For many of us growing up before the turn of the century, we had to practiced cyclone drills, fire drills and other emergency drills in school. An active shooter didn’t seem to be a possibility. The goal was to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Most of us never had to face an actual tragedy. But we knew what to do in case we were faced with a fire, cyclones, storms, earthquake, or other type of natural disaster. In the face of a changing climate, schools and businesses must take their drills a step further and include an active shooter emergency plan.
Planning for the worst but hoping for the best and the active shooter emergency plan.
Many businesses have enacted these plans in an effort to keep their customers and employees as safe as possible. In the wake of the Port Arthur (Tasmania) & (USA) Columbine High School shooting that took place on April 20, 1999. Many schools changed their security procedures and protocols and some began enacting their own active shooter emergency plans. These plans are generally not made public, for obvious reasons.
However, they often include locking down the building. Then moving teachers and students toward classrooms, bathrooms, or closets with locking doors and no windows. The ultimate goal is to be quiet and still and hope for the best.
Learning from the United States of America
Colorado (USA) has seen many active shooter tragedies over the years, with one of the worst in recent history being the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20, 2012. This devastating mass shooting shifted the protocol for active shooter emergency plans for businesses.
While this tragedy was devastating to the community, it was an eye opener for many other businesses to consider enacting their own protocols for keeping mass casualties to a minimum and instituting their own plans and emergency procedures for dealing with an active shooter.
While it is true that most mass shootings have occurred in the United States and can be attributed to the nation’s gun culture, other parts of the world are not immune to the potential for an active shooter situation. Australia has experienced an increase in gun crime incidents over the few years.
Active Shooter emergency plans a little closer to home
Thus, the evolution of an active shooter plan for businesses has helped to contain and possibly eliminate many potential catastrophic incidents. Currently, in both Australia and the United States. Police, Special Weapons and Tactical response groups handle a majority of active shooter incidents. Taking a lot of the responsibility for these catastrophes out of the hands of normal police.
In doing so, the police special response teams are able to more specifically practice the skills. Which are necessary to neutralize an active shooter and mitigate the threat quickly and efficiently.
The goal is to keep everyone safe from an active shooter
In most instances, the basic active shooter plan for businesses is to remove customers and employees from the premises quickly and calmly. Don’t engage with the shooter, and don’t try to be a hero.
If exiting the premises is not possible, moving out of sight to a location without windows. Hopefully a locked door will keep people out of harm’s way while police special response teams work on containment and negotiation.
Australia has already taken major steps toward changing their gun legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings. In the meantime, a general active shooter plan should be in place for businesses.
Practicing the plan with employees will help make sure that if the worst happens. Everybody will know what to do and how to do it in order to keep everybody present as safe as possible.
Most importantly, keeping the active shooter plan under wraps and only disclosing it to employees who will help enact procedures is key in making sure a potential shooter is unable to thwart the plan by knowing where to go to wreak the most havoc.
In conclusion, Australia has quite effective gun laws. Even so, with the increase in gun violence it is essential that we plan for potential emergencies.