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Private Park Operators Could Face Legal Liability If They Fail To Prepare For Active Shooter Events

The Towne Law Firm of Albany, N.Y., with offices throughout the Capital Region, Adirondacks, and Northeast recommends that park operators hold regular active shooter training sessions and develop policies and procedures to protect staff during active shooter events
        Private park operators could face legal liability if an employee is injured in an active shooter event due to the lack of well-rounded active shooter event policies and related training, according to legal guidance provided last week to New York campground operators.
        “All aspects of everyday life are facing the risk of being terrorized by an active shooter event, and because of this, businesses ought to have in place policies and instructions regarding the proper manner in which to respond to an active shooter event,” The Towne Law Firm of Albany, N.Y. stated in a memo, which was recently emailed to New York campgrounds by Campground Owners of New York (CONY).
        The Towne Law Firm, which serves as CONY’s outside counsel and a trusted alliance partner of the association, recommends that parks not only develop policies on how staff should prepare and respond to active shooter events, but hold regular active shooter training sessions and develop an active shooter emergency plan.
        Failing to prepare for such events could put park employees, customers and its reputation at risk, the Towne Law Firm stated, “behaving responsibly in this day and age includes formulating an active shooter event policy so that employees are educated as to what protocol needs to be followed to maximize their safety.”
        Active shooter prevention strategies may include a variety of tactics, such as:
        — Instituting a “no firearm” policy in the campground and not allowing employees to carry firearms.
        — Performing Google searches on the names of prospective employees and guests to see if they are connected to any violent crimes or incidents.
        — Implementing a guest tag system, which allows owners or park security to easily distinguish admitted guests from trespassers.
        — Preparing and placing crisis response kits in strategic locations to aid employees and/or guests in the event of an active shooter incident. These kits should include first aid supplies, emergency contact numbers, a map of escape routes, flash lights and radios.
        — Consulting with local law enforcement and emergency response services to develop an emergency action plan to help employees know and understand proper procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation and its aftermath.
        — Identifying evacuation and escape routes and locations in the campground where employees can hide during an active shooter event.
        The Towne Law Firm also highlighted warning signs that can indicate potentially violent behavior, including:
        — Resistance to policy or procedural changes
        — Decreased attention to personal appearance or hygiene
        — Increased severe mood swings
        — Unprovoked outbursts of anger or rage
        — Paranoid behavior
        — Increased unprompted talk of firearms or other weapons or violent crimes
        — Talk of suicide or preparing for death
        — Increased absences with vague or no explanation
        — Increased talk of personal, financial, or domestic issues in the workplace
        — Increased use of drugs or alcohol
        To receive a copy of the guidelines prepared by The Towne Law Firm, please email Suzanne Hopkins at

        About Campground Owners of New York
        Campground Owners of New York is the trade association that represents independent campgrounds and RV parks in New York. Based in Pittsford, CONY provides education, government affairs and marketing services for campgrounds, including hosting, a travel planning website, and publishing a printed directory of New York campgrounds.

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