The following is a video transcript.
Active shooter situations are on the rise, and unfortunately, you never know when you might be caught in one. In the workplace, you’re particularly vulnerable because many companies prohibit the possession of firearms, even if you have a permit or a license to carry. Some companies have tighter building security, designated shelter-in-place locations, and active shooter training for their employees. But for the purpose of this video, we’re going to focus on what you, as the individual, can do during an active shooter incident in the workplace.
There are many three-word strategies out there that address what to do during an active shooter incident, like:
- Run, hide, fight;
- Move, escape, attack; and
- Lockdown, evade, fight.
Fundamentally, they’re all saying the same thing. Get out of the building if you can, hide if you can’t get out safely, and fight if you have to. How this plays out during an active shooter event is completely circumstantial. Your use of situational awareness is critical in determining the proper course of action.
Number 1: Know your surroundings
First and foremost, you need to understand your surroundings and should already be familiar with where the exits are in the building. If your company has designated shelter-in-place areas, know where they are. Run may not be your first option, especially if your workplace only has one exit. If the shooter’s outside of that exit, you need to hide and lockdown in a room. You should not try to run unless there’s another safe way out. You should also consider your options for improvised exits, like a chair or table through a window.
Number 2: Know your capabilities
Another key factor is knowing your physical and mental capabilities. Are you able to run up and down the stairwell if need be? When you hear the gunshots, can you mentally picture where the shooter may be in the building? For some people, running to an exit may not even be an option, so they need to find a safe place to hide. When it comes to hiding, many people think of hiding under their desk.
However, hiding under a desk and waiting it out is not a plan. Go to a room, barricade the door with whatever you can, and turn off the lights. If you’re in a room with others, don’t huddle up together. Spread out and try and arm every person with something that can be thrown, swung, or otherwise used as a weapon.
Number 3: Attack, Disorient and Watch for Opportunities
Most shooters are not expecting resistance, so if the shooter manages to get in the room, do everything you can to attack and disorient them. If the shooter’s distracted even for only a few seconds, that can buy enough time for you or others to attack and overwhelm them and end the whole thing. There are other opportunities to attack as well, like a jammed weapon, a magazine change, or the shooter focusing on other targets, which can be used to your advantage as well.
Again, this is all based on your mental and physical capabilities, as well as the particular circumstances when the shooting begins. Once the shooting starts, don’t hesitate. Quickly evaluate whether you can get to or create any exits that are not in the direction of the shooter. If you have to hide, have a plan on where you will go, how you will secure the room, and what may be available for use as a weapon.
Number 4: Fight
Finally, if you have to fight, fight like your life depends on it, and take advantage of the fact that the shooter probably won’t be expecting it. Your actions and the actions of those around you in the first 60 seconds can make the difference in your survival.
Stay tuned for future episodes where we will explore how to respond in active shooter situations in different locations, and how the presence of your firearm or your family alter how you respond.
Click here to get a free guide “Top 5 Things to Know: To Ensure Your Survival in an Active Shooter Incident.”