Those words could prove true, according to a study recently released by the NYPD. When faced with a workplace violence incident involving a shooter, employees should head for the nearest filing cabinet and hide…OR start flinging office equipment and supplies.
All joking aside, it turns out the safest spot in the workplace during an active shooter incident—if and when escape is not an option—is behind a filing cabinet. According to the report, most other pieces of office furniture are no match for gunshots.
New York Post reporters Lorena Mongelli and Bill Sanderson write:
Cubicle partitions provided no protection from bullets or shotgun pellets, and desks were little better. But file cabinets stopped bullets from a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson, a 9mm Glock, and a shotgun. Only bullets from an AK-47 passed through.
The recommendations, prepared for building security personnel, are from a Counterterrorism Bureau study of more than 200 “active shooter” incidents over the last 44 years.
The study was prompted by the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Capt. Michael Riggio of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau had the following additional advice for these situations: “Hide in a safe room, cover windows to prevent the shooter from seeing inside, silence cellphones and remain quiet.”
But if faced with the gunman directly, workers must act quickly—perhaps by using anything at hand as a possible weapon. This includes furniture, office supplies, or something that could cause injury to the protagonist. If employees are grouped together, they should try to act together to stop the shooter–but only as a last resort.
This post is not meant to make light of an extremely serious situation; the intent is to convey important information in a way that will stick in the minds of those who read it, should they be faced with an incident that requires quick thinking. Naturally, it would be ideal if such an incident never occurred; then there would be no need for this kind of thinking.