“When it is safe to do so!”
Below are a few tips from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the event that you are suddenly in the area that an Active Shooter is present…….
Good practices for coping with an active shooter situation
• Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
• Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
• If you are in an ofﬁce, stay there and secure the door
• If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
• As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at
close range and you cannot ﬂee, your chance of survival is much greater if you
try to incapacitate him/her.
WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Active Shooter How to Respond
Two horrific incidents, one in Aurora, Colorado and the other in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, have caused many in the security industry to
review their policies and training associated with the active shooter phenomenon. The MSA Research & Intelligence Analysis Group
has compiled this informational bulletin to assist security personnel to be better prepared to address the active shooter threat.
Active shooters remain a viable threat for the simplicity of attack and
high impact, achieved in a relatively short amount of time. For
example, in just under 15 minutes, James Holmes killed 12 people
and left 58 others injured during his shooting spree at a movie
theater in Aurora, Colorado last month. By comparison, Sueng-Hui
Cho killed 33 people, including himself, and wounded 17 more in
less than 11 minutes during the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. More
than half of active shooter incidents are terminated in 12 minutes,
which corresponds to the average initial police response time.
Within the last five years, there have been at least 14 prominent,
high-casualty producing active shooter incidents (listed on left). Most of these cases have occurred in
locations where the shooter has been undeterred and unobstructed from carrying out their attack.
The incident locations have often been described as “soft targets” with limited active security
measures or armed personnel to provide protection for members of the public. In most instances,
shooters have either taken their own lives, been shot by police, or surrendered when forced with a
confrontation by law enforcement. According to New York City Police Department (NYPD) statistics,
46% of active shooter incidents are ended by the application of force by police or security, 40% end in
the shooter’s suicide, 14% of the time the shooter surrenders or, in less than 1% of cases, the violence
ends with the attacker fleeing.
Due to the rapid and dynamic nature of active shooter attacks and their propensity to occur against
soft targets and unarmed persons, security personnel must be trained and prepared to address these
deadly attacks by recognizing characteristics associated with past attackers, maintaining a situational
awareness, and developing countermeasures.
Although the following factors alone do not indicate that an individual will commit a violent act, these
characteristics have been commonly associated with past perpetrators of active shooter incidents:
Changes in health or hygiene
Feels victimized, makes threats
Fascination with weapons
Dependence on alcohol or drugs
Is involved in a troubled, workrelated romantic situation
Suffers dramatic personality
swings / depression
Evidence of psychosis
Male < 45
Loner, usually quiet, with defiant
outbursts, emotionally unstable
History of violence
Elevated frustration level
Pathological blamer or complainer
Strained work relationships
It is not always possible to recognize the aforementioned characteristics when you are either unfamiliar with the normal behavior
associated with the subject or the normal tempo of the location you are staffing. No matter where you are or who you deal with,
you should always have the presence of mind to identify potentially hostile situations. Maintain your situational awareness by:
Having a rudimentary mental plan in the event of an
Focusing your attention on your environment
Looking out for odd or threatening behavior
Knowing the location of other security personnel
Identifying nearest exits
Taking note of unattended packages
Noting the locations of alarm pull stations
The necessity for countermeasures and mitigation are crucial to the prevention of this seemingly increasing act of extreme violence.
A clear example can be observed by looking at the recent thwarted active shooter attack attempt on August 15 at the Family
Research Council in Washington, DC. A lone gunman attempted to enter the facility with a handgun and approximately 50 rounds of
ammunition. Due to the facility’s effective policies for visitors and its well-trained, knowledgeable, and capable security staff which
properly enforced such policies, a catastrophe was averted. The time is now to review your existing plans. It is not sufficient to say
the plan is good enough and it probably won’t happen here. You must be proactive in your approach:
Adopt a written zero tolerance policy for threats and violence.
Update and review emergency response plans to include an active shooter component.
o A security force should be able to provide a tactical response capability to bridge the gap between the incident
initiation and law enforcement response.
o Have a plan, train your employees and exercise your plan to identify shortcomings.
Train staff to include security (armed and unarmed), supervisors, management, and administrative personnel on the active
o Conduct training at your facility on conflict resolution, recognizing threats, past incidents, and company policies.
o Train employees on what to do if in active shooter incident occurs.
Include an intelligence component to your security program.
o Security teams should be briefed on real-time threat information, including evolving threats, tactics and trend analysis.
Review and institute administrative controls with elements including:
o Employee confidential information hotline
o Employee assistance program-counseling
o Pre-employment screening
o Employee termination policy
o Crisis management team
o Internal and external communication plans
Modernize existing engineering controls.
o Have a professional facility security risk survey performed, including a review and update of facility screening
procedures and visitor management systems.
o Institute active security measures to supplement security personnel (i.e. access control systems, turnstiles).
o Update surveillance capabilities with personnel and/or cameras.
Coordinate with local authorities to allow them to familiarize themselves with your facility.
o Allow authorities to train at your facility.
o Provide a copy of your plan to the authorities for their review.
IS-907 Active Shooter: What you can do http://emilms.fema.gov/IS907/index.htm Course Overview
This course provides guidance to individuals, including managers and employees, so that they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation. By the end of this course, you will be able to: Describe actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and responding law enforcement officials.
Recognize potential workplace violence indicators.
Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents.
Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
Not all recommendations provided here will be applicable at every facility. This course is intended to provide guidance to enhance facility-specific plans and procedures.