Responding to Active Shooter Incidents
Losing a loved one to a random act of violence is unthinkable. Unfortunately, recent events serve to remind us that we are not immune from these types of tragedies. An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Most active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Because most incidents are over within minutes, we must be prepared to deal with the situation until law enforcement personnel arrive. And, preparedness and awareness are the keys to helping protect our employees, our customers, and ourselves.
How To Respond
Evacuate: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.
Hide out: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
Take action: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:
- Warn individuals not to enter an area where the active shooter may be.
- Have an escape route and plan in mind. Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Help others escape, if possible.
- Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
- Keep your hands visible.
- Follow the instructions of any police officers.
- Do not attempt to move wounded people.
- Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
If safe evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
Your hiding place should:
- Be out of the active shooter’s view.
- Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door).
- Not trap you or restrict your options for movement.
To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:
- Lock the door.
- Blockade the door with heavy furniture.
- Close, cover, and move away from windows.
As an absolute last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter:
- Act as aggressively as possible against him/her.
- Throw items and improvise weapons.
- Commit to your actions.
For more detailed information, including what law enforcement’s response will be and information for employers and businesses, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA website: http://emilms.fema.gov/IS907/AS01summary.htm