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5 tips for active shooter preparedness

An active shooter is someone who is randomly killing or trying to kill people in a confined and populated area, such as a workplace. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and can evolve quickly. Our tips can help you prepare and keep employees safe from harm.


1  Plan ahead

Create an emergency action plan (EAP) to follow in an active shooter incident at your workplace. The plan will help organize your employees’ actions and help avoid confusion and casualties. EAPs include emergency evacuation procedures, and are required by certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, including 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.38(a).

2  Train thoroughly

At least once a year, train employees in your workplace’s security hazards, violence prevention policy, procedures for reporting threats or violent incidents, and methods for recognizing and calming a potentially violent person or hostile situation. When employees practice the plan, they are more likely to remember what to do in a crisis.

3  Run

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends a “Run, Hide, Fight” plan for an active shooter situation. First, if you have a safe path, evacuate – whether others agree to follow or not. Know your escape route ahead of time (refer to your EAP), leave belongings behind, and help others if possible (but do not move injured people).

4  Hide

If you can’t evacuate, hide out of view, such as behind cabinets or desks – but not where you can’t move or could get trapped. Lock and blockade doors with heavy furniture if you can, and silence cell phones and other sources of noise. If you can’t hide or run, call 9-1-1 to give the shooter’s location and other details (or leave the line open if you can’t speak).

5  Fight

As a last resort – act as if your life is in imminent danger – attempt to incapacitate the shooter, act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter.

When police arrive, raise your hands and keep them visible. Try to remain calm and wait for officers’ instructions.


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Last updated: 4/5/2018