3 Critical Areas to Address in Your Emergency Response Plan

Hostile intruder or active shooter situations require a clear, well-defined emergency response plan. Developing such a plan requires special attention to three key areas: business operations, organizational culture, and architectural design.

How to Prepare an Emergency Response Plan for Your Company

When preparing your emergency response plan, discuss the following criteria with your security leadership team.

Business Operations

  • How many employees occupy each floor of the building? How many employees make up each department? This data determines how many emergency response team members to recruit and train (e.g. one fire warden per 20 employees). Team members should be well versed on evacuation points and shelter-in-place locations.
  • Employee awareness training should be a priority, especially for public-access buildings such as retail stores or places of worship. Employees should take action immediately if their initial assessment or intuition suggest a hostile situation.
  • Industries with elevated audible levels should install strategically placed power shut-down switches and warning strobes across the factory floor. Switches can be activated to allow others to hear emergency announcements and orient themselves with the direction of hostilities.

Organizational Culture

  • Top-down leadership models should make exceptions when it comes to emergency response by giving junior managers and supervisors the autonomy to make emergency decisions.
  • Offer CPR and First Aid or First Responder Training to employees, especially those on the emergency response team.
  • Get buy-in from C-Suite to champion training and emergency response exercises. Corporate Security, Crisis Management, or Enterprise Risk functions should report directly to the C-Suite.
  • Many companies and organizations have a strict “No Weapons” policy. However, in cases where corporate security staff possess firearms, all staff members authorized and permitted to carry firearms should be trained on firearm safety and obtain required state and local certifications. Comprehensive procedures, training, and weapons-use policies should be developed.

Architectural Design

  • Always know your exits. Exit points should always be clearly marked. Location of exit points should be included in yearly emergency response training.
  • LEED and CPTED architectural designs in commercial buildings are reducing the number of areas that can be used for shelter in place. Solid core doors and sturdy walls that would protect against an attack are being replaced by glass. When identifying shelter-in-place locations, consider alternatives such as storage rooms, file rooms, single occupancy restrooms, and Nursing Mother Rooms.

For assistance developing an emergency response plan and training program that works for your organization, contact us.

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