In today’s uncertain world, being well prepared for chaos in advance is crucial. This is especially true for businesses and corporations who may be at risk of experiencing an Active Shooter event. An Active Shooter is likely to seek out high-population zones, such as shopping malls, large corporations, factories, or hospitals.
Training your security staff to recognize, defend, and recover from an Active Shooter situation is an important step in protecting those who frequent your business, employees or consumers alike. Understanding how and why law enforcement uses certain protocols and why Active Shooter training is important when responding to these events can increase your chances of survival.
Once local police or security have received a request for assistance, they will head to the scene. In most situations, local police are the first to assess the scene, but security personnel or even plain clothes officers may arrive before them 43% of incidents ceased before law enforcement arrived .
Be aware that some officers may come in undercover; however, they will be able to present identification if you request it. By wearing plain clothes and/or dressing in a way that masks their identity, officers can prevent the shooter from realizing that the police have arrived – this gives law enforcement the element of surprise.
An officer may give a direct command, which you and any staff members should try to follow as best you can. Officers may seem blunt and may come across as commandeering or even slightly rude; understand that this is a tactic used to keep control of the situation, rather than a personal slight.
Assess the Scene
Once officers have arrived, they will immediately begin to assess the scene. They may or may not ask for assistance from local security personnel, especially if they have Active Shooter training. Staff and individuals within the building can make or break the officer’s work, depending on what they do within this period of time.
During this time, any staff members who are able to escape safely should run, notifying or taking as many other people with them as possible on the way out. Though it sounds harsh, if someone refuses to leave, other staff members should leave them behind. It is important you worry about your own safety first.
Team members who are unable to escape should secure their space and deny the shooter access to their area whenever possible. This may include locking the door, blocking entrances with furniture, or hiding in an unlikely place like a closet or boiler room.
Team members who make first contact with law enforcement should be trained to drop weapons and/or items immediately, and to raise their hands with fingers spread to show that they are not a threat. In an Active Shooter situation, chaos may lead to bystanders being momentarily handcuffed until law enforcement can verify that they are not the shooter. All individuals should be aware of this ahead of time and not to panic or resist if it does happen.
Secure the Scene
The next priority for law enforcement is to secure the scene. This can happen in a number of ways but most commonly begins with officers relocating affected people to a safe location. Once everyone is out, they will then work on neutralizing the shooter. In some cases, this just isn’t possible.
If the shooter is injuring people actively, or threatens to, or has hostages within his presence, officers may attempt to negotiate. However, if the risk is too high, they may attempt to neutralize the shooter first rather than negotiate.
Participants who cannot escape should attempt to put up a fight. By working as a team, employees and clients increase the likelihood of taking the shooter down with as few casualties as possible. Self-defense classes, in advance of a situation, can dramatically increase the likelihood of staff members successfully stopping a shooter and staying alive.
Whether your business is small, medium, or large, being prepared for an Active Shooter situation is key. That’s why hosting Active Shooter drills and keeping onsite personnel trained and ready to respond is so important. For more information on how to prevent casualties and secure your business through staff training, reach out to the team at Alamom today.