What to do if an active shooter comes into your workplace

LANSING, MI (WLNS)-  The deadly shooting that happened yesterday is a stark reminder that similar violence could happen almost anywhere.

This begs the question, what plans can you have in place to keep this from happening in your workplace and respond quickly if it did?

Six news spoke to Michigan State Police and officials at MSU about how to plan for the unexpected.

If you hear loud popping sounds at your office, your next move could save your life.

“Normally there’s not fire crackers going off in the workplace so when you hear noises like that, your first response and the first things that are you do are very, very important.”  Trooper Marco Jones, Michigan State Police Community Service trooper said.

When emotions are high it’s important to stay calm, and redirect your thoughts. ‘It’s ok to be fearful but you have to redirect your thoughts, and preferably redirect your thoughts in anger that you’re going to save yourself” Trooper Jones said.

According to Trooper Jones, if you hear shots, your first step is to run to an exit that is away from the shooter.

‘Sometimes people lock up during fear but if can get out, get out, and try to take as many people with you as you can, without slowing you down” Trooper Jones said.

“If you can get out through a back door, leaving the building itself, that is what we prefer to limit the number of people inside that building.” Lansing Police Sergeant Kevin Schlagel said.

If you cannot avoid or leave the situation the next step is to hide.

Lansing Police Sergeant Kevin Schlagel said employees should try to hide in a secure room, and “deny entry”.

“Deny entry, that is get as many of your coworkers into a room as possible, locking the doors, and then barricading those doors with tables chairs bookcases” Lansing Police Sergeant Kevin Schlagel said.

Trooper Jones of MSP reminds people to put their phones on silent, when hiding, but to call law enforcement as soon as you can.

“You might be the 30th caller or the first caller”  Trooper Marco Jones, Michigan State Police Community Service trooper said.

According to Michigan State police the plan they advise is “Run, Hide and Fight”

Lansing Police have a similar plan “Avoid, Deny, and Defend.”

If you exit, or hide, and are still are faced with a gunman, your next step is to defend yourself and fight.

“There are power in numbers”  Sergeant Kevin Schlagel said, as he advises people to team up and attack an intruder together.

“Just remember anything can be improvised and used as a weapon, it could a coffee pot, to a fire extinguisher, or a chair just make sure you are all acting in concert together” Trooper Jones of MSP said, advising people to use what they can to defend themselves.

MSU professor and homeland security expert

But knowing what to do isn’t enough. Phillip Schertzini teaches Homeland security at MSU and according to him work places need to have more than a plan in place, employers need to put those plans into practice.

“People will often revert to training when under stress and the crisis situation. And if they’ve rehearsed it in a sense they will be able to draw back that mode without spending a lot of time in very stressful situation not doing a lot of thinking about what they should do.” MSU Professor Phillip Schertzini said.

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