With mass shootings on the rise in the US, efforts to better understand, prevent and deter active shooter incidents are becoming commonplace. The means with which an organization begins to implement change to prevent loss of life and decrease response time can be even more difficult to identify. However, recent innovations in design planning and product creation may alter the way organizations prepare for these threats.
When it comes to building design, models such as Run, Hide, Fight can be utilized when hardening facilities to ensure employees are safe from the inside. Are there enough exits for employees to escape through? Is the office design one that would allow employees to barricade or defend themselves and hide from a shooter? Owners may want to consider these questions while weighing the risks and cost effectiveness of making design updates.
New technology is also on the market to detect and communicate threats from within facilities. Products such as Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) allow security personnel to locate the shooter and provide real-time information to law enforcement. Using WiFi, access points or special beacons, along with mobile devices, IPS can pinpoint employee locations and provide messaging capability, no matter where they are in the building. Gunshot Sensors, another preparedness innovation, are specially designed microphones capable of discerning a gunshot from other loud noises and pinpointing the location of the shooter. By immediately notifying law enforcement, the response time can be cut dramatically and there is no reliance on those involved in the ongoing incident to do the reporting.
Pending Related Legislation in NJ
- Introduced in January, 2016, Bill A191 requires school buildings to be equipped with emergency light and panic alarm linked to local law enforcement.
- Introduced in January, 2016, Bill S623 strengthens New Jersey's assault weapons ban
For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Preparedness Bureau at Preparedness@njohsp.gov.