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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – It’s not a common occurrence, but the recent massacre in Arizona once again raised the specter of mass shootings. With many of these shootings taking place in workplaces – frequently by disgruntled employees – it’s worth considering what you can do to safeguard your office from the unthinkable. 

On Friday the New York Police Department released a 182-page “Active Shooter” report that exhaustively chronicles the history of mass shootings and provides tips for workplaces to prepare for such an occurrence.

“Because active shooter attacks are dynamic events, the NYPD cannot put forward a single set of best-practices for private security response to such incidents,” reads the report. “However, the NYPD has compiled a list of recommendations for building security personnel to mitigate the risks from active shooter attacks.”

Some of the report’s recommendations mirror standard emergency procedures, like designating and publicizing evacuation routes. But it also includes such suggestions as designating a shelter location with “thick walls, solid doors with locks, minimal interior windows, first-aid emergency kits, communication devices, and duress alarms.” It also recommends specific security procedures, like establishing a central command station with access to closed-circuit cameras and a communications infrastructure that allows for office-wide alerts.

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So if you’re an employee and you suddenly find your office under siege by a gunman, what’s the best course of action? Obviously that will depend on what security procedures your company has instituted, but the report does suggest how employees should be trained to respond.

Evacuation is the first priority, if possible. If not, it’s best to hide in a secure area, “lock the door, blockade the door with heavy furniture, cover all windows, turn off all lights, silence any electronic devices, lie on the floor, and remain silent.” And if confrontation with a shooter is inevitable, employees are encouraged to throw objects or otherwise use “aggressive force.”

For the full set of recommendations and analysis, see the full report on the NYPD’s website.

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