Recent mass shootings like those in Uvalde, Tex. and Buffalo, NY make the reality of active shooter events seemingly more pronounced than ever before. In 2022, there were a recorded 647 mass shootings in the U.S., taking the lives of 44,000 people according to The Gun Violence Archive. Though it may be difficult to think about such a scenario, employees must be prepared to protect themselves for their own safety, the safety of those around them and the entire organization.
Nonprofit leaders, just like business owners, have a moral obligation to protect their employees which includes giving them the tools they need to keep themselves safe. While the ultimate goal is to prevent an active shooter event altogether, employees need to know how to respond in the event of one. Failing to do so could be deadly, or at minimum lead to chaos that puts the lives of everyone involved in danger.
Creating a plan
It’s important to remember that no two active shooter preparedness plans will be the same. Each building and the people inside of them will require evacuation or shelter-in-place protocols, communication strategies, intervention protocols and more that are unique to their organization, their property and the team involved. It is critical that decision-makers take the time to create a cohesive plan that addresses any possible threats facing their organization.
Nonprofit leaders should begin with conducting a self-assessment of threats to determine the probability of an active shooter incident and identify any related vulnerabilities. An insurance professional who specializes in coverage for nonprofits can assist with the threat assessment to ensure it addresses all necessary risks. A threat assessment will provide nonprofit leaders with a clearer understanding of their own unique risks regarding active shooter scenarios. From there, decision-makers can establish preventative security protocols and emergency action plans including pre and post evacuation procedures.
Once a cohesive plan has been created, employees need to be trained on protocols as well as what their roles are in both preventing and responding to an active shooter event. Some points may include how to recognize the signs of potential workplace violence vs acts of violence that leave no warning and how to exit calmly and swiftly while directing others. Employees should also be required to participate in drills to ensure they understand what is expected of them. Training should occur at time of hire, annually or when changes are made to protocols or procedures.
Active Shooter Insurance
As the industry has seen more claims related to active shooter events, the process has become costlier and is often compounded by lawsuits related to the property owner failing to properly secure the premises. The crux of it all is that active shooter insurance is necessary, but increasingly complicated and difficult coverage to secure. By implementing active shooter protocols and procedures that demonstrate risk mitigation steps have been taken and by calling in the assistance of an experienced insurance specialist for a risk assessment and coverage review, business owners can be confident that they are adequately protected.
As active shooter events seemingly continue to rise, business owners have a moral obligation to prioritize the safety of their employees and organizations. For more resources on active shooter preparedness visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website and consider discussing or reevaluating your business’ active shooter preparedness insurance coverage with an insurance specialist, who understands the intricacies of this coverage, as well as the unique needs of your business, today.