How You Should Respond to an 'Active Shooter'

You’re in the Mall, or your insurance office, or your stock brokers and suddenly you hear gunshots, The shots are close! What do you do? Where do I go? How do I get to Safety? Here are Homeland Security Guidelines on how to respond to an active shooter situation. The key element is to make an immediate assessment and follow a plan. In these times of terrorism, disgruntled employees, and sick individuals, along with plain old criminals it is wise to take a moment, read this article, and then as you travel and do chores, go to the mall, enter any confined space, take a couple seconds to make a quick plan for emergency exits. If you practice this it soon becomes routine and you will find that you always have a plan at hand.

Folks in Europe Africa and the Middle East have been dealing with this for even longer than we have here with the IRA in the 70’s and 80’s, the Bader Meinhoff Gang in the 80’s, and the Arab Israeli conflict since 1947 .  The actions listed below have worked and saved lives, The key is have a plan, stay as calm as you can, and if you are in immanent danger, then fight like your life depends on it because it does.   

HOW TO RESPOND

QUICKLY DETERMINE THE MOST REASONABLE WAY TO PROTECT YOUR OWN LIFE.

CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS ARE LIKELY TO FOLLOW THE LEAD OF EMPLOYEES AND MANAGERS DURING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION.

Contact your building management or human resources department

for more information and training on active shooter response in your workplace.

WHEN AN ACTIVE SHOOTER IS IN YOUR VICINITY

HOW TO RESPOND

1. EVACUATE

• Have an escape route and plan in

mind

• Leave your belongings behind

• Keep your hands visible

2. HIDE OUT

• Hide in an area out of the active

shooter’s view.

• Block entry to your hiding place

and lock the doors

3. TAKE ACTION

• As a last resort and only when

your life is in imminent danger.

• Attempt to incapacitate the active

shooter

• Act with physical aggression and

throw items at the active shooter

WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES ON THE SCENE

1. HOW YOU SHOULD REACT WHEN LAW ENFORCEMENT ARRIVES:

• Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions

• Immediately raise hands and spread fingers

• Keep hands visible at all times

• Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as

attempting to hold on to them for safety

• Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling

• Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when

evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which

officers are entering the premises

CALL 911 WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO

2. INFORMATION YOU SHOULD PROVIDE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT OR 911 OPERATOR:

• Location of the active shooter

• Number of shooters, if more than one

• Physical description of shooter/s

• Number and type of weapons held

by the shooter/s

• Number of potential victims at the location

RECOGNIZING SIGNS

OF POTENTIAL WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

AN ACTIVE SHOOTER MAY BE A CURRENT OR FORMER EMPLOYEE. ALERT YOUR HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT IF YOU BELIEVE AN EMPLOYEE EXHIBITS POTENTIALLY VIOLENT BEHAVIOR. INDICATORS OF

POTENTIALLY VIOLENT BEHAVIOR MAY INCLUDE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:

• Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs

• Unexplained increase in absenteeism, and/or vague physical complaints

• Depression/Withdrawal

• Increased severe mood swings, and noticeably unstable or emotional responses

• Increasingly talks of problems at home

• Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes

In the Military we always said “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. The above actions do work, they soon become second nature if you practice developing the plan everywhere you go and reconfirming it every time you go back.

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Comments 17 comments

Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 6 years ago from Canada

Violence scares the hey out of me to the point that I would probably faint,lol, but the need to learn to react appropriately is important as violence is increasing. Great information and tips, thank you. :) thank you.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Very good advice. I agree with it as far as being an unarmed citizen.

I would add, 1.Don't go stupid places 2. Don't do stupid things. Your actions and places you go directly effect the odds of your coming under attack.

I carry a firearm concealed every where I go. I am licensed by the state of Arizona. If the premises are marked as "no guns" I go somewhere else.

Above my military background, I have trained with Gabe Suarez in northern Arizona, for pistol and active shooter situations.

As a Marine I will move towards the sound of gun fire.

If you carry, get some training, practice and hone your skills, your, as well as your families life may depend on it.

Learn the three conditions. Condition white, you are oblivious to your surroundings, bad.

Condition yellow, your walking with your head up and are aware of your surroundings and people, good.

Condition RED, you are aware of or have entered a situation that calls for fight or flight. Good and bad.

Most excellent post on a condition that I fear will only get worse.

First and foremost, escape and evade is your best tool if you have that option.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Great advice. I think I should print it and memorize it. Thanks very much.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Big John - Very timely and useful advice. I have to also go along with 50 Caliber's comments. Thanks to you both. Gus


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Dame Scribe - Ordinary folks face these situations almost daily, all are scared, (it's healthy to be so) but if you think about it regularly you can squeeze the fear and replace it with the action of a plan. Like the others have said and I repeat flee if you can. hide if you can, if those are not options fight like hell!.

50 Cal Thanks for the supplemental info, I had thought of mentioning concealed carry but that would be a whole nother hub. I tried to cover it as a come as you are situation. Great Advice that I heartily endorse.

Bpop - you're gonna need an ink refill soon I think, (will have more to say on Texas soon as well)

Gus Thanks Lad..

To all thanks for stopping by and commenting!


C.J. Wright 6 years ago

Very good HUB. I suspect that this type of information will be needed more and more here at home. I would hope that anyone with a CC permit pay's attention to .50's comments regarding the phsycological aspects of being armed. The CC permit course I went to doesn't really address it, I imagine most don't.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

CJ Wright - Thanks for stopping by! 50 cal called it straight up. Read and heed.


ivori profile image

ivori 6 years ago from Titusville

Having been associated with military personnel, drills, and other exercises, I've found fear becomes secondary to survival. Great hub, Hmrjmr1, thank you!


eovery profile image

eovery 6 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

I think I would either run, take cover or, do the bear trick, play dead - depending on the situation.

I had a neighbor who went to Vietnam and he said playing toy guns as a kid saved his life. His comrades, who had not played toy guns did not know how to move not duck and many of them were killed in action. So I feel there is a good side of letting your children play with guns. I hope the military is doing a better job now training.

Keep on hubbing!


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

eovery - Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Whichever you do, it is now something you've taken a moment to think about in advance. That's the key, Thanks!


readytoescape profile image

readytoescape 6 years ago from Central Florida

Hmrjmr

Great hub, very good info. Maintaining a constant state of awareness to your surroundings is key. Just as in driving a car, seeing everything 360 degrees around you and running accident scenerios and preplanning reactions through your mind as you drive provides for quicker moves and can save your life, the lives of your loved ones and someone else.

Of course, for me anyway, in the active shooter scenerio the best method to end an attack is engagement. I rarely leave the house unarmed and I am licensed to carry a concealed weapon, I have also gone to the additional effort beyond basic gun safety to train for such a possibilty. While this method is perhaps not for everyone, I find the best defense is being prepared with a good offense. In the 15 years I have been carrying, twice I have been forced to pull my weapon in defense during attempted robberies, and fortunately I can say I never had been forced to fire nor was I robbed or injured.


Army Infantry Mom profile image

Army Infantry Mom 6 years ago

Too say that this is important information isn't enough,..It's crutial information in these days and times. I have always had a plan of action on every job I worked at,..It's almost second nature to me, perhaps its because I was raised by a WW2 Vet. I am glad to see this being addressed, hopefully many will read it and perhaps it will save a life as well.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Thanks AIM - Spread the word..Save a life..


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Excellent hub, will link it to mine on women's self defense gadgets in a link capsule. Well done :)


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Thanks MH2003 Yours is great as well! Link is posted.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 6 years ago

Good information. The one time none of this would do any good is if you're shot from behind.

I was once held up at gunpoint in a motel room. The robber busted the door in and held the gun to my head as he demanded money, credit cards, and keys to the vehicle. I was paralyzed with fear and I could not scream or cry. An angel must have been on my shoulder that night and allowed me to live.

Thanks for sharing.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA Author

Trish Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you came through it OK. You have a great angel..GBY

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