Active Shooter Program for Retailers

Author: Joseph LaRocca, RetaiLPartners 

Following the shooting incidents in San Bernardino, Orlando, Dallas and overseas, I'm alarmed when conference surveys report only half of respondents have an Active Shooter or Imminent Threat program in place. 

If you don't have a plan, why? Do you have an evacuation plan for a fire alarm or flood? This is another component of your crisis management program. Sure, the likelihood of an Active Shooter incident in your location is very rare, however bullets from a parking lot robbery, incident inside the shopping center or retail neighbor, are not uncommon. 

The threat of real-life crisis situations doesn't stop short of retail stores or malls and retailers must remain aware of potential dangers. It's imperative for retailers to educate their employees with the latest updates on emergency situations, which include in-store shootings. By working closely with law enforcement, retailers are able to provide potentially life-saving information for their most valuable assets - their employees and their customers. 

There are FREE resources from highly respected government agencies available, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Additionally, some paid experts are willing to assist in crafting a custom program for your company and conduct some interactive training drills. 

In 2008 the retail industry working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, created a FREE active shooter program (links below). The online resources include a poster, booklet, wallet card and video training. It's a good place to start and many-many retailers and other private sector companies use some or all of these resources today. 

The program serves to educate companies about active shooters, which have become a serious threat in recent years. Basic guidelines for how to analyze the situation and react accordingly are outlined in a way that serves all types of retailers regardless of size. I encourage all retailers to use the guidelines as a part of their larger emergency management plan to protect employees and customers. 

Available Materials

For all DHS Active Shooter resources visit: Here's a great (free) video from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (below) and many others are available. 

Consider starting with these free resources today. You can enhance your program over time, then supplement the materials with custom language and in-person training drills.

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