Unless I quote someone else, these are my opinions and I am not speaking for any organization, including those that I am employed by or a member of.
The best way to prevent an active shooter situation is to prevent the active shooter from gaining access to your premises. That means training your employees to question everyone, even people that they know well. For example, if you have card key access to your buildings do you have a no tailgating policy and do your employees enforce it?
Every employee should “tap in” (present their badge to the reader) to the building, even if the door is opened by someone in front of them. I am amazed at how many times I see one person tap in and two dozen others follow them into the building without tapping in, even without displaying an employee ID. If I ask, employees usually will show me their ID but are still reticent to tap in.
What about your receptionists? Do they ask employees to present their employee badge or other ID? If you have card key doors in your lobby do they ask employees to tap in, or do they buzz them in? Do receptionists have access to an online employee database and is it updated when employees are terminated? I can think of many times when an employee has left a company without turning in their ID. Your termination process should cover removing cyber and physical access, but will a receptionist let them into the building if they flash their badge?
Today’s former employee can be tomorrow’s active shooter and doors and receptionists are your first line of defense. Receptionists should not back down when an employee says, “Do you know who I am? I’ll have you fired if you don’t let me in” and your company should support him or her if this happens. If the receptionist feels threatened, he or she should be able to contact security quickly and discreetly, perhaps with a button under the desk.
If you do not have a tailgating policy, make one, enforce it, and train your employees what to do. Give your receptionists basic security training and back them up if they try to prevent any employee from entering the building, even your CEO. It might seem unfriendly but in the long run it can help protect your employees.
If the worst happens, does your business continuity plan have a workforce continuity component and does your crisis response plan include employee counseling? Your building could become a crime scene and while it is shut down you need an alternate location where your employees can be counseled and can regain their productivity.
Next week I’ll talk about active shooters in schools.