Active Shooter Readiness: How to Prepare for the Unimaginable

Carmen Sanchez | Apr 1, 2021 | minute read

Imagine going to work as you normally do, sitting down at your desk, drinking your coffee, tackling some of the paperwork that you’ve got stacked up. You joke intermittently with your coworkers and make lunch plans. And just as your quiet morning was getting started, your world is shattered. 

When it happens, it happens fast. The average active shooter incident lasts for a matter of minutes. In almost half of all cases, the shooter has accomplished what he set out to do even before the police arrive.

Active shooters can storm a business and or injure countless employees in a matter of minutes. Just last year, a woman opened fire at YouTube headquarters in Northern California, sending three people to the hospital before ending her own life. 

Stories like this are becoming all too common in the nightly news, and active shooters in businesses are no longer an uncommon occurrence. In 2018, 60% of active shooter incidents occurred in businesses.

The uplift in workplace shootings makes it all the more important that your business has an active shooter preparedness plan in place. And if it does, you’ll be thankful that you made sure your company has insurance in place to cover the damages. 

How to Prepare for an Active Shooter Event

With active shooter events on the rise, the steps you take now could help limit the number of casualties or injuries your business may experience. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a comprehensive guide about how to prepare for such an event. DHS recommends the following

  • Create an Emergency Action Plan: An Emergency Action Plan, or EAP, should be created with input from your business’s key stakeholders, including human resources, facility owners/operators, property manager, and local law enforcement. Your plan should include an evacuation policy and procedure; emergency escape procedures; and an emergency notification system to alert people within your company’s facilities, local law enforcement, and local area hospitals. 

  • Conduct Training Exercises: Train your employees on what to do in the event of an active shooter by conducting mock active shooter training exercises. During these exercises, you can make sure that employees can recognize the sound of gunshots, know where to call 911, know the evacuation route, and understand how to act against the shooter as a last resort. 

  • Prepare Your Facility: You should make sure that your business has at least two evacuation routes, both of which should be clearly marked with signs. You can also go one step further and have local law enforcement and emergency responders train for an active shooting scenario at your business’s location. 
  • Prevent an Active Shooter: Many active shooters are disgruntled former or current employees. Accordingly, DHS recommends to prevent active shooters by creating a respectful workplace, and being aware of any indications of workplace violence. With a confidential reporting system, employees could also make management or others aware of a potential problem. 

Active Shooter Insurance Coverage

The damages caused by an active shooter can be devastating. Unfortunately, your existing insurance coverage may not be enough to cover those damages. General Liability policies, many of which were written before active shooters became such a pertinent issue, may even  explicitly exclude gun violence from the policy.  

With Active Shooter Insurance, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ll be covered. Your active shooter insurance can step in to help with all of the following in the event disaster strikes: 

  • Coverage for Business Interruption: When a shooter attacks, your business will almost certainly need to stop operations for a period of time. Active Shooter policies can provide coverage for liability and business interruption, with many providing coverage for up to $25 million per event.

  • Investigation: When there’s an active shooter, your business could be at risk from third-party lawsuits. To properly address this exposure, your Active Shooter Insurance policy will provide you with an Event Responder to conduct an independent investigation into the event, on your behalf. 

  • Crisis Response Management: An attack shooter event will likely cause some media relations issues for your company. Through your insurance policy, you could be covered for post-event Public Relations, including a Public Relations firm to manage your business’s response.

  • Temporary Security Measures: If necessary, your Active Shooter Insurance can arrange for and cover armed or unarmed security.

  • Victim Counseling: With an active shooter event, you and your employees will experience something that no one should have to. With coverage, you can have provides access to counseling for victims of the Active Shooter Event.  

  • Funeral expenses: Like counseling, you may ultimately need to be able to provide funeral expenses for the victims of an active shooter attack. 

Leap | Carpenter | Kemps Insurance Agency Can Guide Your Company

Leap | Carpenter | Kemps Insurance Agency understands that tragedy can strike in unexpected ways. As an agency, we’re here to protect your business and employees if anything--even something as unspeakable as an active shooter event--happens at your company. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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About The Author

Carmen Sanchez is a Commercial Insurance & Risk Advisor who offers her clients the highest level of service.

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