Although mass shootings do happen in workplaces like the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed earlier this month, small businesses are more likely to be the setting for gun violence — dozens of attacks happen at companies every year, killing hundreds of people. Many of the attackers are disgruntled current or former employees, or staffers’ angry relatives or rejected lovers.
“Preparedness includes being on the lookout for signs that employees are struggling with emotional issues that could result in violence,” says Tom Miller, CEO of ClearForce, a company that makes software to help employers determine if an employee might be a risk.
A staffer who is angry and isolated could be a cause for concern, for example. Similarly, if a staffer confides to another that they’re being subjected to domestic violence, or is being threatened by a relative or partner, owners need to know.
Owners tend to think about active shooter preparedness when there’s a mass shooting, Miller says. But as time goes by, their fears subside and many won’t follow up and get their companies prepared.
“Anything you can do in advance of that situation is going to be 100 times better than the moment when it becomes a critical situation for an organization,” says Miller.