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How Alerting Systems Can Help Protect Employees During Active Shootings

Anton Vdovin - Sep 21, 2017 12:57:39 PM

One unfortunate threat in today’s world are active shootings. While an alert notification system can certainly help protect employees during fires and natural disasters such as typhoons and hurricanes, how can the said system protect your staff members from the threat of a human being?

An active shooter incident can last only about 12 minutes on average. When you think about it, 12 minutes is very little time to react to an occurrence, assess the situation, notify authorities, warn employees, implement an emergency evacuation plan, and monitor developments after the said situation.

While these events are unpredictable and may be unpreventable, make sure that your workplace is as equipped and as prepared for active shooter events as it is with natural disasters and incidents such as earthquakes, medical emergencies and extreme weather. You can certainly utilize your alert notification system for deadly situations such as this.

Be Prepared

When lives are on the line, an alert notification system and effective emergency broadcast can mean life or death. While emergencies in the workplace such as accidents and fires are thought about and are seen as potential occurrences, staff members continue to be unprepared should an armed intruder enter the building. The prospect of this happening continues to be unnerving, and many would still prefer to push the thought out of their minds rather than come up with a plan should the even occur.

Remember that time is crucial during these events. Time cannot be wasted on confusion and panic. When active shooting events occur, companies should not hesitate to warn their employees. They should utilize their alert notification system right away so as to protect their employees inside the office, and to prevent other staff members from going back inside the building if they are outside. There should be a message already prepared before the event occurs so that delivery is instant, and people can be given immediate instructions regarding what they should do. This should be part of a company’s standard operating procedures. Prepare messages in advance, train your employees how to act and run practice drills.

The Basic Message for All Threats

The basic message for all threats – whether it be a natural calamity, medical emergency or active shooting – should be the same. Employees should always know these three things: a clear comprehension of the threat, what they need to do to protect themselves, and who they need to contact for help.

A standard template can be used for active shooting threats. What management or the communication department can do is to draw on existing templates and fil in specifics should more information be available. Make sure that alerts are short and easy to understand. One strategy you can use is 27-9-3, that is 27 words in total, 9 seconds long and 3 sets of instructions. Also, opt for plain English rather than code as people may forget codes especially when they are panicking or nervous.

Practice Drills

Once you’ve ironed out the alert messages you want to send out, make sure to schedule drills so that your employees become familiar with the messages. This assures you that they are aware of these messages and are able to be more prepared should active shooting incidents occur in the workplace.

Remember that active shooter situations are much more tense and complicated than drills, and instructions during these events may change depending on what is going on then. While some employees may be told to evacuate the office because of where they are located, some may be told to go into lockdown mode. Make your employees aware of this and train them so that instructions and its variations become more engrained in them.

Topics: Corporate Communication

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