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Active Shooter Training Is Still Essential For Remote-First Companies: Here Are Four Reasons Why


As remote-first companies become increasingly popular, the need for active shooter training is more important than ever. In this article, we'll explore why active shooter training is essential for remote-first companies and how they can implement it into their corporate culture.


Workplace Violence is Still a Risk. Where it Starts is Just Now Very Digital


Payton Gendron carried out a racially motivated mass shooting at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York. But before he killed ten people and wounded three more, he spent many months architecting his hate crime on the Internet. The 18-year-old Uvalde shooter, Salvador Ramos, allegedly posted disturbing images online before carrying out the senseless attack.


The term "leakage" in the context of threat assessment happens when someone who intends to harm a target communicates their intention before doing so to a third party. Studies show that leakage of intent was done by many public mass murderers, and the most common form of leakage was statements to family and friends.


The PBS News Hour's recap of the Chesapeake, VA, Walmart shooting captured a critical perspective from James Densley, a professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State University and co-founder of a nonprofit called The Violence Project. Densley shared that too often, attention is focused on the "red flags," and workers should be looking for the "yellow flags" — subtle changes in behavior, like increased anger or not showing up for work. Managers should work with those individuals, guide them toward counseling, and conduct regular check-ins.


Protecting Personal Identifiable Information (PII) Inside Teams is Virtually Impossible


More than half of U.S. workers agree that their company management does not take adequate steps to keep them safe at work. In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile workplace shootings. In many cases, the shooter has been a current or former employee of the company. This has led to a heightened awareness of the need for workplace violence prevention training. However, what is often overlooked is that workplace violence can start long before an actual shooting takes place. In fact, it can start with something as innocuous as a rude email or text message.


With more and more companies adopting remote-first policies, this type of digital aggression is only likely to increase. That's why it's essential for companies to provide active shooter training for their employees, even if they never step foot in the office. PII is exchanged casually among team members. From cell phone numbers to home addresses to send get-well-soon cards or holiday gifts. If a shooting rampage (such as Ezekial Kelly in Memphis) and/or an active shooter event were to occur, insider threats have everything they need to launch an attack.


A Lack of Connectivity Leaves Organizations Open to the Risk of Active Shooter Events


According to the Pew Research Center, 89% of Employees believe it is the responsibility of business leaders to create a safe and respectful workplace. Although healthy cultures do start from the top, it is everyone's responsibility to nurture the ecosystem that creates culture.


After the Columbine shooting in 1999, the Secret Service launched the Safe School Initiative. And their findings that were grounded in connectivity were astounding.


  • The more that schools could link concerning kids with prevention-minded adults, the more targeted violence could be thwarted. This approach was seen to be more effective than metal detectors and an increased police presence in schools combined.

  • One of the main objectives the Secret Service established was to demystify the problem of mass shooters. "School shooters do not come out of nowhere. It's comforting to believe that kids snap because if kids snap, it lets us off the hook. "

  • Connection through human relationships is a central component of safety and respect.


Adopting Radical Belonging as a risk mitigation method is about creating 100% connectedness in the workplace that is intentional, measurable, and revolutionary. It transcends casual water cooler conversation, gives HR leaders the resources they need to be employee advocates, and empowers employees to be the change.


Active Shooter Drills ONLY are not Enough


James Densley's The Violence Project found that the most common site for mass shootings since 1966 is the workplace. Workplace shooting perpetrators are often current or former employees who have access to buildings, know how to navigate them efficiently, and know the security protocols. Researchers suggest that rather than relying solely on drills, employers should increase investment in mental health services and in training on crisis intervention and grief management because eighty percent of perpetrators are in crisis prior to the shooting.


The Department of Homeland Security's Active Shooter Workbook says, "Employees typically do not just "snap," but display indicators of potentially violent behavior over time. If these behaviors are recognized, they can often be managed and treated. To best prepare your staff for an active shooter situation, create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and conduct training exercises. Together, the EAP and training exercises will prepare your staff to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life."


You should follow these simple steps to safeguard against workplace violence:


  1. Be aware of the signs of digital abuse. If you notice any red (or yellow) flags, such as changes in behavior, bullying, extremist opinions, or even someone repeatedly trying to contact you after you've asked them to stop, escalate the issue immediately.

  2. Think twice about sharing your personal information. This includes your home address, phone number, personal email address, and social media accounts. Also, consider setting up a P.O. Box for work mail if it makes sense for you to do so.

  3. Make an effort to consistently connect with your colleagues and be in the know with everyone in order to be more aware of changes in behavior.

  4. Focus on creating a culture of wellness versus pure performance.

  5. Uproot any systems of anti-belonging and spend time thinking about how your employees are really doing and what things impact psychological safety in your organization.

  6. Create multi-lateral access points and methods to provide you with an accurate perspective on culture health.


Not sure how to get started? Email Abigail@ReconNight.com.


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