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Active Shooter – Completely Preventable Recognize the Threat Prevention & Training

12/01/2023 4:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By Ed Jarrett

It has been a year since the tragedy involving Micheal Shinners and many others at 1280 Peachtree located in Atlanta, Georgia.  What as an industry have we learned and what are we doing to prevent these events?  Unfortunately, since January 1st, the U.S. has experienced at least 484 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This averages out to almost two mass shootings a day. Mass shootings are defined as an incident in which four or more victims are shot or killed, according to the archive.  The vast majority of these shootings occurred at a place of business.  Candidly, these events are happening at such a rate that society is becoming desensitized to them. Indeed, many mass shootings are often no longer reported on by media outlets.

Our industry, despite being somewhat of a volatile environment, (especially for onsite staff and managers), has been immune to this phenomenon until now. Over the past five years, several instances of workplace violence that resulted in the loss of life have occurred.  Onsite staff perform their professional duties in an environment where they encounter disgruntled homeowners and residents, despite their best efforts. I think all of us in the industry have a story of a disgruntled resident or owner that made us uncomfortable or worse. Many of us have protective orders issued by local courts to help prevent these interactions from escalating. Unfortunately, many of these events are mental health-related, which can be extremely difficult to navigate.


Simply put, the term “Active Shooter” is here to stay, and incidents will increase due to the uncertainty of the times. Given the nature of our industry, we should incorporate active shooter training into our standard life safety protocols. Beyond that, employment contracts and management agreements should address this topic expressly,  including which entity is responsible for training. These events can be prevented with appropriate training and a proactive response as illustrated below.

Per the FBI, “Study of Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the U.S.”

  • Approximately one-third of active shooters in this sample victimized only random members of the public, MOST active shooters arrived at a targeted site with a specific person or persons in mind.
  • 73% of all active shooters had a known connection with the attack site.
  • When threats of confrontations occurred, 95% were in person.
  • 55% of active shooters who had a specific target made threats or had a confrontation with the intended target.
  • 62% of all active shooters had documented mental health issues.

The above information as provided by the FBI paints a clear picture that most of these events can be prevented.  Beyond that, the above for industry professionals is an all too familiar set of facts.  I would suspect that most property management professionals have encountered these behaviors in varying degrees, some more than others.  The event involving Micheal Shinners as well as the event in Toronto, Canada certainly contained the above warning signs.  

These indicators paint a clear picture and corresponding outcome; act accordingly and do not hesitate to reach out to law enforcement.  Do not allow societal pressures to influence your decision to report incidents.


Are we prepared as industry professionals to deal with such an event at a property?

Similar to evacuation plans, active shooter training must be incorporated into the safety planning for onsite managers and staff. We should reinforce this training without creating alarm. It must become routine.  We create liability for our clients and staff by failing to implement training!  In conversations with other professional organizations, workplace violence and active shooter training appear to be widely discussed. Schools, places of worship, and municipal buildings are constantly improving their preparedness and training of staff. Given the size of many of the high rises in most metropolitan environments as well as those large-scale planned developments with sizeable amenity centers and schools, we as an industry should embrace this unfortunate reality.  We cannot be a late adopter of workplace training given the consequences.  

Training is available at little to NO cost to you, your staff or property.  If you are interested, start with your local law enforcement agencies; many offer training and, in some instances, live simulations.  If you are looking for industry best practices, contact Alice Training ( Alice Training has evolved as the industry leader in training.  They have trained over 18 million individuals over the last twenty years and boast an impressive corporate list of customers ranging from Fortune 500 companies to local schools and places of worship.  Alice can help you understand the options, ensuring you keep the individuals in your organization safe with a trauma-informed approach to safety training that works for you.

Get training for your staff, yourself and your community. Be an advocate for an increased awareness of this seldom discussed issue! 

In 2017 I managed a luxury high-rise in the Atlanta market that found itself going through many of the scenarios I’ve mentioned in this article, and we were asking these questions and many more. Unfortunately, a man armed with a high-capacity handgun and additional ammunition entered the building with the intent of harming select individuals. Thankfully the staff at the time was able to stop the threat.  As the General Manager, I revisited every decision that led to the events of that day. It was a very difficult time as gunshots were fired, and people were harmed. The Board and I were faced with questions we were ill-prepared to address. The one thing we did learn was the need for training and safety protocols that we simply had not considered prior.

#alicetraining, #darkangelmedical,#activeshooter,#stopworkplaceviolence

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