active shooter training

34 killed – 64 Injured – Three Active Shooter Attacks

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In just one week, this country has suffered through three terrible active shooter attacks that took the lives of 34 people and injured countless others.  While each attack has its own unique circumstances, the intent of the attackers was pretty much the same, to kill as many people as possible in a short amount of time.  In two of these attacks, nearby police responded swiftly and engaged the gunman to stop the assault.  In the third however, the gunman had completed his carnage upon police arrival and he simply gave himself up to officers a block away from the scene as they were searching for him.

The attack on the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, took the lives of three innocent victims ages 6, 13, and 25 and wounded 13 others.  The shooter, wearing body armor and multiple spare magazines, gained access to the festival grounds by cutting through a perimeter fence allowing him to bypass any security screening process.  Once inside the festival grounds, he opened fire on a large group of people near the food area without discrimination.  Police officers at the festival responded immediately and engaged the gunman who took his own life during the ensuing firefight. 

The mass shooting at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, took the lives of 22 innocent people and wounded 24 others.  The shooter began his rampage in the parking lot outside of Walmart where he began firing upon patrons as they were coming and going.  He then entered the Walmart and continued his heinous attack as he hunted down his additional victims.  El Paso police officers arrived on scene at 10:45 AM, six minutes after receiving the first 911 call, and began the process of searching for the gunman.  The suspect was located a block away from the Walmart at 11:06 AM where he turned himself in to officers and was taken into custody without incident.

The active shooter attack on the streets of Dayton, Ohio, resulted in the deaths of 9 people and caused injury to 27 others.  The attacker opened fire on a crowd of people on the streets and sidewalk outside of Ned Peppers, a popular establishment in the Oregon district.  Police officers that were in the area, heard the gunfire and immediately responded to neutralize the threat and did so only 30 seconds after the attack began.  The video showing the police response is an amazing tribute to the officers and their willingness to face evil head on and without hesitation. 

If not for the close proximity of law enforcement as well as their deliberate response, the Dayton attack as well as the Garlic Festival attack would have been much worse.  Both situations demonstrate how swiftly an amazing amount of damage can be done in very little time by a crazed gunman hell bent on mass murder.  The Garlic Festival shooter fired 39 rounds before being stopped and also wore body armor along with multiple spare magazines.  This makes it clear that he intended to do much more damage as well as his intent to engage with law enforcement.   The Dayton attacker also wore body armor and possessed approximately 250 additional rounds of ammunition making it clear that he strived to do much more damage as well as anticipated being engaged by police.  As evidenced by the surveillance footage, his intent was to enter a crowded bar and commit a heinous amount of carnage and would have been successful if not for the incredible acts of the Dayton police officers.

The shooting in El Paso further illustrates the fact that it does not take very long to kill and injure an incredible amount of people prior to law enforcement arrival.  Thankfully in this case, the shooter stopped his killing spree on his own and surrendered to law enforcement but that did not occur until 27 minutes after police received the first 911 call.  Swift engagement by law enforcement is clearly critical to mitigating the damage during these events.

We all know that the Dayton and Garlic Festival responses are not the norm as most of these attacks last anywhere from 6 to 12 minutes.  An incredible amount of damage and killing can be completed in that time.  As a nation, we remain focused on improving our law enforcement response to these events as well as exploring additional means of prevention and thwarting of these planned attacks, and we should.  The incredibly overlooked space that needs improvement is in the middle, meaning empowering and training people what to do should they find themselves in one of these events.  We need to continue our focus on all facets of combating this problem with more emphasis on response and recovery for EVERYONE. 

Should you find yourself in the middle of one of these horrific attacks, would you know what to do and how best to respond?  Would you have the skills and the tools to stop significant bleeding in a family member or a friend?  Perhaps Benjamin Franklin said it best; “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”  What’s your plan?

Why Active Shooter Training for School Personnel is More Important than Physical Security

While I would never advise a school or any other organization not to improve their physical security, it would undoubtedly not be first on my list of recommended safety and security enhancements. Although improving physical security is very important for a variety of reasons and is typically selected as the first option in response to calls for an increase in school security, Active Shooter Training for school personnel is my first recommendation. 

WHY WE START WITH ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING...

Unfortunately in our world today, these calls for action are the result of some type of school shooting tragedy.  They are not a result of some random property crime or simple assault that occurred on one of our campuses.  When is the last time there was an outcry for increased security due to a laptop being stolen from a school’s computer lab or because two teenagers got into a fistfight?  It just does not happen.  We are accustomed to accepting these types of crimes and incidents as part of life that occur regularly and therefore we are desensitized to them.  There is no feeling of shock, horror, or sadness because someone spray painted the front of the school. 

Sadly, we as a nation all feel the shock, horror, and sadness every time there is a school shooting.  No matter how frequent these become, they still shock the senses of the majority of society and inevitably lead to calls for improving school security.  The demand for security improvements typically results in some physical improvement such as adding surveillance cameras, metal detectors, high-security glass, or even the addition of a school resource officer

THE CASE FOR STARTING WITH ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING FOR PERSONNEL AND STAFF...

While these are all certainly steps in the right direction, any physical security improvement should be secondary to extensive active shooter training for faculty and staff.  The reason for this is quite simple.  Physical security measures will not prevent the majority of school shooting attacks.  It is an unfortunate fact that the vast majority of these attacks are launched by current or former students who possess the inside knowledge to exploit the security vulnerabilities and gain access to the school.  

All school personnel should be armed with the knowledge of what to do during an attack no matter what part of the campus they are on and no matter who is or is not with them.  Having very specific active shooter response plans for every classroom, office, gymnasium, bathroom, locker room, and any other part of the facility is critical to saving lives because it allows trained personnel to respond instantly with a very specific plan and purpose.  Every campus layout and school floor plan is unique and therefore should have plans and protocols specifically designed for that facility. 

All active shooters understand that once they fire that first shot, the clock has started.  They accept that there will be a very swift and powerful law enforcement response and they do not care.  They do care about committing maximum carnage during that small window of time and that is exactly what they do and when they do it.  Once law enforcement personnel arrive, they will be confronted very swiftly and their rampage will be stopped or they will flee prior to law enforcement arrival. All that being said, the focus needs to be on that window of time from when the first shot is fired until the event is over.  The event is not over until the shooter has been neutralized and all persons in need of medical aid are in the care of medical professionals. 

THE EFFECTS OF ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL...

Training school personnel on best practices of avoiding gunfire, proper barricading, counter assault maneuvers, and hemorrhage control techniques is the most critical element to improving school security. (Although every victim of an active shooter attack cannot possibly be saved, the grim reality is that several victims of past attacks could have been saved had personnel known simple bleeding control techniques and had the tools to apply those techniques on site.)

Training faculty and staff to respond to these events immediately and with a very specific plan and purpose will undoubtedly mitigate casualties and increase the survivability rate should an attack occur.  While we will, unfortunately, never be able to completely prevent these attacks from occurring, we can absolutely tilt the survivability odds in our favor.  Active shooters could care less about your physical security measures because they typically have nothing to do with slowing them down once they are already inside.  What they are not prepared for is resistance

In every active shooter event, there is undoubtedly a significant time gap from when the shooting begins to the arrival of law enforcement.  Our active shooter training fills that gap. For more information about our training for your school staff and faculty and how we can help your school create a safer environment, give us a call at 615-236-6484 or go to defendsystems.com.    

Why Businesses and Organizations Should Train for Active Shooter Events

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“1 October” will forever be synonymous with the most horrific and deadly mass shooting in American history. Almost two weeks has passed since that incredibly evil attack suddenly changed every Americans’ sense of safety and security and many questions still go unanswered. The motive remains completely undetermined, the timeline is foggy at best, and the puzzle pieces of “how” are just beginning to fall in place. Liability and responsibility are being bounced around from MGM Resorts, to the Las Vegas Police Department, to the gun lobby in America like a pinball. 

As humans, it is in our nature to feel the need to hold something or someone accountable for such a tragic event. I believe we would all agree that the shooter made the choice to devalue human life to such a degree that he decided to execute 58 innocent people. As for the other potential liability, the courts will make that decision in due time.  

When we hear the term “active shooter” most of us associate it with such events as the Las Vegas Massacre, Columbine High School, Pulse Nightclub, or Sandy Hook Elementary, and rightfully so as these tragic events ripped at the heart of every American. A study conducted by the FBI on 160 different active shooter incidents revealed that over 50% of active shooter incidents occur in a commerce setting and that 55% of the time there is some connection between the shooter and the targeted victims. 

The same study also found that 23 of those 160 events occurred at locations that were closed to pedestrian traffic, meaning there was some type of access control or security in place. Of those 23 incidents that occurred in a “secure” building or facility, 22 were either current or former employees. What this means is that the vast majority of active shooter events that occur in the workplace are being carried out from within the organization.  

Any business or corporation can and should do everything they can to physically secure their facility from an intruder but it is often the case that the “intruder” is one of their own. Whether they are disgruntled about their employment situation or involved in some crazy office love triangle, it is most common for these attacks to come from within. 

While doing a speaking engagement at a recent safety and risk seminar, one participant asked us what to be looking for as it relates to this very issue of targeted violence from within. There is no easy answer here as everyone has a different trigger that sets them off and sometimes they hide it well. Other times, however, the volatility of a particular situation or employee is readily identifiable. In those instances the “see something, say something” model is absolutely critical. If management is not made aware of a particular problem or situation then they cannot take action. 

So what do you do to help mitigate the situations you don’t see coming? HAVE A PLAN AND TRAIN YOUR EMPLOYEES.  

In a previous article, I discussed the fact that most active shooters seek maximum carnage and minimum resistance.  By having a good solid plan and conducting training, you are sending a message throughout your organization to all employees that you are preparing and there WILL BE RESISTANCE. You are also identifying your corporation and facility as a hard target and we all know soft targets are preferred by active shooters. Whether you come up with your own plan or hire a professional to complete a security evaluation and conduct training, get it done. Your life may depend on it. 

To learn more about obtaining a security evaluation, training for a critical incident, or strengthening the security of your business or organization, please visit our website at or give us a call at 615-236-6484. We are passionate about helping people and organizations achieve real security.