Fortunately for most people, workplace shootings are something they’ll never have to deal with. However, for some, it’s a very real situation that can be hard to recover from. While you may not be able prevent a shooting in your place of employment, you can take measures to keep yourself safe should you find yourself in that scary situation. Additionally, you should also know how to approach a law firm in the event of injury or trauma. Knowing how to protect yourself and the people around you can go a long way toward resolving an active shooter event in a safe manner for all involved. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Watch for the Signs
In some cases, a shooting situation may occur without much in the way of a warning. However, in many instances, you will hear or see some signs that will clue you in to what’s going on. Anytime a current or former employee is acting extremely strange, it’s a good idea to stay alert going forward. Other indications of the possibility of a workplace shooting include angry outbursts on the job, increased or new drug and alcohol abuse, someone who appears depressed or withdrawn, mood swings, unstable behavior, problems at home or conversations about guns or violence. If you notice any of this happening, notify the proper authorities and stay on your guard.
Steps to Take During a Shooting
If you see or hear shots fired at work, you need to call 911 immediately so that help can come as soon as possible. If a shooting occurs where you work, there are some steps you can follow to ensure your own safety. The first thing you should do is to run. This might sound dramatic, but this is your best way to prevent an injury or worse during a shooting. Make yourself familiar with the closest exits and routes to safety so you know where you’re going if you need to. Don’t worry about taking anything with you – those few extra seconds could mean the difference between life and death. Your next step is to hide. If you cannot get out of the building, find a secure place to wait things out. If you can, block the entrance to your hiding place with furniture or other items to keep anyone from getting in. Finally, if you have to, your last step is to fight. This should only be used as a last resort and should involve anything you can do to disarm the shooter. You will probably find that your survival instincts should kick in if this happens but use caution to prevent an injury or death.
How to Find and Safely Leave an Escape Route
If you are able to escape, chances are that law enforcement has been notified and they may already be on site. For that reason, one of the most important things you can do when exiting the building during a shooting is to keep your hands in the air. This tells the police that you are not the shooter and are escaping. Stay calm and listen to the officers as they give you directions regarding where to go and what to do until the situation is resolved. Once you have reached a safe distance away from your workplace, the police will ask you questions about the shooter or shooters, what you heard and what you saw and any other information that can help end the situation. You should never try to go back into your workplace, unless given permission to do so by law enforcement.
Put a Prevention Plan into Place
Workplace shootings are very rare, but having a plan in place to prevent or diffuse a shooting in the case that it does happen goes a long way toward keeping everyone safe and ensuring that it ends well. Your plan should be written so you and other employees can read through it often, so you don’t forget your duties and steps to safety if they are needed. This should include who people can go to if they feel there might a risk. Your plan should also include practice and it should be carried out on a regular basis so that everyone knows what to do if a shooter is ever in the building. You should also have resources in case anyone is injured during the event so everyone is protected and covered.
Shootings are always a scary thing to think about, and while they are rare to happen at a workplace and you will probably never have to deal with one, it’s best to be prepared. Preparation is the key to being safe and surviving the situation. If you do experience a workplace shooting, be sure to get counseling after the event so that you can get through it in a healthy way. Your doctor or insurance provider can give you a referral for a therapist if you need one.