Secure Your Surroundings

By staying aware, securing the facility, putting together an emergency response plan, connecting with law enforcement and keeping mental health issues at the forefront, you have the ability to successfully protect your organization against internal and external threats.

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Ensuring Workplace Safety:
Protecting Against Armed Intruders

There’s no doubt that the workplace should be a place of productivity, camaraderie and innovation.

Unfortunately, today’s world has brought safety concerns to the forefront, including armed intruders and active shooters, that can shatter that tranquility - especially when that intruder is a current or former employee. Protecting your workplace and its occupants from threats like this is a paramount responsibility for any organization. Today, we’ll take a look at comprehensive strategies to safeguard your office environment from the potential of armed intruders or active shooters.

Understanding the Threat

First, prior to looking at protective measures, it's vital to understand the threat itself. Armed intruders are those who pose a dangerous risk to the workplace due to their intent to harm others using firearms or other weapons. Threats like these can come from a wide range of sources, including upset employees, outside individuals who may harbor personal grievances, as well as domestic terrorists.

As statistics and case studies from the past prove, there is no substitute for being prepared. While the emotions and thoughts that drive these unthinkable acts can vary, in many cases, the motivations of armed intruders can range from personal vendettas to ideological extremism. No matter what the cause behind these acts is, you can take steps to protect your organization.

Building a Culture of Awareness

Stopping a tragedy before it starts may sound like a difficult thing to ask, but it is possible by creating a culture of awareness within the organization. That can happen when you recognize potential warning signs, such as changes in behavior or verbal threats. When those signs are shown, it is absolutely essential that those actions are reported to the appropriate officials.

Putting an Anonymous Reporting System in Place

Some companies provide employees with a safe and anonymous way to report suspicious activity or concerns. This helps employees feel more comfortable in coming forward without fear of retaliation.

Holding Regular Training Sessions

By making it a point to have periodic and planned training sessions and exercises, employees are better able to understand their roles and exactly what they should do if and when a situation like this arises in the workplace.

Keeping the Physical Environment Secure

Securing the physical workplace is a vital aspect of providing protection. To effectively prevent and react to potential threats, you need to have robust security measures in place.

Control Access

One of the most important steps that can be taken is to limit access to the office by putting elements such as key card systems or biometric authentication in place. This helps to control who enters the premises and provides an audit trail for tracking visitation.

Manage Visitors

Another key step is making sure that all visitors sign in, provide identification, and wear a visitor badge while in the facility. In this way, unknown individuals are easily identifiable.

Put Surveillance Systems in Place

One major step that should be taken is installing security cameras in strategic locations throughout the office. These systems act as a deterrent and provide valuable data during an incident.

Ensure that Entry Points are Reinforced

Strengthen doors and windows with security film or shatterproof glass. Panic bars or other locking mechanisms should allow for quick and easy exit for employees.

Emergency Response Plans

Putting a comprehensive emergency response plan in place is essential for protecting your office environment from armed intruders and active shooters. In addition to ensuring that effective communication protocols and a carefully thought-through first aid response plan are in place, there are three primary OUTs that members of your organization should Consider during an incident.

Get Out

When faced with a real or perceived threat, employees must get to a clear and accessible exit to Get Out of the area and get somewhere safe (either out of the building or to a place they can Lock Out.

Lock Out

When there isn’t enough time or opportunity to vacate an area, employees should be prepared to Lock Out the threat by locking/securing the area that a group of employees is in.

Take Out

When there isn’t the ability to get out or lock out a threat, the choice is clear. It's time to Take Out the threat. Employees will throw any items available at the intruder at the same time, and then swarming the intruder to neutralize the threat.

Engaging with Law Enforcement

It’s important to construct strong bonds with local law enforcement. That’s a vital element of maintaining a protected environment. Law enforcement agencies can be a great source of valuable insights and assistance in preparing for armed intruders or active shooters.


Work with with local law enforcement to develop and test your emergency response plan. They can provide feedback and assistance in preparing for a potential incident.

Armed Intruder Training

Law enforcement agencies can provide important insights into active shooter training for businesses. This training helps employees and security personnel understand what to expect during a response and how to cooperate with law enforcement.

Rapid Response

One of the best things you can do is to make sure that law enforcement has a clear map of your office layout, and designate assembly points for their arrival. This can help them respond more efficiently and minimize confusion.

Mental Health and Conflict Resolution

Preventing armed intruders and active shooters goes beyond physical security measures. Promoting a healthy work environment, addressing conflicts, and supporting mental health are equally important.

Conflict Resolution Training

Offer conflict resolution and anger management training to employees. This can help de-escalate tense situations before they escalate into violence.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

Implement EAPs to provide employees with access to mental health resources. Encourage employees to seek help when dealing with personal or professional challenges.

Anti-Bullying Policies

Enforce anti-bullying and harassment policies to prevent hostile work environments that could lead to violent incidents.

Secure Your Surroundings

Locking down the office environment against armed intruders and active shooters is a multidimensional effort that requires a combination of security measures, preparedness, and a supportive work environment. By staying aware, securing the facility, putting an emergency response plan, connecting with law enforcement and keeping mental health issues at the forefront, you have the ability to successfully protect your organization against threats.

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The Sollah team is here to help!

Now What?

Evaluate the current communication methods used in your organization. What are you doing right? Where can you improve? In the coming weeks, challenge yourself and other leaders to look at ways to implement at least one violence prevention strategy into your daily processes or procedures.

Need help? Sollah has the programs and content that help with the heavy lifting of workplace violence prevention training.

The 3-OUT Approach to Workplace Safety (eLearning Program)
The 3-OUT Approach to Workplace Safety (eLearning Program)

Training INCREASES our ability to take appropriate action. It gives us a greater sense of preparedness, which will help with anxiety and stress levels - especially during violent situation. It helps us prevail! This course – and the videos you will watch during the training - are very realistic.

PREVAIL!® (Armed Intruder/Active Shooter Training)
PREVAIL!® (Armed Intruder/Active Shooter Training)

PREVAIL!® is designed to help your organization better respond in violent situations involving an armed threat. This program provides employees, managers and executives with information and strategies on recognizing and responding to the dynamic challenges and issues of violent incidents within the workplace.

PREVAIL!® for Middle Schools / High Schools
PREVAIL!® for Middle Schools / High Schools

An armed intruder situation is something few of us have prepared for. And it’s that lack of preparation that raises anxiety… and fear. Where does fear come from? It’s having a problem… without a solution. This program is intended to give you a solution. Based on real life situations, this program is dedicated to helping you save lives… and prevail!

Be S.A.F.E. (Not Sorry)™: Preventing Violence in the Workplace
Be S.A.F.E. (Not Sorry)™: Preventing Violence in the Workplace

Promote a safe work environment and prevent workplace violence. This course demonstrates practical—and even necessary—tools to help keep your company safe in today’s hectic and pressure-filled world. It illustrates situations that may pose very real threats to coworkers and to your organization.

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