RISK INSIGHT: Active Shooter Survival Tips – Part 7

Property & Casualty, Risk

Facing an Armed Intruder or Active Shooter – Part 7

Is everyone in your organization prepared to deal with an armed intruder or an active shooter?  This M3 blog series can help.  Each post will share lifesaving tips to help you increase your chances of survival when the unthinkable happens.


Remember, you can survive an active shooter incident.  The best response plans are those that allow you to switch and move between response alternatives as the context of the incident evolves and changes.

Playing dead or freezing will most likely get you killed – action will provide a chance and may save your life – so learn to ‘move with purpose.’  The context of your situation will dictate your purpose.  An armed intruder or active shooter situation will evolve rapidly and new details may be limited; you must be able to adjust as the situation changes.

If there is distance between you and the shooter, create more.

  • If you are in another area of the building when an initial attack occurs, your response alternatives will differ from those individuals who are near the shooter. If the shooting starts down the hall from your location, your options are to lockdown/barricade (if possible) or create distance (if you have no lockable space or there is a clear path to an exit).

Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve quickly. The shooting down the hall could very quickly migrate to your space which dramatically changes what life-saving alternatives might work best.

The closer you are to the shooter, the less response alternatives you will have. If you are near the shooter and your exit is blocked and there are no secondary exits (windows, doors, etc.) you probably have two choices – do nothing and die or go on the offensive and give yourself a chance to live.

If you are in close vicinity to the shooter, utilize a distraction.

  • Plan to throw objects at the shooter’s face and eyes – when they flinch it’s time to act. Initiate your action plan which could be to create more distance, get to a lockable space, leave the area through a secondary exit, or, if no other option exists, engage/attack the shooter.

If there is no potential to create safety, be prepared to fight for your life.

  • Find anything to use as a weapon. Many everyday items in a work environment can become a weapon – a stapler, the fire extinguisher, a laptop computer, etc. If you can’t find anything, use your forearm or elbow.
  • Attack the ‘trauma susceptible targets.’ This includes eyes, all sides of the neck, clavicle, solar plexus, groin, ankles, and knees. Identify your target and ‘drive through’ with your weapon.
  • If possible, attack with numbers. If you have no other options, attack the using shooter ‘Gang-Fu’ team tactics. If even one person attacks the shooter, validate their decision and HELP THEM!


Source: M3 Senior Risk Manager, Ted Hayes and Captain Mike Bolender of the Peaceful Warrior Training Group  partnered on M3’s “Prepared, Not Scared” seminar series. Content from those sessions is shared in this Blog Series of the same name.

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