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Active Shooter Alert

active shooter alert mass notification featured image

November 23, 2021 Posted by in Crisis Communications, Mass Notification

The severity of COVID-19 has overshadowed another life-threatening dilemma: the active shooter trend. However, we should never think that the potential danger of an active shooter incident is behind us. Your active shooter alert strategy should remain front and center, and you should have an emergency preparedness plan and emergency communication system in place.

Keep in mind that 2021 has not been a good year when it comes to mass shootings. The Washington Post reports that mass shooting incidents in the country is 20 percent higher than in 2020, which itself was 30 percent higher than the previous high. Clearly it is imperative we plan for safety and communication as this incidents increase.

In fact, no matter what the emergency (fire, weather, for instance), being able to communicate effectively is everything. When the communication breaks down or cannot get through, tragedy, confusion and chaos can ensue.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when planning your active shooter alert strategy:

Be sure to have a top-quality emergency mass notification system in place.

A dependable communication tool like RedFlag’s mass notification system should be the heart of your organization’s emergency preparedness plan. It’s your way to quickly and effectively alert employees, staff and tenants about any emergency or imminent danger, including an active shooter situation. You can warn your people to stay away or make them aware of a nearby place to take refuge — in real time.

Now more than ever: why a mass notification system can make all the difference in your active shooter alert.

Work-life is no longer 9-5 or 100% office-based. Your staff could be working different shifts, hours, and in different locations. Your mass notification system can notify — instantly — those who are in or near trouble. You can also warn those about to approach (or who may be on the road or at lunch) to stay away.

Additional benefits of utilizing an active shooter alert: 

  • Define danger zones
  • Streamline your procedures
  • Give accurate information to first responders and law enforcement
  • Manage the situation in real time by asking for acknowledgment or replies directly from the alert system
  • Initiate a lockdown
  • Fight back by reducing or eliminating unpredictability, threat and risk
  • Minimize confusion and panic

Your messages show that you are on the case and taking charge. They convey a sense of authority in the midst of chaos.

A multi-channel mass notification system like RedFlag gives you the opportunity to alert your people quietly. This could make all the difference in an active shooter situation. In addition, more avenues of quick communication are necessary. If someone has paused app notifications on their phones, they need another mechanism to disrupt them.

Information that should shape your strategy: 

  • There is little information on the definition of a mass shooting, complicating the efforts of nonprofits and news organizations to document the scope of the problem. — The New York Times 
  • It is important to make the distinction between a shooting incident and an active shooter. An active shooter is a term used by law enforcement to describe a situation where a shooting is in progress, and this particular crime requires a set of protocol when responding to the incident. According to the US Department of Homeland Security, an active shooter is “someone who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” — National Institute of Health 
  • How the FBI defines an active shooter: an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area, and recent active shooter incidents have underscored the need for a coordinated response by law enforcement and others to save lives. The FBI is committed to working with its partners to protect schools, workplaces, houses of worship, transportation centers, other public gathering sites, and communities.
  • City police departments are also reporting an increase in gun violence during the pandemic. In Chicago, shooting incidents are up 64% so far this year compared with the same period two years ago. — CNN 
  • Guns used in about 68% of gun-related incidents at schools were taken from the home, a friend or a relative. — Sandy Hook Promise 

Bottom line: 

In the event of an active shooter being present on your premises, be sure you are able to directly communicate with your staff and tenants in order to respond most effectively to this threat. You may not be able to fully prevent the incident, but you can help to affect the outcome.

The Department of Homeland Security offers an informational booklet on how to respond to an active shooter. Click here.

Texas State University offers active shooter response training. Click here.

Find out more about how RedFlag can help you save time, money, and — most importantly — lives. Click here.


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