Active shooter tips

Active shooter in the workplace: Is your company ready?

There is no one-size-fits-all plan, but here are three steps you and your staff should take to increase your chance of survival.

An active shooter in the workplace is defined as an individual who is actively attempting to kill people. In most cases, active shooters use a firearm(s) and display no pattern for selection of their victims. In some cases active shooters use other weapons and/or improvised explosive devices to cause additional victims and act as an impediment to police and emergency responders.

Click here to download Homeland Security's "Active Shooter: How to Respond" Booklet

An NYPD study from 1966 to 2010 showed that most active shooter situations are over within 10 to 15 minutes. The study showed:

  • ~98% of the incidents involve a single shooter.
  • ~96% of the shooters were male; 4% were female.

As you can imagine, there are no one-size-fits-all plans on how to respond to an active shooter as each situation is unique and has its own set of deadly challenges. However, no matter what the scenario is, you and your staff should take three steps:


Evade the shooter and run out of the building as quickly as possible. Call 911 when you are safe.

Hide and deny

If you can't leave the building, you need to hide and deny access to the shooter, preferably in a room where a door can be locked. The key is staying out of sight and locking yourself in a room. If possible, deny the shooter access by moving a heavy object in front of the doorway or block the entrance into a room in some other manner to deter access.


If you are in the path of an active shooter, you must fight for your life. Be prepared mentally to fight for your life. This includes doing as much bodily harm to the active shooter as possible. When confronted with this situation, look for any item, (i.e., fire extinguisher, belts, heavy objects, etc.) to keep the shooter away.

Take Action

Fact: Workplace threats and violence are something every employee should take seriously. Our suggestion is to have a plan and discuss it with your employees as being proactive is your best defense should something happen.

These documents are available for you to print, use and disseminate in your companies.

Executive summary

You cannot wait for first-responders to help you in an active shooter environment as it takes too long for their arrival. Remember:

  • A good decision executed quickly is better than a great one never executed.
  • A moving target is extremely hard to hit, even for a well-trained shooter.
  • Deal with the situation with your eyes wide open.

For more information about active shooter preparation, contact Cindy McSwain using her information below.

Cindy McSwain

Senior Vice President
Outsourcing Services

Cindy McSwain leads AGH’s outsourcing services group. Her team provides payroll, accounting, funds disbursement, controller, and other financial outsourcing services to numerous clients throughout the U.S. Prior to joining the outsourcing group, Cindy served AGH’s audit clients for 10 years, working with a wide range of middle-market, closely held and family-owned organizations.

Her current clients cross many industry sectors, including manufacturing and distribution, restaurants, retailers, medical and not-for-profit. She has participated in numerous SEC filings and public registrations and has experience in mergers and acquisitions. Cindy is a certified public accountant and a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants.

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