How To Respond To An Active Shooter

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How To Respond To An Active Shooter

Whether you work in an office or out in the field, take classes at the local college or shop in the grocery store – you’re probably well aware of the risk of an active shooting. The rate of these events isn’t altogether high but the psychological damage they inflict on the psyche of Americans is absolutely staggering. In this article, we’ll attempt to go over what some professional organizations have advocated on how to respond to an active shooting event.

Step 1: Deal With The Immediate Threat

In an active shooting environment, if you are under fire, you are directly being threatened. Your safest bet is to immediately take cover. Cover can come in the form of anything you perceive has a decent ability to deflect your enemy’s attacks. This can come in the form of a dumpster, parked vehicle – anything that is nearby and suitable. Cover doesn’t need to be ideal, it just needs to work until you have the chance to move to safer ground.

Step 2: Dealing With An Imminent Threat

If you are not taking fire, the threat has not come to you, yet. You have time to work out what you’re going to do. And it should start with the following three recommendations from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training playbook.

  • Avoid
  • Deny
  • Fight

Avoid the fight at all costs. This can include sheltering in place and barricading the doors and windows (Deny) and, if need be, improvising a weapon and fighting (Fight).

Step 3: Moving From Cover To Cover Or Sheltering In Place

If your position is not secure – i.e. in a barricaded room or similarly semi-secure location – you need to wager the odds of whether it’s worth moving. Because you cannot necessarily know how many assailants are involved in an active shooting environment or the location of law enforcement responding to the event, you will have to decide whether your current position is safe to stay until the situation is resolved.

If the answer is ‘no’, then identify a more secure location of cover. You should only move from a position of cover if you are reasonably sure that where you’re at is less safe than where you are moving to. Otherwise, you’re just giving your assailant an opportunity to identify your hiding position and press his attack upon it.

Step 4: Identifying Yourself For Law Enforcement

When law enforcement arrives, they’ll likely be in a heightened state due to the danger they’re putting their own lives in to recover and save lives. It’s imperative that when you hear law enforcement moving, you identify yourself and immediately make sure your hands are completely visible. Law enforcement are trained to watch the hands because, as they’re often trained, “hands can hurt you”. Make sure your hands are visible, you make no sudden movements, and comply with all requests.

Do not emerge from cover until the shooting or violence has stopped. You’re not helping law enforcement if you wander out into the middle of a firefight – you’re just exposing yourself and potentially hurting their chances of stopping the assailants.