RISK INSIGHT: Active Shooter Survival Tips – Part 1

Property & Casualty, Risk

Facing an Armed Intruder or Active Shooter – Part 1

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.


Armed intruders and active shooter situations are, unfortunately, occurring with greater frequency every year.  Even though your chance of being involved in an active shooter situation is still statistically slim, knowing exactly what to do during the first few minutes of an armed intrusion may mean the difference between life and death for you, a coworker, and many others in your building.

  • Create mental ‘action scripts.’ An ‘action script’ is a mental rehearsal plan of ‘what if’ scenarios regarding your immediate response to variety of crises. Knowing ‘if ________ happens, then I will do _______.’
  • Be prepared to ‘act not react.’ People die when they mistakenly believe they must confirm the crisis is real.  If you hear a sound that you perceive to be a gunshot, it is a gunshot until proven otherwise.  It’s acceptable to individually initiate your lockdown or run-hide-fight protocols – if it’s proven to be a non-crisis, that’s OK.
  • Determine how to put space between you and an intruder. Whatever employee crisis action protocol your organization has in place, it is critical to be prepared to place as many ‘roadblocks’ as possible between yourself and the intruder/shooter. This will increase your chances of surviving an active shooter attack.

Simply stated, an active shooter seeks three factors:

  • Easy ‘targets of opportunity’
  • Little or no barricades or restrictions that will limit their movement
  • Little or no supervision or confrontation that will restrict or end their actions

Statistics indicate that a little more than 60% of active shooter situations are over within five (5) minutes – the shooter leaves the area, the shooter takes their own life (about 40%), or law enforcement/a prepared citizen neutralizes the situation.  Be prepared, not scared.

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

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