The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Mitigating Risk Against Active Shooters

15 June 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

Active shooters require relatively easy access to their intended targets and unimpeded ability to move around the venue space, writes Chris Annear. Therefore, the responsibility for businesses is to develop a mitigation strategy and protocol aimed at minimising an opportunity for the attacker. This can be achieved through a series of preventative planning and actions.



Given the unpredictability of active shooter incidents, risk management professionals need to understand the threat and risk environment of the location under their remit. Offices and venues should be periodically assessed to identify any security vulnerabilities and those should then be addressed with the commensurate treatment measures.

Contingency plans need to be comprehensive and involve input from multiple internal and external stakeholders. In the event of an active shooter incident, a robust contingency plan should entail integrated and well-coordinated management between emergency responders and internal crisis management professionals.

Active shooter incidents are fast-paced and dynamic, therefore contingency plans need to be flexible and risk management professionals need to avoid those 'boilerplate' solutions. Scenario analysis and exercises should be factored into any contingency plans to identify vulnerabilities, as well as to design a varied approach to crises.

The two main aims of preparation are to train your staff in how best to react and allow responders to have a clear idea of the layout and character of your location(s).



Companies can install physical and electronic access control measures that are monitored 24/7 by trained staff. These measures can be bolstered with alarm and visual recording systems aimed at intrusion detection.

If there is an intrusion, the focus should be on limiting the movement of the attacker.

Crisis management plans should be reviewed, ensuring any building plans and escape routes are made available to emergency services.

Consider staff awareness programmes designed to educate employees, using government education programmes where deemed appropriate.



The focus should be on limiting harm to personnel during an active shooter incident. For those caught up in such a traumatic crisis, the emphasis should be on survival by either evasion and/or avoidance detection from the shooter.

If under fire, people should take immediate cover and then leave the area as safely and swiftly as possible, whether or not others agree to follow. Leave belongings behind and do not gather at any evacuation points. Prevent others from entering areas that are under immediate fire or where the shooter may be.

Advise should be that if escape is not possible, stay in a locked office or room and barricade any possible access points for the shooter. Keep in mind not to limit any escape options for you. Stay as quiet and calm as possible and silence any potential sources of noise, especially mobile phones.

If there is safe opportunity, call the police as soon as possible and inform them of the location of the active shooter, number of shots, physical description of shooter(s), number of potential victims and types of weapons being used by the shooter(s).

If Law enforcement arrive on the scene, remain calm and follow instructions, keeping your hands visible at all times


By Chris Annear, Operations Director, Anvil


Article written by Chris Annear | Published 15 June 2016


Related Articles

Free Training To Help Protect The UK

An award-winning counter terrorism training course is now available to the public for the first time and police want you to sign up and sign up your colleagues to help...

 Read Full Article
London Bridge Attack - Condolence Book Open

A book of condolence has opened at Guildhall Art Gallery on Monday December 2 (a vigil was also held in Guildhall Yard at 11:00am) people to express their sympathies...

 Read Full Article
Murder In the Cathedral - Bomber Caught Planning Attack

Last week (ending Nov 8) saw the official terrorism threat level in the UK lowered to 'Substantial' - meaning an attack is likely. Within days, a woman who...

 Read Full Article
SCaN - See, Check and Notify Training FREE

The See, Check and Notify free security training package empowers staff to help protect your organisation from a range of threats say NaCTSO and the Centre for the...

 Read Full Article
What Is The Terror Threat Level And Why

The threat to the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) from terrorism now stands at 'Substantial'. The threat to Northern Ireland from Northern...

 Read Full Article
Security Boss Guilty Of 22 Counts Of Fraud

​A security boss has been found guilty of defrauding security operatives deployed at Heathrow and Tesco. Meanwhile the SIA has carried out a licence check blitz and two...

 Read Full Article
Security Guard Jailed For Terrorism Plans

A security guard who downloaded manuals on how to make bombs using lightbulbs and tennis balls has been jailed for two years and two months. In a separate case, a man was...

 Read Full Article
Parliament Panic - Parking Ticket Fans Protest Flames

Tuesday October 1 saw a man douse himself in petrol outside Parliament and try to set himself alight in protest at a parking ticket. The Met has said the biggest terror...

 Read Full Article
'IRA' Claim Parcel Bomb Responsibility In Correctly Coded Call

A claim has allegedly been made on behalf of the ‘IRA’ for the parcel bombs that were delivered to premises in the UK - using a recognised codeword. A call...

 Read Full Article
London And Glasgow Parcel Bombs Linked To Ireland

The Met Police Counter Terrorism Command’s investigation into three improvised explosive devices at addresses in London on March 5 is ongoing. The incidents are...

 Read Full Article