If you were faced with an active shooter today, what would you do?

This type of question might be unsettling to consider, but having an answer to it can mean the difference between life or death in the event of an emergency. Active shooter plans are an integral part of any security program. Not only do you need to have a plan in place, but you need to continuously optimize the plan you have. However, we know just getting started on a plan can be tough particularly when there are many moving parts. Let’s break down some tips and considerations shared by FEMA to take into account when planning and responding.

Preparation

During an active shooter event, knowing where to turn and who to turn to is paramount. Who should the people you are protecting count on to take charge? Where can they exit to safety? Start by making note of key personnel, their contact information, and any special support they can provide during an emergency. Create a map of your facility featuring all the exits, and make it available to all stakeholders. Additional tips to consider when planning:

  • The public establishments you are familiar with might already have active shooter plans in place. Familiarize yourself with these plans and best practices. 
  • Research training options. FEMA offers a course titled “You Are the Help Until Help Arrives,” and these words couldn’t ring truer.

Response

Decisions have to be made quick in the midst of an active shooter event, so your preparation will go a long way. You’ll want to call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. Remember your plan and consider the immediate options you have as the situation unfolds. Experts recommend following the “run, hide, fight” chain of response.

  • Run: First and foremost, run to flee the location of the threat. Prioritize getting to safety.
  • Hide: If running is not an option for any reason, locate a secure hiding spot. 
  • Fight: If there are no viable hiding options, you’ll need to be ready to take the shooter down by any means possible whether that means tackling, throwing objects, or using makeshift weapons. Once law enforcement arrives, be sure to follow their instructions.

Lastly, do your best to remain calm and level-headed no matter how the situation unfolds. It might be easier said than done, but maintaining your composure will enable you to make wise decisions quickly and perhaps provide help to those around you. Panic will only hinder your ability to think clearly. 

For more information on developing your own active shooter plan, download our poster or connect with us to learn more.