Protect Your Property and Your Tenants for an Active Shooter: How to Prepare for the Worst

By Dino Iuliano, chief revenue officer, Planned Companies

First and foremost—let’s define what an “active shooter” is. According to the Department of Homeland Security, “an active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.”

Unfortunately, active shooter preparedness is becoming an essential part of property emergency response. Tenants, employees and visitors should understand how to effectively handle this sort of crisis with these incidents becoming more and more common in the United States—it is crucial to prepare businesses, residential buildings, schools and other public organizations. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 250 active shootings that occurred in the United States between 2000-2017, with 29 of those events taking place solely in 2017.

In light of these recent tragedies, it’s imperative to take the necessary actions to ensure staff and clientele are prepared. When it comes to securing a building, you must be proactive rather than reactive.

Though we cannot predict where an active shooter will strike next, we can look at recent events and statistics for indications. Active shooter events most commonly occur in businesses (45%), schools (25%) and government facilities (10%). Security is something that needs to be taught and practiced, and is everyone’s responsibility. Understanding what to do and how to do it may not only save your life but those around you.

So how do you improve your building security to protect yourself, your business, your employees, and your clients? Securing your property must be proactive rather than reactive.

Be prepared for an active shooter

The reality is that these situations are frightening and are occurring more frequently throughout the United States.

It is imperative to have a plan for these scenarios and to think about the multitude of different outcomes one active shooter occurrence could produce. In this sort of situation, you and your tenants have three options: run, hide or fight.

Identify potential threats

Make sure you have a system where tenants can report inappropriate behavior and apparent threats. Reporting can be made anonymous. Ensure you sign up to local emergency alerts to be informed of any danger in your nearby community. Also, monitor and regulate visitor access and be able to identify all those who enter the property and the reason for their visit.

Inform and educate

Developing a plan is only part of the procedure. Once in play, you must communicate that plan and make sure everyone in your building knows his or her role. This includes having drills, as well as training sessions for how to handle various worst-case scenarios.

Establish a relationship with law enforcement

Dangerous situations escalate fast, which is why it’s important to work with police ahead of time as you develop your plan for emergency preparedness. Reach out to local law enforcement and discuss how you can work together to improve the security of your property.

Consult with a security provider

At the end of the day, those that live, work or visit your building are the number one priority. Rely on the experts. Seek out security expert professionals to help you understand how you can best mitigate risks and amplify the safety of your property. The right provider will assess the security of your building, identify steps you can take to make your property and its occupants safer, and plan for different circumstances.

For that reason, Planned Companies has been participating and hosting a series of educational seminars to inform its network of the necessary actions to consider in an active shooter situation. Through the class, attendees acquire the knowledge of: the characteristics of active shooter situations, what the appropriate actions are during an active shooter incident and how to effectively interact with law enforcement.

Remember, security is everyone’s responsibility and it is something that has to be taught and practiced.

For more information, visit dhs. gov/active-shooter-preparedness.

Dino Iuliano

Chief Revenue Officer

Planned Companies