Active-Shooter Incidents Prompt Workers to Weigh Survival Tactics

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek August 12, 2019
Active-Shooter Incidents Prompt Workers to Weigh Survival Tactics

​The shootings at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that killed 22 people and wounded 24 others has workers around the country thinking about how they would react during workplace violence.

Some workers and managers say they have plotted their escape in the event an active shooter entered their workplace, pondered best places to hide, purchased makeshift panic buttons and stocked products like inspect spray they could use to disorient a gunman, the Wall Street Journal reported.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles and resources on this topic from trusted news sources.

After El Paso Shooting, Workers Plot Their Own 'What-If' Escape Plans 

Insect spray, homemade panic buttons and walk-in freezers serve as contingency plans in case of workplace attacks.
(Wall Street Journal)   

Active-Shooter Assaults Are Focus of New Workplace Safety Guide 

There were more than 100 fatal workplace shootings last year, so employers need to develop a plan to try to prevent them, says a new report form the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). The same principles used to reduce safety hazards, such as risk assessment and training, can be used to develop plans to deal with active shooters, said Brian Hammer, chairman of the ASSP panel that authored the report.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Understanding Workplace Violence Prevention and Response]   

Active Shooter: How to Respond  

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
(U.S. Department of Homeland Security)  

A Walmart Employee and a Customer Helped 140 People Escape from the El Paso Shooting

When gunshots rang out at an El Paso Walmart, Gilbert Serna yelled for everyone to follow him. He said he led nearly 100 people out the back of the store to safety before returning to the parking lot to help others. The father of two has worked at this Walmart store for almost 19 years. He was standing near the back of the store on Saturday when he heard a "code brown" announced over the two-way radio. It took him a moment to register what that meant—active shooter.

Walmart Says Its Training Helped Save Lives in Prior Incident  

Days before the mass shooting that killed 20 people at a Walmart Inc. store in El Paso, Texas, another shooting erupted at a Walmart in Southaven, Miss. In that case, Walmart's mandatory "active shooter" program may have helped save lives. Employees there acted quickly when a disgruntled colleague allegedly killed two co-workers and injured a police officer. 

What to Do If There's an Active Shooter at Your Workplace 

Most businesses have a security team that runs active shooting drills and alerts employees about unsafe situations. Although there is no set number on how often these drills should take place, they should occur as often as fire drills, says Diego Redondo, former FBI special agent and director of public safety and risk management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. You may want to ask your HR leader if the company has a plan in place. When you receive an alert about an active shooter on company premises, your first thought should be, "I need to get out of here," he said.


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