Active shooter events can occur anywhere at any time and frequently involve individuals attempting to kill others indiscriminately. These events are unpredictable and can evolve quickly. For this reason, whenever you enter a building as an employee, guest, or customer, you must be prepared and know what it is you will do if faced with the worst-case scenario, even if it’s just another day at the office.
When startled by a gunshot, it’s a natural human reaction to freeze. Unfortunately, this response leaves you vulnerable to what might come next. If you see someone frozen in place in this type of situation, make your best attempt to assist them.
If you can’t easily evacuate, the best option is to hide, lock the door, stay close to the ground, and try to find cover from any stray gunfire that may penetrate the walls. If you’re able, call 911.
When possible, the best alternative in an active shooter event is to run.
If your path is clear and you can safely reach an exit, evacuate as soon as possible. Of course, some may not have such easy access to a safe exit. In these situations, you must decide for yourself whether it is best to evacuate or to hide.
As with any of these options, if you do choose to run, commit to this action. And remember police will be arriving to assist you and to evacuate the wounded, so be sure to keep your hands up and empty as you clear the building.
Otherwise put simply, don’t stop running.
Once clear of danger, contact 911 to assist their response by providing them information about the shooter, the weapons they are carrying and the number of wounded that may still need medical assistance. If you have been unable to evacuate and are trapped in the facility during an active shooter situation, remember making the decision to hide does not prevent you from putting up a fight later. If you are confronted by the active shooter, you must assume that your actions are all that stand between yourself, your colleagues and grave harm.
Fight for your life.
Search around you for sharp or heavy objects that you may use to disable the attacker. Collaborate with those around you to ensure you aren’t acting alone. You’re acting for your survival, so do not hold back and do not stop fighting until you know beyond certainty that you are safe.
Committing to run, to hide or to fight will keep you safer than if you freeze during a crisis. Remember to prioritize your safety. If you come across those who are wounded, may need assistance, assist them if you can, but do not let them inhibit your escape.
As an individual, the most important thing you can do to keep yourself safe – whether it is to run, hide or to fight – is to commit to your decision and to continuously re-evaluate the situation.
If you own a business or operate a large public facility, you may be able to better enable individual response to such events by identifying emergency escape routes and exits.
Design evacuation plans
Use this information to design evacuation plans that can be used by employees and guests to your facility. Reach out to law enforcement to see if they’ll come to your facility and assist you in drafting your response plan or guide you to training that may assist employees in their survival. Remember this training may be the difference between life or death.
See about technology you may be able to incorporate to make your facilities safer which may include audio or visual cues for those with access and functional needs.
Plan and train your employees
Plan for and train your employees to assist those who may not be able to run, hide or fight. Equip them with a first aid or a go kit, an emergency ladder in case you’re not on the first story and explore the possibility of mass notification technologies which may enable you to alert those in the area of any present dangers.
Of course, the hope is that neither you nor any of your friends or colleagues will ever be confronted with an active shooter situation. However, should the worst case occur, know that you can always run, hide, or fight.
To best prepare your staff for an active shooter situation, create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), and conduct training exercises. First Choice Detective Agency provides resources for conducting such training exercises.
For more information on creating an EAP contact Tony Daley at: https://firstchoicedetectiveagency.com
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security