Security In An Active Shooter Environment
May 17th, 2019
The raw statistics don’t lie. According to the FBI, the United States saw one active shooter incident in the year 2000 but 30 incidents in the year 2017. Related fatalities are going up, too, from 231 in the years 2014 and 2015 to 943 in the years 2016 and 2017. Numbers like these are why gun control has become such a hot-button issue in recent years.
At least for now, businesses and other organizations in Houston, TX that see a lot of traffic need to assume that these numbers won’t go down and that their location might end up front and center during an active shooter incident. Just like any other emergency, that means having a plan in place for when it happens and setting up a security system that can send up an alarm and begin the response as soon as possible. Lives are very much on the line when someone brings a gun or explosive into a crowded area with the intent to use it, so every second counts.
The first stage of an active shooter security system is close surveillance. This means having security guards in strategic locations and surveillance cameras in even more, not to mention a person watching the camera feeds who knows what kind of suspicious behaviors to look for. Depending on your business and venue, you may also want to set up security checkpoints where guards can stop people from entering with bags, check the bags that come in, or even frisk visitors. Still, make sure your security measures are reasonable for your Houston, TX location.
When an active shooting incident begins, it’s hard to miss. However, security might not be close enough to identify the shots or be unable to activate the alarm and warn the whole building or campus. It can help to set up alarm panels throughout the building and install gunfire detectors. These sensors listen for the sounds produced by a range of firearms and can set off the alarm automatically. Many locations (particularly colleges) also set up a mass text alert for all their students and faculty.
Once an active shooter incident begins, it’s essential to put a well-practiced plan into action to deal with the situation. Usually this means evacuating people from the area while containing the shooter and limiting their access to targets. To do that, you need to know where people are, find a way to communicate with them, and get them out of danger before locking down the area. You also need to contact the police immediately and stay in touch with them as the situation develops.
Active shooter incidents are shocking, deadly, and often unpredictable. While it’s statistically unlikely to happen to your Houston, TX business or location even today, it’s enough of a danger that you should have a plan ready to deal with an attack and measures that can help prevent these incidents from happening. After all, the best active shooter incident is one that never happens in the first place.