Transportation industry employees frequently encounter life-threatening situations where they have only seconds to respond. Such attacks can happen at random and unfold in fast, unpredictable ways. They usually involve randomly-selected targets and can last less than 15 minutes, sometimes ending before law enforcement arrives. The chance of violence is typically greater for jobs that involve contact with the public, working late at night or in the early morning, exchanging money, delivering goods or services, high-stress jobs, high-crime areas and working alone or in small numbers.
Companies should prepare their employees to deal with an active shooter situation in the workplace.
Improve your securityThe security of all worksites should be evaluated, with a security plan adopted for each location and updated regularly. These steps can help reduce the chance of an active shooter:
- Limit public access with security doors and require security badges. Instruct employees to deny access to anyone without the proper identification.
- Use closed-circuit cameras or security guards.
- Increase visibility with lighted entrances and exits.
- Protect workers from the public by using windows, partitions or high and wide counters.
- Alter cash-handling policies or install drop safes.
- Arrange furniture to allow employees an easy exit in case of emergency.
Create an emergency action plan to respond to an active shooter situation.
- Gather the contact names and phone numbers of emergency responders, hospital, management and billing personnel.
- Discuss how to alert employees about an incident, such as a code word over the public address system, an all-call phone alert or text message.
- Obtain supplies such as first-aid kits, flashlights and communication devices.
Teach the warning signs
Train your employees to recognize the early signs of potential violence and to report them to a supervisor or the human resources department. These signs include: a history of violent behavior, an obsession with weapons, verbal threats, paranoid behavior, holding a grudge, bizarre comments or expressing extreme desperation over recent family, financial or personal problems.
In the event of an active shooter situation, employees should:
- Be aware of two exits and escape routes, and guide others to the exit, preventing them from entering the shooting zone.
- Leave all personal items behind; but bring your cell phone if possible.
- Keep your hands visible and follow police instructions.
- Don’t shout, grab, point or make distracting noises when the police arrive.
- Make sure your hands are empty when dealing with the police, as a cell phone or any other item could be misconstrued as a weapon.
If escape is not possible, find a room with a door that can be locked or barricaded. Stay out of sight from windows, close the blinds and turn off the lights, if possible. Silence your cell phone, any other electronic devices and remain quiet. Call 9-1-1 if it is safe to do so and keep the phone line open. If possible, describe the location of the shooting, a physical description of the shooter and the type of weapons. Don’t just assume the authorities have already been notified.
A last resort
If your life is in danger and escape is not possible, employees may need to act against the shooter. In these situations, law enforcement officials advise people to commit to their actions and to not hesitate or stop, attacking the shooter as aggressively as possible.
The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which, to the best of the writer’s knowledge, are authentic and reliable. Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. makes no guarantee of results and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein, or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.