by Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM
We have all heard the term “Active Shooter” but do you know what to do next if an incident arises? Should an incident occur, fortifying yourself and your attendees while awaiting help is essential. Remember that it is not your job to confront the Suspect or to try to ‘solve’ the problem. We are planners, not heroes. Simply follow these key safety steps until Law Enforcement arrives and takes over. When they do, get out of their way.
Attendees should be directed to keep their hands visible for any first responders. Staff and attendees need to know that Law Enforcement will not be stopping for them or for wounded people. Law Enforcement’s first job is to stop the threat. A rescue team will be assembled and will assist the wounded next.
SECOND PRIORITY: Lock those who are unable to leave the building in a secure area, away from the Suspect. If possible, lock the door(s), barricade them with anything possible, remain quiet, and wait for assistance from Law Enforcement.
THIRD PRIORITY: Be prepared to fight for your life. If escape and shelter are not possible or the Suspect is able to penetrate your barricade and you are confronted by the Suspect, you may need to fight for your life. Think fast and use anything available to you as a shield or weapon.
Remember, it is going to take several minutes for Law Enforcement to respond. What you may not know is that Active Shooter/Killer incidents are usually over before Law Enforcement’s arrival, so your ability to remember these steps and react as calmly as possible will be critical.
With this information in mind, have you addressed your event Emergency Action Plan (EAP)? Read Setting Sights on EAP’s in our Fall 2016 publication.
While these guidelines are beneficial, contact your local Law Enforcement for their best practices or active shooter training opportunities.
Special thanks to Officer Brian Berrigan and Sgt. William Vine for their assistance with this article.
When Christy joined the meetings industry 25 years ago, event planning was more of a concept than a recognized profession. In the ensuing two and a half decades, she proudly participated in its evolution. Christy has earned multiple certifications, writes thought-provoking articles and teaches strategic planning at the University level. Christy’s latest mission is to bring the industry and the talented professionals who share her passion for strategic planning the respect they deserve.