RISK INSIGHT: Active Shooter Room Security Controls

Property & Casualty, Risk

Studies indicate that you have 0-6 seconds to react during an active shooter situation. In that short amount of time, your brain must process what is occurring and determine a plan to respond.

As an employer, relying on your employees to understand best practices and enact them in an instant no matter their location in your facility is daunting. What if an employee is working in a different location than they typically do? What if it’s been a while since they’ve brushed up on your crisis response protocols?

Maintaining an active shooter room security controls action plan in each room/area of your operation can ensure that site-specific lockdown and evacuation controls are in place. M3 has developed a printable action plan that will give employees confidence knowing that they know what to immediately do if an active shooter situation were to occur. Below, we’ve highlighted the questions that this action plan addresses.

Tactical questions for room security controls

How do I implement the internal crisis notification system? How do I call 9-1-1?

Remember, the first 0-6 seconds of a crisis is critical. Consider a phone/computer app system, an overhead paging system, an alarm/flashing strobe light system, air horns, etc.

Where is the crisis plan located?

You will have a crisis plan that addresses a variety of crises. The room security controls handout should be printed on bright pink paper and kept in the same spot in every room/area for immediate access.

What is my “mental action script”?

This is where the employee(s) of that room/area will list the immediate security actions they will take during a crisis. The first thing to always do is to lock the door. List the exact objects that will be used to barricade the door. Identify where the fatal funnel is in the room/area and how to evacuate the area if safe to do so (ex: go out door, exit through second door on the right in to the employee parking lot).

How do I secure my door?

The correct answer to is to close the door immediately. Doors should be locked/secured at all times; but, if they are left open, they can still be maintained in the locked position. List any special considerations to locking the door.

What objects will I use to barricade the door?

Identify 1-3 heavy ‘cover’ objects (that will stop bullets) to block the door. Mark them with pink stickers. Make sure they are located near the door or can easily be moved in front of the door. Also consider the use of door stops.

Where is the “fatal funnel” in my room/area?

Where will I place others in the room so they are safe? The ‘fatal funnel’ is the kill zone if someone should shoot through the door. Identify the funnel with pink stickers on the wall. Instruct employees to get very low in the rooms behind cover objects.

How do my windows open?

If they don’t open, how will I break them? Ensure employees know how to open their windows if evacuation is an option. If they don’t open easily, ensure a window breaking tool is in the area – fire extinguisher, hammer, etc.

What “weapons” do I have in the room and where are they located?

Fighting is the last option. What ‘weapons’ are in the room to fight?

Key Takeaways

Employees have limited time to react in an active shooter situation. Employers must provide easy-to-understand, tangible guides in each room/area of your facility in order to provide employees with the confidence they need to react appropriately. Log in to MyM3 to access your copy of M3’s room security controls handout, or reach out to your M3 risk manager with questions related to your active shooter risk management practices.

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