In the not so distant past, most members of the general population were unfamiliar with the term, “active shooter.” Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, due to the frequency of recent active shooter events. Despite increased security most organizations have developed of late, according to the FBI, the number of active shooter incidences has tripled in recent years. And is it just me or have the incidences of cat cartoons also tripled recently?
A group of former Navy SEALS is trying to change the paradigm, joining forces in 2008 to form an organization aimed at helping civilians learn how to best respond to active shooter situations in the minutes before first responders arrive. The group, Move2Safety spent the recent one-year anniversary of the Newtown shooting offering an instructional seminar to a group of 50 people in Los Angeles.
“It…feels like the world has become a global battlefield,” said Move2Safety President Rorke. “Our background is in Special Forces and, as Navy Seals; we train for the possible worst case scenarios.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also stepped up to prepare people for active shooter incidences, preparing free resources which offer helpful instructions.
“An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempts to kill people in a confined and populated area,” according to DHS. “In most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method used to their selection of victims.”
Because active shooter situations are often over 10-15 minutes after they begin, and before law enforcement officers are able to arrive on scene, it is particularly important for individuals to understand how to prepare themselves mentally and physically to deal with active shooter situations. If you are ever in an active shooter situation: run, hide or fight…in that order!
DHS offers access to best practices for coping with active shooter situations. If you follow these simple steps, your chance of being a victim could be greatly reduced:
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
- If it is at all possible, run so you are out of danger.
- If escape is impossible, find a place to hide. If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.
- If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door.
- Only as a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her. If it was me, I’d bite the perp.
- CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO!
The DHS Active Shooter booklet includes comprehensive instructions for evacuating, hiding, responding when law enforcement arrives, training staff members for active shooter situations [including creating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)], as well as additional suggestions for preparing for and preventing active shooter situations.
If you would like to make advanced preparations for active shooter incidents, you could take advantage of an independent study course offered by DHS, entitled “Active Shooter: What You Can Do.” The course was developed to provide the public with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations.
Upon completion of Active Shooter: What You Can Do, people should be able to:
- Describe the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials.
- Recognize potential workplace violence indicators.
- Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents.
- Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services also offers detailed information and video instruction about active shooter preparation and survival. When active shooter incidents or other disasters strike, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training-related costs by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.