Antiterrorism Awareness, Week Three Theme, Active Shooter -- What is an Active Shooter?
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, an active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Since these incidents are so spontaneous and lethal, off-duty officers and concerned citizens respond instinctually and engage the shooter. The five components of a crisis response plan should address how an organization will ... • Prepare • Prevent • Respond • Stabilize • Recover
Prepare: How can an organization prepare for an active shooter situation?
Align communication strategy for/with:
- Internal operations (employee-to-employee)
- Building security measures
- Law enforcement partnerships
- Training and exercise
- Provide access to the building to first responders (provide master keys)
- Provide building plans for emergency responders
- All phones should have 911 access or clear emergency dialing instructions
- Develop and exercise the "Active Shooters/Random Threat Plan:
- Designate an evacuation plan and inform all employees
- Coordinate how to account for employees once evacuated (check-in procedure)
- Outline how you will evacuate multi-floors
- Train associates on what to expect visually and verbally from first responders.
First responders will:
- Proceed to the area where shots were last heard
- Stop the shooting as quickly as possible, including with lethal force (if necessary)
- Typically respond in teams of four
- May be dressed in regular patrol uniforms or may be wearing external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets and other tactical equipment
- Arrive at the scene armed with rifles, shotguns or handguns, and might use pepper spray or tear gas to gain control of the situation
- First responder teams will assume control and mandate the actions of all persons in the area
Prevent: How do you prevent an active shooter?
- Suspicious Individuals " Response to observing suspicious individuals
- Associates with tenuous domestic situations " An active shooter may be related to an associate and or a spouse/domestic partner. Create a method for associates to notify human resources/management of domestic troubles.
- Local Trends " Establish relationships with law enforcement to stay abreast of any local trends and understand first responder activities.
Respond: What is the right response for your organization?
• Considerations for Your Response Program
- Assess the Situation
- Contact the Police (911)
- Decision to Evacuate or Hide Out/Shelter-in-Place
- Public Address Announcement
• Training Considerations
- Simple and instinctual response
- Implemented by various management levels
- Include drills or walkthroughs
- Follow up on a periodic basis
• Plan ahead and have a contingency plan
• Inform employees of the plan and train on how to react/respond
Recover: What will your recovery efforts entail?
• Immediate Response
- Thoroughly document the series of events through interviews and forensics
- Dependent on proximity to the shooting and the extent of casualties, your organization may become:
--< A temporary processing center
--< A temporary recovery unit/emergency room/morgue
- Continued normal operations as soon as possible
If you need assistance in the development of your plan USAG RIA DPTMS has an Active Shooter Plan (template) available and will assist as needed.
Contact your Organization Antiterrorism Officer or the Garrison Antiterrorism Officers, Ed Peterson or Mike Luchner at (309) 782-0116.
Article by Mike Luchner, U.S. Army Garrison-Rock Island Arsenal