What businesses can do to prepare for an active shooter situation

There has been a lot of talk about what to do in case of a shooting at a school or a mall. Both have happened here in Western Washington in recent memory. Tonight the issue is workplace security.

It is a topic that is familiar to the director of law enforcement services for Crimestoppers of Puget Sound who has advice on how you can protect yourself if confronted with an active shooter situation in the workplace.

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Jim Fuda was asked if there is a difference if the shooting happens in the workplace, a school or the mall.

"No, said Fuda, who also spent 33 years as a King County sheriff's deputy. "The police will respond the same way. They will go to where the shooting is taking place and neutralize the threat. Neutralize, isolate, contain and then respond with everybody else."

It has become an all too familiar refrain. An active shooter is firing a weapon, indiscriminately, and often innocent people find themselves in harm's way.

When it happened at YouTube's California headquarters, it was at least the sixth deadly workplace shooting – in two years. When the shooting stopped, three people were injured and the suspected shooter was dead.

Fuda says all employees should be intimately familiar with the place where they work.

"You know where you're escape routes are," said Fuda. "What's available to you if you should have to hide. And you know what tools are around you if you should have to fight."

That's right, fight for your life.

"If you can run and you're sure you can, get out run," said Fuda. "And run as far away as you can."

That advice is echoed by former Pierce County sheriff's Sgt. Jesus Villahermosa.

"Running is the number one survival tactic," Villahermosa said. "From the range that guy is shooting at, there's no way he's going to hit a moving target. If you're near the shooter, and you can still hear the gunshots, run, keep running. And I don't mean down around the corner. I mean run, keep running until you can't hear the shooting anymore."

Fuda and Crimestoppers have created a situational awareness video to teach us to be aware of our surroundings whether in a mall, a school, or yes, at work. And to know how to escape. We have seen active shooter training -- like this one we witnessed at Everett Mall. But most often first responders or school children take part in these drills.

Fuda was asked if companies should be providing the drills for employees. "Maybe so," he said. "Maybe so."

Moreover, he says companies should be transparent about potential issues involving employees.

"Say you've got a disgruntled employee that's been fired," he said. "I think people should know about that and pay attention to it. Is his car there? Has he come back? Has he made threats?"

So what are the four things Fuda says people should know in a worst case scenario, like a workplace shooting?

If you can't run stay still, find a safe room or conceal yourself. You should silence your phone. And don't reveal your location until you are sure police have arrived.

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