We have written a lot about active shooters and workplace violence. Just when you think there is no more to tell, it happens again.
On Wednesday, June 1, terrified students at UCLA used whatever they could to barricade themselves inside classrooms as a crazed gunman, later identified as Maniak Sarkar, stalked the campus. As the students tried to protect themselves, they soon realized that a potentially fatal flaw existed regarding the classroom doors. The doors opened out and had no locks, two very serious issues when trying to protect against an active shooter. In spite of this, the students followed proper protocol in using tables, chairs, electrical cord and even a foosball table to erect barricades.
Maniak Sarkar was a disgruntled Ph.D. student. He shot and killed Professor William Klug, whom he accused of stealing “intellectual property.” Sarkar shot and killed himself after gunning down Klug. Later police discovered that Sarkar had written a “kill list”. On that list was Sarkar’s estranged wife Hasti. She was found dead in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis. Also on the list was another UCLA professor. Fortunately, that individual was off campus the day of the shootings. Sarkar was not even a current UCLA student. He had graduated in 2013. In a bizarre twist, Sarkar left a note asking whoever found it to check on his cat.
It is guaranteed that after this most recent incident, active shooter drills will again flourish in communities and businesses across the country. And that’s a positive thing. LP Insider has published articles on active shooters and workplace violence numerous times. However, the time seems right to review some of the basic active shooter protocols. Here is a repeat of some basic guidelines to deal with an active shooter incident issued by the Department of Homeland Security:
Know how to “dial out” of your work facility. Some systems require dialing a 9 or other code first. Dial 911 when it is safe to do so.
Evacuate if there is time and an accessible escape path.
• Have an escape route and plan in mind
• If it’s safe – get out, get out, get out, even if others refuse to follow
• Leave everything behind – take nothing
• Help others, if possible
• Prevent others from entering an area where an active shooter might be
• Keep your hands visible
• Follow the instructions of police
• Do not attempt to move wounded people
If evacuation is not possible, hide out somewhere the active shooter is not likely to find you.
• An enclosed office or room is best
• Lock the door
• Barricade the door with heavy furniture or file cabinets if possible
• Silence your cell phone
Hopefully, as loss prevention professionals, none of us will come face to face with an active shooter. But if it happens, there is no time to review company safety plans and procedures. So commit them to memory now.