National Preparedness Month — Workplace Violence: Active Shooter
September is National Preparedness Month. The goal is to raise awareness about the importance of preparing for disasters and emergencies that could happen unexpectedly. Everyone is encouraged to take steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools and communities. This includes food safety, too. This week, we are covering workplace violence, including active shooter. Read more about National Preparedness Month on the ready.gov site.
Numerous active shooter incidents have occurred around the country in recent months. These tragedies highlight the importance of knowing the steps we can take to keep ourselves and others safe from these violent crimes.
- Develop a plan for how you would respond if you found yourself the middle of one of these incidents.
- Familiarize yourself with the warning signs of individuals who are potentially planning one of these attacks.
- Make sure you are aware of the resources (internal and external) you can contact to report concerning behavior or incidents.
- Identify multiple exits as well as covered concealment/hiding places in your office as well as any buildings you visit.
Surviving During an Incident
Run. Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority if you are able to. Leave your personal belongs behind (except for your cell phone, if it is near) and run away. Warn others nearby if safe to do so. Call 911 when you are safe and provide a description of the shooter(s), location, and weapon(s).
Hide. Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet. Silence your electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate. Lock and barricade doors, close blinds, and turn off the lights. Do not hide in groups — spread out along walls or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter. Stay in place until law enforcement gives you notice that all immediate danger is clear.
Fight. Your last resort when you are in immediate danger is to defend yourself. Commit to your actions and act aggressively to stop the shooter. Ambushing the shooter together with makeshift weapons such as chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, and books can distract and disarm the shooter. Another distraction can be throwing objects. Use the diversion to try to escape.
Be Safe After
- Keep hands visible and empty.
- Know that law enforcement’s first task is to end the incident. They may have to pass injured persons along the way.
- Follow law enforcement’s instructions and evacuate in the direction they tell you to.
- Consider seeking professional help for you and your family to cope with the long-term effects of trauma.
Learn More About How to Plan for an Active Shooter Incident
Read Active Shooter Protective Actions information and take Active Shooter Prevention: You Can Make a Difference Training, both from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Other Workplace Violence Issues
To report concerning behavior such as bullying, harassment, intimidation or other low-level workplace violence concerns, please contact the FSIS Anti-Harassment/Workplace Violence Prevention & Response Program at 1-877-987-3747.