On November 13, a string of coordinated terrorist attacks rocked Paris and the world. Suicide bombers and active shooters struck a concert hall, a stadium and other public venues. 35019056_s

Watching the tragic events unfold on the other side of the world may prompt facility managers to ask themselves: How can I protect employees and the public from such attacks in my facility?

A recent FBI study revealed that active shooter incidents are on the rise in the United States, and businesses open to pedestrian traffic are the most frequent location for such attacks.

Facility managers have little power to prevent active shooter incidents, but they can prepare to respond in a crisis. In a crisis, three considerations are crucial:

Assessment. The ability to quickly identify a threat is key. Are employees prepared to swiftly assess a threat? Will they be placed at risk when making an assessment?

Accurate Information. Are employees and others equipped to relay accurate and timely information about the threat’s location, appearance and activities to the authorities?

Response. Once the threat has been assessed and accurate information has been gathered, authorities must be notified immediately.

These three considerations are greatly impacted by one key element: the human factor. In a crisis situation, panic can cloud judgement, and the very real threat of physical danger may prevent people from assessing, gathering accurate information and alerting authorities to respond.

Even excellent planning, training and preparation can’t overcome humans’ emotional and physical limitations.

How can facility managers overcome this limitation? By considering the installation of automated systems that detect threats and respond instantly.

Automated systems such as ECT Services’ Active Shooter Detection System reduce or eliminate human limitations in active shooter crises by automatically detecting threats, triggering mass notifications and lockdowns, and notifying authorities with accurate and timely information. All of these actions can take place without relying on human intervention.

Mitigating the risk of human limitations in a crisis by automating systems could save the lives of employees and guests.