Three steps to safety: Developing procedures for active shooters

Lisa W. Morris, Certified Emergency Manager, Southern Methodist University (SMU),

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Abstract: Every Second counts once gunshots are heard in the workplace environment. Close the office door, turn out the lights and turn the mobile phone to ‘silent’ is the standard mantra for what is expected in the response efforts; however, is that enough? In a perfect world, this sermon may fall short of what emergency management practitioners might preach as it does not adequately fulfil the reality of what is best practice for optimal life safety.


This paper offers options for lockdown preparedness and response to address internal lockdown from the moment shots are fired. Recommendations for the creation of a lockdown plan, building assessment surveys and a controlled, simulated exercise are addressed to raise awareness in response methods and reduce overall response time. The procedures suggested in this paper will optimise training efforts using the community’s standard emergency operating procedures in response to workplace violence to minimise loss of life.


Keywords: risk, active shooter, lockdown, assessment, college campuses

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