Sadly,most of us has heard the term "active shooter" too many times in the news but this is is one of those terms that is a sign of the times. We should all live without fear but we should be ready in the event we are faced with an active shooter situation. FEMA defines an active shooter as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and other populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims."
Most active shooter situations begin and end within minutes and often continue until stopped by the police, suicide, or intervention. Finding yourself in an active shooter situation may seem like an impossible situation to deal with but there are things you can do to increase your odds of making it out alive. If you find yourself in an active situation, the US Department of Homeland Security recommends the following actions in order: Run, Hide, or Fight.
Run if there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.
* Have an escape route plan in mind.
* Leave your belongings.
* Help others escape if possible.
* Leave regardless if others stay.
* Warn/prevent others from entering.
* Do not attempt to move wounded people.
* Keep your hands visible to the police.
* Follow police instructions.
* Call 911 when safe.
Hide if evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
• Be out of the active shooter’s view.
• Provide protection if shots are fired (for example, an office with a closed and locked door).
• Not restrict options for movement.
To prevent an active shooter from entering a hiding place:
• Lock the door.
• Blockade the door with heavy furniture. This also provides additional protection.
• Close, cover, and move away from any windows.
• Silence your cell phone and/or pager. (Even the vibrate setting can give away a hiding position.)
• Remain quiet.
When possible, provide the following information to the police or 911 operators:
• Location of the active shooter.
• Number of shooters, if more than one.
• Physical description of the shooter(s).
• Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s).
• Number of potential victims at the location.
Fight as a last resort, and if your life is in imminent danger attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.
• Act as aggressively as possible.
• Throw items and use improvised weapons.
• Work together to incapacitate the shooter.
• Commit to your actions.
When you come into contact with the police:
* Remain calm.
* Put down any items.
* Raise hands and spread fingers.
* Avoid quick movements.
* Avoid screaming or yelling.
* Proceed in direction from which officers are entering.
Businesses should develop an emergency plan, conduct training for employees, and managers should recognize indicators of potential workplace violence to reduce to risk of an active shooter occurrence. They should develop an action plan with input from their human resources department, facility owners and/or property managers and local law enforcement. Remember to prepare a plan that considers those with hearing or mobility impairments and those who do not speak English.
The US Department of Homeland Security prepared a booklet for the public titled "Active Shooter, How To Respond" and a student manual titled "Active Shooter, What You Can Do." They contain the information listed above as well as additional information such as how business managers should react, (although it may seem obvious) the role of law enforcement, facility responsibilities, human resources responsibilities, indicators of workplace violence, a self-assessment activity sheet, how to follow up after an incident, managing consequences, and how to analyze what happened and learn from the event.
Please take a moment to read these booklets. The information contained therein may save your life as well as the life of others.
Active Shooter Drill at a School at Western High School in Parma, MI