Should You Have an Active Shooter Plan for Your Office?

By Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief,

Every job comes with unique stresses, like making presentations or compiling reports. Your safety is the last thing on your mind because you go to work and make it home every day. Still, emergencies can happen, especially with the rise in mass shootings. Should you have an active shooter plan for your office?

These are a few factors you can consider before putting an active shooter plan together. Whether you only work with a few other people or manage a multistory building, it’s always good to prepare for anything to keep your team members safe.

How Often Do Workplace Shootings Occur?

Creating a fire or tornado response plan may seem more relevant than training everyone to respond to an active shooter. These events could be more likely to occur, depending on where you live. Even though workplace shootings don’t happen in your city every day, they’re still something everyone should know how to respond to.

According to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), there have been 279 mass shootings in 2021 so far. That’s nearly two per day. Shootings aren’t an impossible situation, so it’s wise to make a response plan just in case.

What Does an Active Shooter Plan Include?

If fire alarms go off while you’re on the clock, you likely know which exit to use and where to meet everyone outside. An active shooter plan includes similar information. It should explain how everyone can get out of the building and where they should run.

It will also list phone numbers for local emergency responders and a roster of all current employees. The office manager or evacuation marshals will use the log to make sure everyone made it safely outside. If people are missing from the list, police will know who to look for while securing the building.

How Do You Make an Active Shooter Plan?

Drafting an active shooter plan is a significant responsibility. These are the most important topics to include so everyone knows what to do after annual training classes.

Designate Escape Routes

It may feel obvious, but designate every possible escape route from your building. Point out doors and any emergency exits that team members may not typically use. They could also jump out the windows if your office is on the first or second floor and the shooter blocks the doors.

While discussing escape routes, mention the proper way to run. Shooters can kill more people if their potential victims run in a straight line. Instead, everyone should learn to run in a zigzag fashion so it’s harder for the shooter to aim.

Identify Shelter-in-Place Locations

Sometimes people can’t run in an active shooter situation. Part of your plan should identify shelter-in-place locations, like inside closets and under desks. Review these spots annually and if your office undergoes any floor plan renovation projects.

Make your training even more effective by showcasing general shelter locations in a YouTube video. You could create an educational series that covers active shooter response strategies and earn a secondary income from the views. When more people know how to spot a safe place to hide, they’re more likely to survive.

Decide Who Should Fight

It’s almost always better to run or hide than fight an active shooter, but sometimes fighting is a good idea. When the shooter pauses to reload, someone can disarm them while they’re distracted and get the gun out of reach. A few simple martial arts moves could save the day when the shooter isn’t actively using their weapon.

Record Important Phone Numbers

Everyone knows to call 911 if there’s an emergency, but there are a few other numbers that belong in your response plan. Record every employee’s cellphone number alongside each name on your roster. Everyone should also have an emergency contact listed beside them as well. If you can’t find someone, you’ll know how to reach them.

Make an Active Shooter Plan for Your Office

No one wants to imagine being unsafe at work, but gun violence is no longer a rarity. Every business owner and manager should have an active shooter plan for their office. Review it with your team at least once a year so they know where to run, hide and how to fight back. It could save lives if a workplace shooting ever occurs.

Devin Partida is an industrial tech writer and the Editor-in-Chief of, a digital magazine for all things technology, big data, cryptocurrency, and more. To read more from Devin, please check out the site.

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