It is a sad reality of the world today, and one that you must be prepared for. With a topic that is largely driven by fear, keeping a clear head and educating employees may be the best way to maintain a calm perspective about this alarming subject.
When reviewing your security and emergency management plans, certainly there are some key items on the list. You have made sure your security system is functioning properly, that fire safety procedures are in place, and your cybersecurity is protected. But what about a terrorist attack? In addition to the clear need to protect life, including a terrorism action plan simply makes good business sense. Starting with an assessment of your building may be necessary. The first line of defense is making sure they cannot enter the building. Make sure every single entrance point of the building is secured with some form of electronic access control, and double-up if necessary. With access control, it's about what you have (key cards), what you know (pin numbers or passwords), and who you are (biometric screening).
In the unfortunate scenario in which a terrorist gains access to your facility and an exit is not possible due to threats outside of the building, designating areas of your building as secure locations (i.e. "safe rooms" or "panic rooms") where employees can lock down may help prevent unnecessary loss of life. While a full-blown panic room may not be feasible or necessary for many organizations, having a designated safe zone that can at least temporarily protect employees should be equipped with video surveillance monitors and a separate phone line to call the authorities.
Mass notification systems can also benefit during an attack. Having all employees receive a message, whether it is in the form of an alarm, text message, email, or otherwise, will help alert employees to clear an area before an attacker ever reaches them.
An employee action plan should also be in place for those responsible for securing the building. Make sure that employees tasked with guarding your facility are able to quickly identify an unfolding attack and immediately notify the authorities.
Finally, practice but do not frighten the people who work there. Practice should be done in a way that emphasizes calmness and strategic execution of the safety action plan, and minimizes the sense of panic for them. The focus on the assessment and planning stages will prove invaluable when the time comes to install your physical security system. As integrators work with the organizations that help you with your planning, we rely heavily on their assessment of your building to ensure you have the proper security equipment installed to do the job. While "fear is the mother of foresight" as Thomas Hardy says, keeping that fear in check will help you think clearly, keep control, and stay safe.