Falls Church, Virginia – A Fairfax County business decided to run a “drill” for an active shooter on Thursday. Problem: they didn’t notify police, and one employee thought it was real.
Somebody didn’t get the memo
The employee called the police, and all sorts of police officers descended on the business. They had no knowledge of the drill and neither did all the employees. Employees huddled in offices, locked their doors and stayed away from windows as police searched the building.
“An email went out that was initially to be a drill internally to one of the tenants inside [the building]. That email was distributed to another employee and that employee interpreted it as being real. At that point, that employee called 911 basically reading what the email said, which was an active shooter was inside the building.” Fairfax County Police Officer Roger Henriquez
The business’ definition of a drill was to send out an email that read “dangerous incident” and “shelter in place.” A plan which served not to train people on what to do in the event of a problem, but instead, frightened the employees.
For a 45 minute jaunt through the dangerous world of police responses, it is possible the business that failed to properly identify the drill could be liable for the cost of the incident. Far worse than a false burglar alarm, this particular incident could have resulted in someone being shot to death.
This incident also resulted in two schools, Wakefield High School and Claremont Immersion school, being locked down for a short period of time. Employees who spoke to Fox5 said that they huddled in offices, terrified that there really was an active shooter in the building.
So a word of advice: if you want to train your employees about an active shooter situation, call police FIRST and give them a heads up. Police also suggested clearly identifying the situation by placing signs that say “Active Shooter Training in Progress” on doors.
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