Shooting incidents are broadcast almost daily in any news cycle. It is unfortunate that it is a reality. You don’t want you or your staffs to become desensitized to this topic or to work in fear. The topic in itself is scary. Given today’s climate of more frequent workplace violence, things like this, unfortunately, have become not so out of the ordinary.

An “active shooter” is an individual who is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Victims are frequently selected at random. The event is unpredictable and evolves quickly. Knowing what to do can save lives.

Recent national tragedies remind us that the risk is real: an active shooter incident can happen in any place at any time. The best way to make sure you and your staff and your residents stay safe is to prepare ahead of time and be ready. Taking a few steps now to educate and train your onsite staff and mentally rehearsing what to do can help everyone react quickly when every second counts. Having all of the staff on your property participate in continuing education on how to deal with an active shooter situation, as well as stressing the importance of training on it regularly, similar to a fire drill at work, cannot be overestimated. “If you see something, say something” is more than a catch phrase, it is an action that should be taken seriously.

Learning how to recognize the dynamics of active shooter events, understanding risk-management strategies, developing awareness of suspicious activity and threatening behavior, and creating proactive measures for reducing the potential of mass violence on your property generally and in the office facilities of apartment communities is the goal of effective “active shooter training.”

Sometimes you have to push people to go to these types of training because most are skeptical or think it’s a waste of time because “it could never happen here”. Many people also have the ‘I don’t need to go; I’ll know what to do in that situation’ mentality. But effective training will open their eyes to the reality of the situation and after attending a class, employees will usually change their mind about the importance of training. A training class prepares onsite staff for the typically shocking and chaotic situation that could result from a mass-shooting attack with a strong emphasis on the importance of self-awareness, commonsense and preparedness.

It is recommended that all multi-housing community staffs attend comprehensive “active shooter training” because this type of training is designed to help them recognize an active shooter/active threat situation and react appropriately if they are ever faced with an incident because there’s a lot you can do to reduce victims, protect people and help minimize the impact of a shooting or violence on your property. Information on ‘Active Shooter’ training or educational tools can usually be obtained from your local law enforcement authorities; excellent educational material on the subject prepared by FEMA and also by the Department of Homeland Security can be downloaded from the internet; and the NAA can assist apartment associations to locate appropriate speakers and trainers on the subject.