Active Shooter Planning: 6 Business Continuity Issues that Must Be Considered

In planning for active shooter table-top exercises an often overlooked area is that of business continuity. How and what do we do to ensure that the university gets back to the business as soon as possible. There are six major issues to consider and that law enforcement officials should collaborate with business continuity planning teams.

First, many administrators, faculty, staff and students fail to realize that when they are evacuated from a building they may not have access to that building for days, if not weeks depending on the nature of the situation. If shots were fired in the building or not, the building becomes a crime scene and appropriate protocols must be followed.

Second, if employees or students are advised they can do telework, what happens if their laptops that are required to access the virtual private network (VPN) remain in the facility and they don’t have access?

Third, even when there is a minimal loss of life, and let’s hope there is none, the psychological impacts on all parties can cause significant absenteeism. Human resources and employee assistance managers must take this into account. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not uncommon and must be planned for in advance.

Fourth, in the case of functions such as Information Technology Centers, facility heating and cooling operations, etc. facilities and operations that cannot be interrupted does your devolution counterparts know when to assume their support role in an Active Shooter event?

Fifth, recovery time objectives are always problematic. Twelve hours may seem like long enough time to resume business “as usual”, but what happens if a lockdown last for 8-10 hours?

Finally, do your business continuity relocation plans conflict with emergency management/public safety plans and often the need to keep everyone on-site?

Law enforcement, emergency managers, public safety, public relations, human resources, supply chain providers, logistical support and others involved in planning active shooter table-top exercises and planning must have business continuity planners at the table.

L. Darryl Armstrong PhD – www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

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