This morning, we face a dangerous reality. Our personal, professional and educational places of peace are vulnerable to an active shooter incident. People are scared. People feel unprotected and unsafe. How then, do we prepare for one of the most dangerous and potentially devastating days of our lives?
First, let’s define an Active Shooter. An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, Active Shooters use one or more firearms and there is no distinctive pattern or method to their selection of victims. Their actions can be triggered by personal conflict, societal stress or other tragic events. Active Shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop shooting and mitigate harm to victims.
In the last decade, the FBI has reported an increase in Active Shooter Events, totaling about 16 events per year. Mass killings, classified as 3 or more casualties, are also on the rise. Schools, religious locations, movie theaters, public and private agencies have been victims of an Active Shooter situation.
With a heavy heart, I ask you how you would handle and Active Shooter should they walk into your workplace, school or mall today? Many of the people I discuss this with don’t have an answer for me. Yet, we all know what to do during an earthquake or fire drill. There is research, studies and training available for individuals as well as law enforcement on how to prevent and respond during an Active Shooter incident. Today, we recommend the basic three. Run. Hide. Fight.
Run when an Active Shooter is in your vicinity.
- If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate
- Evacuate whether others agree too or not
- Leave your belongings behind
- Help other escape if possible
- Prevent others from entering the area
- Call 911 when you are safe
Hide if evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide.
- Lock and/or blockade the door
- Silence your cell phone
- Hide behind large objects
- Remain very quiet
Fight as a last resort, and only if your life is in danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
- Act with physical aggression
- Improvise weapons
- Commit to your actions
Developed by the FBI, the principles behind Run. Hide. Fight. Helps protect people and mitigate risk and casualties during an active shooter incident.