Active Shooter Training Scenarios

Active Shooter Training Scenarios: Nine Tips to Prepare for Effective Staff Exercises

Active shooter training scenarios are gaining more popularity as workplaces and schools recognize the urgency in providing training to their staff. As today marks the 5-year anniversary since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, we see the progression in workplace and school safety procedures. One of these progressions is due to employers offering training for staff; particularly in active shooter training scenarios. Employers understand the importance of running these scenarios for the purpose of preparing and informing staff. Accordingly, read our 9 tips administrators should utilize when preparing your organization for such scenarios.


Importance of Conducting Active Shooter Training Scenarios

Participating in a lecture-style training is one way to learn the material. Conducting active shooter training scenarios after this training provides great benefits to the participants and administrators. This model allows for hands-on training as a follow up to the initial lecture. In addition, active shooter training scenarios offer a variety of learning modules to accommodate all learning styles. Finally, practicing scenario-based exercises gives people time to process the information and ask questions. Permitting time for questions and more practice is beneficial in preparing for a real-life incident.

9 Tips to Prepare for Effective Staff Training Exercises

Follow these nine tips when preparing for effective training exercises in your workplace and school.

1. Choose the right active shooter training model.

Staff need a great foundation of response options to a threat before diving into active shooter training scenarios.

Our Five Immediate Actions to an Active Shooter video will give you insight into an option for your workplace. After deciding on the right model to follow, proceed with a scenario-based exercise model.

2. Find the right person to conduct the training.

Find the right person/company to lead your active shooter training.

This person needs experience in running scenario-based exercises, and possess knowledge in active shooter training. This could be your:

  • Head of Security,
  • Emergency Manager,
  • someone from the local police department, or
  • a consultant in the field.

[Note: Make sure that, if you are contacting law enforcement to assist with scenarios, you are clear you are requesting assistance for training your staff and not for officers to run their own drills at your site.]

3. Make sure the right people attend the active shooter training scenarios.

The person or company leading the exercises should be present with their team.

All employees including part time, substitutes, line staff and lead administration. No one can predict the day an incident may occur. If you have staff who only work a few times per year, they should be included too.

Finally, invite local law enforcement to observe (if they are not the ones conducting the exercises).

4. Choose a date when the facility or campus is closed to the public or students.

If a business cannot close their operations, section off part of the facility for training.

Place notices at the entrance ways to inform the public. In this instance, you may need to run active shooter training scenarios over a few days to ensure all staff have a chance to practice.

5. Ensure there is a list of scenarios prepared in advance starting with the most basic, and increasing in difficulty.

The last thing you want to do is start the scenario off with scaring the life out of your employees.

If the training has been presented effectively, staff will be in the right frame of mind to take the scenarios seriously.

Start basic and build confidence in your employees. Include everyone in a debrief and do not proceed with the next exercise without answering employees’ questions.

6. Allot the proper time to conduct a scenario.

In our course, we typically spend about 30 minutes per scenario.

This includes time spent in the initial practical portion where our staff physically show participants what to do in the classroom before the active shooter training scenarios begin.

It also includes the time spent conducting the drill and the debrief after.

Other considerations for time are putting the room back together after barricading, switching rooms and questions from the participants.

7. Test all communication systems in advance.

Check your PA system, radios and landline speakers to prohibit malfunctions during the scenarios.

8. Keep your staff informed ahead of time.

Communicate with your staff in advance about the scenario-based exercises.

  • Let them know why you have chosen to proceed with this style of training (because you care about them and are invested in their safety).
  • Be straightforward with what you need from them that day and leave out the details of the training.
  • Ease any anxiousness by letting them know that their fears are the exact reason they are practicing.
  • Let them know they are in a safe place to express their concerns.

9. Meet with a mental health professional on your team in advance (if available).

Speak to the professional in advance about anxieties and fears that may arise as a result of such training.

Keep in mind, some staff may have experienced a situation similar to what is being practiced during the active shooter training scenarios. Never force a staff member to participate.

Safety courses like active shooter training scenarios for staff are on the forefront of lead administrators’ minds. With major mass casualty incidents occurring in the workplace, our schools, and public places, we understand the importance of providing this type of training.

At Guardian Defense, we highly recommend someone with experience conducts the active shooter training scenarios.

You may only get one chance to properly expose your staff to a life-saving opportunity.

Finding a leader who conducts active shooter training scenarios effectively is crucial to helping your facility become a safer place to work. After that, all other preparations will fall into place.

What Should I Do Next?

Five years ago, we all watched the Sandy Hook Elementary story unfold on the television news stations.

  • As a parent, I knew things had to improve in our schools before my two young children entered kindergarten.
  • As a police officer, I knew I had the knowledge to provide training to our teachers.
  • And, as a member of society, I knew I had a duty to share my skill set with the nation.

Our team at Guardian Defense is made up of people who want to make the same impact and share this same passion.

If you feel your workplace, school, college or place of worship is ready to embark on active shooter training scenarios, please contact our office at 954-654-8912.

Or, >>schedule a no-obligation appointment<< to learn more about the model that best meets your needs.

Prepare TODAY, for a safer tomorrow.