The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and the Department of Education have determined the option-based Run-Hide-Fight system is the standard of care and best practice for active shooter response. Obviously, not every human-based threat or intrusion requires staff to make Run-Hide-Fight decisions. These instances typically require Heightened Security procedures.
Under Heightened Security procedures, the focus of the facility, be it a courthouse, bank or school, shifts its from normal business operations to security. This may be a total focus on security, or business may continue, but with security-based restrictions.
“Lockdown” sends an unclear message to occupants and is likely to be confused with an active shooter situation. Any number of situations or threats can create the need for Heightened Security. These may range from a threat of school or workplace violence, a bomb threat, or even civil unrest. What measures are taken to increase security depend upon several factors. These factors can include:
- The Nature of the Threat
- The Mission of the Facility
- The Architecture of the Facility
- Law Enforcement Presence and/or Response Times
Based on the above factors, leaders can determine which measures are most prudent and communicate guidance to occupants. Potential Heightened Security measures include:
- Request Law Enforcement Presence
- Secure Entrances
- Review Emergency Plans
- Increase Security Patrols/Staffing
- Cancel Outdoor Activities
- Monitor Entrances
- Restrict Interior Movement/Hallway Access
- Secure Offices/Classrooms
- Alter Meal Periods
- Alter Arrival/Dismissal Times
Any communication should utilize plain language such as “Attention, we have a situation that requires heightened security. All outdoor activities are cancelled. Students report immediately to your scheduled class and teachers restrict hallway access.” Additional information may be shared as appropriate.
Heightened security procedures take advantage of advanced warning time and enable facility leaders to mitigate the threat and provide guidance to occupants. If the threat creating the need for heightened security escalates occupants will be better prepared to implement Run-Hide-Fight options.
Coordinate all planning efforts with local agencies and stay safe!
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