According to the Washington, DC-based online database, the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting is an incident in which four or more individuals are wounded or killed. In 2015 alone, the U.S. faced 372 such incidents, leaving 475 people dead and 1,870 injured. The shootings in San Bernardino, California and Colorado made national news, but the vast majority of such incidents are not so widely reported. That doesn’t mean that they should be ignored, however—or that boards and managers in multifamily condo, co-op, and HOA communities can assume such a crisis couldn’t happen in their building or association, no matter how safe and harmonious it might feel.
Of course, given the country’s large population, mass shootings are still a relatively rare occurrence—but so are building fires and earthquakes, and any board-management team worth their salt will still have emergency plans in place, should either of those events impact their community. Same goes for violent incidents, including ‘active shooter’ scenarios.
“The good thing to say about the residential arena is that according to a recent FBI study, only about 4.4% of active shooter situations occur in residential environments,” says Bill Leap, vice president of Security Services with Chicago-based Titan Security Services. That said, some communities and their property managers are taking proactive steps to be prepared in case the worst happens, and their building or association is the site of a violent incident.
“In society today, we see more and more of these active shooter situations, some on larger scales than others,” says Asa Sherwood, president of FirstService Residential in Illinois. “We felt it was our duty to put on a training program that would be valuable for our clients, managers, and engineering maintenance staff.”
That’s why on January 27th of this year, FirstService Residential in Illinois held an active shooter seminar for property managers and clients. “It had been brought up a bit before Paris and San Bernardino, but those attacks pushed this to the forefront and we decided to do it now,” says Sherwood.