[Video] How to Survive a Workplace Shooting

Warning: The video is graphic.

With the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn., I’ve thought a lot about how to prepare for such an event. My wife’s school has procedures designed to save lives and protect the children (and she’s had to use them a few times) — but at our office, we haven’t had any meaningful discussions about what to do. I think it is probably a good idea for every business to talk about their plans and procedures in the event that such a tragedy ensues.

Earlier today, I came across this instructional video (above) created by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, where they cover what to do in a mass shooting situation. They recommend three actions: Run, Hide, and Fight.

Their tactics are summarized as follows:

1) Run

  • If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate [I always look for the nearest exit(s); do you?]
  • Evacuate whether others agree to or not [They suggest not letting others hold you up]
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape if possible
  • Prevent others from entering the area
  • Call 911 when you are safe [I’d probably try to call 911 and escape — maybe that’s not a good idea]

2) Hide

  • Lock and/or blockade the door
  • Silence your cell phone [… and turn off the cell phone’s light]
  • Hide behind large objects
  • Remain very quiet

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
  • Not trap or restrict your options for movement

3) Fight

  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter [I think this is probably the scariest]
  • Act with physical aggression
  • Improvise weapons
  • Commit to your actions

When calling 911:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Keep your hands visible at all times
  • Avoid pointing or yelling
  • Know that help for the inured is on its way [They state that the authorities who arrive on the scene first are there to incapacitate the shooter, not tend to victims]

Do you have plans at your workplace for such an event? If so, have you ever had to use them? What about the suggestions above — do you disagree with any?

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About David Rosendahl
Husband, father, co-founder of MindFireInc, two-time Inc500 software company. I love building things.

2 Responses to [Video] How to Survive a Workplace Shooting

  1. Joseph Manos says:

    Dave thanks for sharing…It is a very well done piece. Sad that this is our reality but it is and we never know when and where.

    Yes it is typically random and we have little control over the why and how but we do control the potential outcomes.

    I don’t know about you but I find myself more aware of even my casual surroundings in a manner much different from the past. Not paranoid but aware and thinking through the what if question with possible actions.

    Hopefully it will improve in the future.

    • Hey Joe,

      Absolutely right — my wife and I were talking about the same thing. Shopping in Target, Costco — even church — we’re more aware of our surroundings, which I think is a good thing.

      Was speaking to a friend about this post, and he was asking me what happens if the shooter is from within the business (horrible thought), but if this were the case, then he/she would know the company’s plans and it might make it easier to inflict damage. I hadn’t thought of that.

      -dr-

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