weather alerts, Amber or Silver Alerts, or even local emergency alerts. So, if there’s an active shooter emergency in the vicinity, people expect to be alerted in a similar fashion.
Active shooter incidents are not just happening at colleges and schools; they are happening in all types of places of work, play, and worship. The number of people killed in mass shooter attacks has escalated since 2012. Two of the deadliest mass shootings happened in 2017. Over the last decade, there have been 475 people killed and 882 people wounded in America due to mass shootings. These active shooter statistics are unbelievable - yet a reality. Legally, all employers must now address the possibility of an aggressive intruder or active shooter who means to do harm to people in work settings.
Safety is an important decision when choosing where to live, vacation, and work. Everyone wants to feel secure in and out of their homes, especially when children are involved. No matter where you choose to live or work, you expect to be made aware when an emergency happens in your community or within your organization. Although your community, your place of play, or work may have an emergency plan, actualizing that plan is something totally different.
Safety is something that each of us thinks about often throughout the day: when we wake up in the morning and get our kids ready for school, when we’re stuck in traffic on the way to work, and when we’re at work. June is identified as National Safety Month and is a reminder for all of us to reflect and focus on reducing injuries and deaths at work, our communities, and our own homes. Although a specific month has been dedicated to emergency preparedness, it is something we should focus on and celebrate all year.