A new white paper by Everbridge advises that how a company manages the hours, days and weeks following such a crisis is crucial for its operations and employees’ well-being. The study, Active Shooter Incident Consequence Management and the Roadmap to Recovery, offers a four-phase approach for businesses to use following a violent incident:

  1. Immediate Response/Pre-Recovery, which occurs in the minutes and hours following a crisis and when life safety and survival are the top priorities. Accountability, family reunification and media management are additional critical tasks once authorities have secured the workplace and crime scene.
  2. Early Recovery, the most intensive phase, comprises the “hours-to-days along the incident timeline” that sees company managers liaising with hospitals, offering mental health support through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), addressing human resources concerns and invoking the business continuity plan, among other important actions.
  3. Mid-Recovery can be in the week-to-months following an active shooting incident, and is often when some sense of normalcy returns to the workplace and business operations. During this time, there may be some criminal or civil litigation underway and it is the “reasonable time frame” to create an After-Action Report (AAR) to reassess the incident and develop a corrective plan or update the current one. It is also the time to begin planning the one-year anniversary with a high level of employee involvement, which “is an important milestone in individual and organizational recovery, but can also be complicated and emotional.”
  4. Long-Term Recovery is marked by the one-year anniversary and beyond, although “the physical and emotional impact of an active shooter incident can linger for decades, and sometimes an entire lifetime.” According to the report, mass shootings represent the greatest risk for acute traumatic stress disorders among the affected, compared against other types of critical incidents, like natural disasters.