Surviving an Active Shooter

Issue: 01-14-112

           

Surviving An Active Shooter Event

VIDEO TO BE RELEASED TOWARDS THE BEGINNING OF 2014!

As we start out the new year of 2014, this issue of Security America’s Security Update is going to address a serious topic that has been in the news several times the past few years; workplace, or public location, terroristic incidents in the form of mass shootings. In doing this, we are drawing our material from a popular training video, entitled “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT” that was recently produced by the City of Houston, Texas as part of a United States Department of Homeland Security grant project. The video is accessible to you on YouTube and is currently being shown to office and industrial employees across the nation as a component of corporate safety and security training. It is in recognition of the seriousness and timeliness of this issue that we wish to share this training message with all of you.

 

Skeptics have pointed out that the odds of finding yourself in an incident of workplace violence are similar to those of being stuck by lightening; the odds of being killed by a fellow employee are about 1 in 2,000,000; and the odds of being killed by a terrorist are approximately 1 in 20,000,000. The point seems to be that since you are not very likely to find yourself in an active shooter event, don’t be concerned about it. Those of us in the safety and security professions take a rather different view of life. We understand that unwanted or negative experiences can happen to any of us at any-time and that preparation and planning will mitigate, or even help us avoid, the possible damage from such occurrences. Information from the referenced video follows:

 

Unfortunately, bad, desperate, or unstable people will, on occasion, do bad things. Their motivations will vary greatly and the potential warning signs are different, may be hard to recognize, or may not be there at all. If such a person enters your workplace with a weapon, for example a firearm, with the intent to indiscriminately use it, an “Active Shooter Event”, your survival may depend upon whether or not you have prepared and have a plan of action for such a situation. The plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Actually, there are three things you could do that make a difference: Run – Hide – Fight!

 

First and foremost, if you can get out – do! RUN when there is an active shooter in your vicinity:

·         If there is an escape path, attempt to evacuate

·         Evacuate whether others agree or not

·         Leave your belongings behind

·         Help others escape if possible

·         Prevent others from entering the area

·         Call 911 when you are safe

 

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to HIDE:

·         Lock and/or blockade the door

·         Turn out the lights

·         Silence your cell phone

·         Hide behind large objects

·         Remain very quiet

Your hiding place should:

·         Be out of the shooter’s view

·         Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction

·         Not trap or restrict your options for movement

 

As a last resort, and only if your life is in danger – FIGHT!

·         Attempt to incapacitate the shooter

·         Act with physical aggression

·         Improvise weapons

·         Commit to your actions

 

If you find yourself in this type of event, try to remain aware of your environment and at any point always have an exit plan. Remember that in an incident like this, the event is unpredictable and may evolve quickly. Victims are generally chosen randomly, as they make themselves available to the shooter’s attention.

 

When law enforcement arrives be aware that the first responders are not there to evacuate or tend the injured, they are there to stop the shooter.

·         Remain calm and follow instructions

·         Keep your hands visible at all times

·         Avoid pointing and yelling

·         Know that help for the injured is on the way

 

The point of all of the above is that your actions can make a difference for your safety and survival – Be Aware – And Be Prepared.

(RUN-HIDE-FIGHT-Houston)

 

 

Your October 2013 issue of the Security Update, on a similar topic, closed with the admonition that as a professionally trained safety and security employee of Security America, Inc., you have received instruction in being alert to, and recognizing, risk at your assigned work site. You know to refer to your Security Officer’s Manual and the specific Operational Procedures/Post Orders for your location. This issue of the Security Update presents a variant on violence in the workplace and suggests a different approach to preparation, discussion, planning, and training. If additional information or assistance is desired by you or by the client where you are assigned, alert your supervisor for discussion and possible follow-up with the site owner/manager and the experienced safety/security expertise available at the Security America, Inc. Central Office.

 

References

 

Law Enforcement Administration Lectures, West Virginia State University, Dr. C.B. Whyte, 2013

Private Security Lectures, West Virginia State University, W. R. Whyte, 2013

Security Officer’s Manual. Security America Inc. 2006 (revised)

www.READYHOUSTONTX.GOV      www.YouTube.com/RunHideFight/CityofHouston

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Winter Safety Tips from the National Safety Council

Winter is a wonderful time of year. Spending time with your family, the many holidays, the New Year, snow and the warmth from a fireplace all remind us of the upcoming season. But, as with any time of the year, there are specific things we need to be aware of to keep our family safe and injury-free.

  • Home fires are more prevalent in the winter months than any other season. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter residential building fires. Other winter fire hazards include space heaters, fireplaces and candles.
  • The cold weather increases your chances of getting frostbite or hypothermia. Between  the years of 1999-2004, an average of 647 people died each year from hypothermia.
  • In 2009, over 16,000 Americans were treated for head injuries in emergency rooms because of playing winter sports (skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowmobiling). 
  • Fatal crashes were 14% more likely to happen on the first snowy day of the season than on days following. It takes drivers a few days to regain their sense of driving in this weather. 
  • According to the CDC, most carbon monoxide poisonings happen in January; the second most in December. Carbon monoxide detectors save lives, but less than one-third of American homes have one installed.

References

Winter Safety.  November 2013.  http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/SafetyObservances/Pages/WinterSafety.aspx

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Active Shooter: Preparing & Reacting

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.  Active shooters in most cases use firearms(s), and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.  Active shooter situations evolve quickly and are unpredictable.  Active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes before law enforcement arrives on the scene, so individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with the situation.

The most effective strategies to protect your life when faced with an active shooter are to run, hide, or fight.  If there is an accessible escape path, run with an escape route and plan in mind.  If running isn’t an option, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you that provides protection if shots are fired.  Make sure to lock the door and refrain from any sources of noise.  Call 911 if running and hiding aren’t possible to alert police of the active shooter’s location.  As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter.

Law enforcement first responder’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible.  When law enforcement arrives, remain calm, keep your hands visible and raised at all times, and follow the officers’ instructions.  Important information to provide to law enforcement or the 911 operator is location and description of the shooter(s), types of weapons, and number of potential victims.  Rescue teams of additional officers and emergency medical personnel will soon follow first responders.  They will treat and remove any injured people.

The best way to prepare your staff for an active shooter situation is to create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).  An effective EAP has an evacuation policy and procedure, contact information for individuals in charge of the plan, emergency responders contact information, and an emergency notification system to alert various parties.  Next step is to train your staff with mock active shooter exercises and continuous improvement with re-training.  Your human resource department and facility manager should be heavily involved in planning and preventing emergency situations.  Human Resources’ responsibilities are to conduct effective employee screening and background checks, create a system for reporting signs of potentially violent behavior, and making counseling services available to employees.  The Facility Manager needs to institute access controls, coordinate with the facility’s security department to ensure the physical security of the location, and assemble crisis kits.

 

References:

Safety Guidelines for Armed Subjects, Active Shooter Situations, Indiana University Police Department, April 2007.

Safety Tips & Guidelines Regarding Potential “Active Shooter” Incidents Occurring on Campus, University of California Police.

Shots Fired, When Lightning Strikes (DVD), Center for Personal Protection and Safety, 2007.

Workplace Violence Desk Reference, Security Management Group International, www.SMGICorp.com

How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, OSHA 3088, 2001.

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How to Deter Vandalism

It’s Spring—that means more people out and about later in the evening—and an increased potential for vandalism. Here are some areas that are commonly targeted by vandals:

  • vending machines, walls, building exteriors, fences, storage units or other structures that are accessible from public areas
  • unsecured elevators, stairways and restrooms
  • lawns, campuses or other common areas, such as employee parking or smoking areas.

Security America officers are thoroughly trained in patrolling techniques and know what to watch for and how to deter incidents. Guarding against vandalism is one of their primary duties. But there are some things you can do to try to reduce property destruction:

  • install motion-sensor floodlights
  • limit access to your property with fencing, gates, locks, etc.
  • mount surveillance cameras well out of reach of perpetrators
  • tell your neighbors—residential and commercial—if you’re hit by vandals and report each incident to the police.

Stay alert, be prepared and do what you can to thwart vandalism. If you need help putting together a security plan or want to know more about our security officers, contact us.

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