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Active Shooter Safety

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On April 30, 2019 two students at UNC Charlotte were fatally shot and four were injured when a 22-year-old opened fire on campus. Only a week later on May 7, 2019, a shooting occurred at a Colorado school resulting in one death and eight injuries. These tragedies are the most recent examples of the escalating trend of active shooter scenarios taking place across the country. Sunstates Security offers our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies to all those affected by the past week’s events, as well as the victims of all gun-related violence. We take active shooter preparedness very seriously and encourage everyone to have an emergency plan in place. Terry Hairston, CEO of Defend and Protect, Inc. recently presented a training session to Sunstates management staff enforcing the message that “You never know what you prevent, you only know what you don’t”. Let this be a reminder to have plans in place and know the best ways to respond if the situation arises. For the purpose of this blog, we’ll focus on three things: prevention, preparation, and best courses of action.

Prevention of Workplace Violence

Active shooter scenarios can occur anywhere, but often occur in the workplace. Key ways to help prevent workplace violence include fostering a respectful work environment and knowing the warning signs of someone who might be considering violence. Common signs include:

  • Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
  • Unexplained increase in absenteeism
  • Resistance and overreaction to changes in policies and procedures
  • Noticeably unstable, emotional responses
  • Comments about “putting things in order” or “getting even”
  • Increase in interest and comments about firearms, other weapons and violent crimes

The most important step in prevention is sharing information with management and/or law enforcement if you suspect anything suspicious about co-workers or unfamiliar visitors in your workplace.

Preparation

It is vital to have an emergency action plan in place and to practice the plan. People often think that an active shooter scenario will never happen to them. Unfortunately, violence doesn’t make exceptions for any person or setting, so it is critical to always maintain a high level of situational awareness. Create your action plan and focus on these components:

  • Preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies                                                                                                        Image 1 for Active Shooter Safety Post
  • Evacuation policy and procedure
  • Escape procedure and route assignments (floor plans and safe areas) NOTE: Always identify two exits in any facility or venue as soon as you enter
  • Local area hospital information
  • Emergency notification system that alerts employees, law enforcement, and hospitals

Action

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill in a confined and populated area. In most cases, they are using firearm(s) and they have no pattern or method to the selection of their victims. If you are subject to an active shooter scenario, it is imperative that you assess the situation and decide whether to run, hide, or fight.

  • This is the most desirable option and is where your escape route and plan come in to play. Leave your belongings, keep hands visible to law enforcement, and follow instructions of police officers if any are present. Call 9-1-1 when safe.
  • If you cannot escape the environment, immediately get out of the shooter’s view. Close and lock doors, turn out lights, and put barriers between yourself and the shooter (desk, barricade, etc.). Silence your phone and remain quiet. If you can safely call 9-1-1, provide them with the location of the shooter, the number of shooters and a physical description, the number and type of weapons, and number of potential victims. Do not open the door or come out of hiding until law enforcement identify themselves and instruct you to do so.
  • Do this as a last resort if your life is in imminent danger. Act as aggressively as possible by throwing items, yelling, and improvising weapons. Most importantly, commit to your actions and be prepared to fight for your life.

Image 2 for Active Shooter Safety Post
Sunstates Security encourages everyone to take action against becoming a victim. Prevent, prepare, and act. Again, our thoughts and sympathies go out to all affected by gun violence. For more information on active shooter training and Sunstates Security, please visit SunstatesSecurity.com.

Written by Sunstates Security

May 23rd, 2019 at 7:16 pm

How to Prepare for an Active Shooter Scenario

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The news, unfortunately, is filled with stories about sudden, unexpected shootings in the workplace and other public spaces. One minute, people are going about their daily routines. The next minute: panic and chaos.

At concerts, in offices, in houses of worship, in schools and on military bases, an active shooter is a possibility. More and more, clients are turning to Sunstates for training and threat mitigation strategies. In conjunction with industry experts, Sunstates can help clients and our officers protect themselves and be safer.

“We want our clients to be safe,” noted Sunstates President Glenn Burrell, CPP. “I’d like to think that we can help save lives. That’s our focus and why we’re happy to provide that as an added value.”

Proactive Strategies
The best way to mitigate threats is before they occur. Sunstates security experts can help clients develop policies and procedures designed to prevent/reduce potential threats, including:

• Access Control. Monitoring and controlling who can enter a facility, or specific areas within that facility, is the first step to mitigating active shooter threats.
• Eyes and Ears. All employees should be aware of who belongs and who doesn’t in a facility or area, as well as who is acting abnormally.
• Preparation. Employees need to understand what to do if an active shooter scenario occurs, and they should regularly prepare and practice.

Client Training
Depending upon the clients’ needs, Sunstates can offer different types of training.

General Education. Sunstates can provide a high-level general presentation on the basic principles of Active Shooter mitigation training. We’d be happy to schedule a lunchtime presentation to help your employees understand threats in the workplace and the community, as well as what to do if the unimaginable occurs.

Advanced Custom Training. For more extensive and facility-focused training, Sunstates partners with industry experts to provide more in-depth training, customized to a client’s facility, employees and situation.

That education often includes the following:

• See something, say something. Employees should have established procedures to voice security-related concerns to supervisors and management quickly and efficiently, with regular feedback to encourage the flow of intelligence.
• Understand the plan. Managers and employees will be trained on the security plan, being aware of their surroundings and other critical factors.
• Communication is key. Before an emergency occurs, companies and facilities should have a communications plan in place. This review will examine current plans and make recommendations where appropriate.
• Know the strategies. In an active shooter scenario, there are three options: run, hide and fight. People should know how to choose their best option.

In many active shooter situations, the immediate response is confusion and denial. Many people will ask, “What is going on?” or say, “This can’t be happening. That was a car backfiring, not gun shots.”

The key takeaway for our active shooter training is to make employees’ responses automatic. Instead of thinking about what is going on, or even doubting that it’s really happening, we want “muscle memory” to take over and help mitigate or minimize the threat.

The bottom line is we want our clients and our officers to be safe, and providing active shooter training and education is a key part of that.

The time to prepare for an active shooter is now, and we can help. Please contact Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 10th, 2019 at 8:24 pm

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THE PHILOSOPHY OF PREVENTION – STAYING SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD

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In most emergency situations, whether instigated by humans or caused by natural disaster, the reactions of security personnel are just that—reactions. A proactive approach, on the other hand, yields better results.

Business Continuity Planning Is SMARRT

How do you keep your business operating if it becomes a crime scene or disaster location for weeks at a time?Image for THE PHILOSOPHY OF PREVENTION – STAYING SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD Post - Emergency Preparedness

Recent natural disasters and tragedies have spurred more companies to develop business continuity plans. Such plans include tabletop exercises, drills, and working with skilled security partners that can provide hands-on training and the benefit of experience and best practices.

According to Sunstates president Glenn Burrell, “Business continuity plans work best when everyone in an organization is invested in security, from top to bottom, management to mail room. An organization is a community. If everyone looks out for each other, keeps their eyes open, and then communicates, the organization benefits. Many potential crisis situations can be defused before they explode. This kind of cooperation doesn’t happen overnight, however. It takes practice and education.”

Sunstates has developed its own business continuity program to ensure its ability to take care of clients in a crisis situation, including creation of a special response team.

Now operating in most regions across the U.S., Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT) consists of 81 specially trained and equipped team members whose primary focus is protection of clients’ personnel and assets and immediate containment of incidents. SMARRT is ready for rapid deployment at a moment’s notice, available only to clients.

Active Shooter Training

Among the manmade crises plaguing the nation, active shooters have become a high-profile threat for a wide range of organizations, from schools to businesses. Image for THE PHILOSOPHY OF PREVENTION – STAYING SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD Post - Active Shooter TrainingTraining individuals how to deal with this type of situation is critical to preventing loss of life.

Moreover, the ways that law enforcement engages such situations are evolving, and organizations should evolve as well. Instead of waiting outside, for example, police are now directed to enter the scene and engage the suspect.

But how do organizations keep themselves up-to-date with current best practices? By partnering with experienced security professionals.

Sunstates has participated in active shooter training scenarios at the middle-school and college levels, conducting live drills where volunteers acted as shooting victims. In both cases, the training went well, and everyone from EMTs to the school administration and faculty gained valuable experience.

Sunstates president Glenn Burrell says this type of training is the best available. “Planning is absolutely key, so that if such a tragedy were to occur, everyone knows what they have to do.”

The president of a large community college in North Carolina described the exercise as not only vital to campus security, but also beneficial to everyone involved.  He stated, “It allows local law enforcement and emergency services personnel to become familiar with the campus, while getting excellent training. And it ensures that the college has procedures in place in the case of such an event.”

Written by Sunstates Security

October 29th, 2015 at 6:05 pm