Resources & Insights

Doing More to Prepare for Active Shooter Incidents

January 15, 2019

One of the most-read stories featured on the pages of “Business Insurance” in the past year centered on the rising concerns among employers over mass shootings.

Employers need to do more to prepare their workplaces and train the right employees to deal with active shooter incidents.
CCIG’s Javier Rivera.

No wonder. According to Harvard researchers, the days separating mass shooting occurrences dropped from an average 200 days between 1983 and 2011 to 64 days since 2011.

“Business Insurance” is written mostly for risk managers and others in the insurance industry, so you might have missed the piece. The upshot?

Not simply that active shooter incidents have become a bigger workplace safety concern, but that employers need to do more to prepare their workplaces and train the right employees to deal with these events.

An FBI official, speaking at the American Society of Safety Professionals annual conference in Texas last year, noted that it’s critical to have the right people undergo training:

“When we do (safety) exercises, we always say the facilities person or the janitor is often the most important person and they should be trained … to get to the front of the building so they can meet law enforcement and fire service when they’re coming in, have those plans, have those keycards and integrate into our command and help us make our way through the building,” said Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio division.

Companies also should have a plan in place to deal with the potential business interruption impact if law enforcement needs to take over their business as a crime scene for an extended period of time.

“If it’s a critical infrastructure or a critical piece of your business, you need to have a plan to move that piece out because it does take time after the event is over to process (the scene) and make sure it’s safe, make sure there’s no explosives. It takes a considerable amount of time, and I think sometimes companies don’t think about that and they get caught in a lurch,” Combs said.

What else? Well, employers and employees, he said, should watch for “dramatic” behavioral changes in their co-workers. For example, an employee who expresses an “abnormal fascination” with previous active shooter events is a red flag, Combs told “Business Insurance.”

Firing such employees, however, is not the answer.

“Don’t think just firing them is the answer because they can still come back,” Combs said. “The answer is not to fire the individual who’s concerning. The answer is to get help to them because if you fire them now, there’s no safety net at all and they are going to come down in two weeks and (be) an active shooter.”

Javier Rivera is CCIG’s Director of Risk Control. Reach him at 720-330-7941 or

CCIG’s Active Shooter Response Guide can help your organization prepare for and respond to an active shooter incident, including how to train employees to recognize behaviors that indicate the potential for violence, as well as response strategies for your organization. Fill out the form here and download yours today.

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