Guide to Respond to an Active Shooter

May 16, 2016

An active shooter is an armed person who is engaged in the activity of unidentifiably shooting people in crowded or populated places. Most often, an active shooter does not kill targeted or assigned people. History proves that active shooting is an unpredictable act. An active shooter may use any type of explosive material including radioactive or chemical explosives or use armor to kill people. There is no proper pattern of shooting people in active shooting.
According to the estimates, if authorities immediately inform the law enforcement agencies then the active shooting activity lasts for 10 to 15 minutes. The immediate response of the targeted public is anxiety, resulting in stampeding and attracting the shooter. Naturally, it is difficult to maintain your senses and respond to the active shooter like a professional security provider.

However, there are a few good practices, which can help you save your life as well as that of others.

Preparation Practices
• If you are in a closed vicinity or room and terrorist activity has just erupted outside, then immediately secure and lock the room.
• When visiting public places or gatherings, always take note of the nearest two exits.
• If you are in an open area like a hallway, then try to enter a secure room and lock it from the inside.
• Beware of the people around you.

Employee Training to Respond to an active Shooter
• Always create an Emergency Action Plan that includes immediate exits, and places where fire extinguishers are installed.
• Include the important emergency and law enforcement agency numbers in the plan.
• Install an emergency notification system like alarms.
• Prepare Emergency Escape Route and procedure to escape from the location of active shooter. This route greatly depends on the infrastructure and construction of your office building.
• Hire a security firm like SSI Protection to provide fundamental security training to your employees.
• Prepare a floor plan and train employees to divide into groups.

How to Respond When Law Enforcement Arrives?
During a panicky situation, it is difficult to differentiate between terrorists and law enforcement personnel. Remember that the law enforcement will be wearing proper uniforms and will guide you. Make sure to take your hands down and follow their instructions. The law enforcement personnel will never point a gun towards civilians. It is highly important to take your hands down and restrict your movements as the law enforcement personnel also need to differentiate between the shooter and the civilians. You should:
• Stay calm.
• Keep your hands visible.
• Avoid yelling.
• Do not question the law enforcement personnel or stop them.
• Put down any items like jackets, backpacks, and handbags.

The personnel will secure you from the situation and request you to provide some information. The most important information to provide includes:
• Number of shooters
• Location of shooter
• Number and type of weapons
• Physical description of the shooter
• Estimate of the potential victims at the shooting location

Many people want to volunteer at the shooting locations. It is highly recommended that you should volunteer only if you are a professionally trained individual. For professional training, contact SWAT Security International Inc.