Developing an active shooter plan

An active shooter event can happen without notice and can be over in the course of minutes. The typical event only lasts 10-15 minutes, which doesn’t leave much opportunity for mitigation or planning a response. These events can span all types of industries and often have little motivation apart from inciting fear. Developing a plan for an active shooter event may be the best investment of time your organization will ever spend.

Active shooting incidents are increasing at a shocking rate. In 2015 alone, 367 fatalities and 1317 injuries were attributed to mass shooting events. These events have occurred across a wide variety of industry sectors, often with indiscriminate motivation to incite public fear while inflicting maximum loss of life.

Insurance coverage

Utilizing a hybrid consultative and risk transfer approach, companies can benefit from an array of tailored coverages and services that can be consolidated into a comprehensive defense against these unpredictable and heinous acts.

To address the potential coverage gaps in traditional liability and property policies, insurers have developed a customized portfolio of products to comprehensively address losses caused by active shooters. These comprehensive programs bundle crucial pre-event consulting and risk assessment services as well as post event crisis management and counseling tools. A specifically designed program has property, business interruption and liability coverage that will definitively respond to an active shooter event and is an integral part of the plan.

A proactive approach

Businesses should engage in active prevention and response activities to ensure minimum injuries and loss of life. Developing a preventive strategy can be the most important step toward mitigation or, better yet, avoidance. This important process could include pre-event planning such as:

  • Risk assessments
  • Active shooter on-site seminars
  • Employee training with ongoing education planning
  • Active shooter response plan
  • Live annual drills with real execution of response plan

This could be the best and only opportunity to mitigate damage or loss of life. A consultative risk assessment can identify security shortfalls that may be critical to address. Holding on-site seminars as well as inform and educate as well as promote a proactive culture. An ongoing employee education campaign can communicate the active shooter response plan and ensure that people are prepared and know what to do in the event of an active shooter.

An effective response

In the event that a tragedy occurs, a proper response can make a world of difference in the lives of those affected. A prepared business or public entity may have the following on stand-by:

  • Counseling services for victims and families
  • Crisis management plan
  • Emergency communication plan
  • Strategy for business continuity

Preparing a pre-event and post-event strategy can put the organization in a better position to protect its employees and customers. When coupled with a risk transfer strategy designed to fill in coverage gaps left by traditional liability and property policies, the organization can build its wall of defense against the unthinkable.



BrianMurphy_249Guest blogger Brian Murphy is a member of Willis Towers Watson’s Risk Management Analyst Program, attached to the Terrorism Practice in Radnor, PA. He graduated with cum laude distinction from Temple University’s Risk Management and Insurance Program.

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