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On November 20, a gunman entered a nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, opened fire, and killed five people. Just three days later, a Walmart employee in Chesapeake, Virginia, opened fire in the breakroom at the store, killing six people, and then himself.
The number of mass shootings in the US has topped 600 for the second year in a row, according to data from the New York Times. Last year, there were 692, and so far this year, 606.
From commercial buildings to schools to churches and other public facilities, mass shootings in the US are a terribly grim new normal. This FacilitiesNet story has resources and best practices for facility managers to plan and manage active shooter drills.
The goal is not only to mitigate the threat from active shooters, but also to change building design to give occupants a better chance of surviving an active shooter in their buildings. The latter part is a principle called Crisis Architecture, and it’s explained in this story.
Understanding the principles of designing an effective active shooter drill is crucially important. There is still much debate in the industry about whether active shooter drills are actually useful in saving lives. Those who say they’re not cite active shooter drills gone wrong that traumatize occupants and students. Those who advocate for drills show examples of how they may save lives.
Whatever side of the debate facility managers land on, it’s clear active shooter drills – like the mass shootings they’re intended to prevent – aren't going away anytime soon. So facility managers should become experts on this sad new core competency of facility management.
Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine.
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