Last night was not just another night at the movies for citizens in Aurora, Colorado. Police have the suspect in custody that opened fire in a crowded movie theater, leaving at least 12 dead and dozens more wounded. This event underscores the unpredictability of where and when these incidents can occur, and that it’s imperative for retailers to have guidelines in place to keep as many patrons and employees safe as possible.
It’s not hard to imagine the panic going through the minds of everyone involved. Witnesses reported that the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door and threw a gas canister before opening fire. Within minutes, the emergency alarm was sounded and the evacuation began as police rushed in to find the suspect.
Retailers with active shooter guidelines recognize these preparations are critical to training employees for what to do in these difficult situations. Preparation and communication of safety procedures is a must as this is another unfortunate example that regardless of the hour of the day, these tragic incidents do happen. The need for retailers to proactively work with public sector officials and law enforcement on emergency procedures is also vital so that when these tragedies do happen, the response can be as instinctive as possible.
Crisis planning does and will save lives. Incidents like these are impossible to forecast, but not to prepare for.