Human Limitations: Overcoming the Uncontrollable in an Active Shooter Crises

On November 13, 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks stunned Paris and Saint-Denis, and sent shockwaves throughout the world. Active shooters, suicide bombers, hostage-takers reeked havoc on public venues throughout the city, including a concert hall, a stadium and more.

Seeing the tragic events unfold on the other side of the world have prompted business owners and facility managers to ask themselves: How can I protect employees and guests from similar attacks in my facility?

According to a recent FBI study, active shooter incidents are escalating in the United States, and businesses open to the public are at the greatest risk for such attacks.

While facility managers have limited power in preventing active shooter incidents, they can be prepared to respond in a crisis. In these instances, three things must be considered:

ASSESSMENT. The ability to rapidly identify a threat is vital. Are employees equipped to quickly assess a threat? Will they be put at risk when assessing the situation?

ACCURATE INFORMATION. Are employees and guests prepared to transmit accurate and timely information about the threat (location, appearance, activities, etc.) to the proper authorities?

RESPONSE. Once the threat has been effectively assessed and accurate information has been gathered, authorities must be notified immediately.

These three considerations are significantly impacted by one element: the human factor. In a crisis, panic can cloud judgment, and the very real threat of physical danger may obstruct someone’s ability to efficiently assess, gather accurate information, and alert authorities to respond.

Even excellent planning, training and preparation can’t overcome someone’s emotional and physical limitations.

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How can business owners and facility managers overcome these limitations to increase safety in their facility? By considering the installation of automated security systems that detect threats and provide an instantaneous response.

Automated systems such as Active Shooter Detection System can greatly reduce or eliminate human limitations in an active shooter crisis by automatically detecting threats, generating mass notifications and automated lockdowns, and immediately notifying the proper authorities with accurate and timely information. All of these actions can take place without having to rely on any human intervention.

Implementing automated systems mitigates the risk of human limitations in a crisis situation, and can save the lives of employees and guests.

Ross Vierra
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