Mass shootings have received a lot of attention in the media due to the social impact they have on society. Violence is all around us, and numerous methods of capturing data are continually being compiled to illustrate how safe or unsafe an environment can be. Homicide numbers and averages are considered key indicators in the severity of the violence in a city, school, home or workplace. The unfortunate reality is that when a mass shooting takes place, any fatalities that occur often happen to people in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are not prepared with what to expect, or know what to do should such an occurrence take place. Preparations for hostile acts, recognizing behaviors, or what to do when observing verbal or physical aggressive acts need to be enacted in order to mitigate or eliminate the possible loss to human life. The recognition of problem behaviors or telltale aggressive acts helps address situations that may be precursor indicators of a more severe problem. Many psychologists and human resource specialists train on identifying and diffusing these escalating behaviors. When an actual hostile confrontation occurs, many people are not prepared, or actually deny that the intensification to a shooting may take place. What will you do if there is an active shooter in your facility?
Is there a need to prepare the workplace for a hostile intruder event, or prepare for proactive responses? A growing trend is developing in our country where workplace violence has been moving from individual to individual attacks, to large-scale massacres where the suspect attempts to "take out" as many people possible before killing themselves. Each workplace has a legal and moral responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect their workers. Preparing for a hostile event is no different than the way safety professionals analyze and do risk assessments for other potential hazards in the workplace. Many employees and worksites are totally unprepared for these types of workplace violence events, and damage to human life and property could be minimal if the proper preparations and planning steps are taken.