‘Active-shooter’ drills: Good idea?

August 6, 2014

It’s not uncommon for workplaces to hold preparedness drills covering a number of different disaster scenarios, including fires, earthquakes and tornadoes. But what about drills simulating a gunman attack?

Known as “active-shooter” drills, these simulations typically involve representatives from the local police and emergency response departments. They most often occur at schools or universities, but some are taking place at worksites.

Last October, a Colorado assisted-living facility hosted an active-shooter exercise. A consultant group and the police were involved, but at least one employee who was “held hostage” claims she was unaware the event was a drill. She’s now suing for mental and emotional distress.

Lawsuits aside, such drills are probably a good idea. About 10 percent of all workplace fatalities are homicides, and most of those are the result of gun violence.

In a 2011 bulletin, the FBI recommended drills and role-play as part of a workplace’s readiness and response training for workplace violence.

“Practicing responses in advance produces a more fluid and rapid response in the event of a real incident,” the FBI stated in the bulletin.

Do you agree? Does your workplace conduct any active-shooter or other type of workplace violence drills? Let me know in the comments below.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.