June 30, 2018

How to survive an Active Shooter Event at Work

You’re at work and suddenly you think you hear a gunshot. What do you do?

Do you RUN? Do you HIDE? Or should you FIGHT?

David Katz, a former senior special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and an expert in active shooter situations, said the first step is spotting danger. The sound of a gunshot can be distinguished from other noises by cadence and rhythm. “A rhythmic pace indicates either construction or even a nail gun as opposed to a firearm,” Katz tells The Post, adding that gunfire “will be a random pattern and not rhythmic.”

Simply hearing what you perceive as a gunshot can dampen cognitive processing — causing you to freeze instead of act. You want to make sure you recognize that it is your body trying to keep you safe and you got to snap yourself out of it. Fight or Flight – we have all heard of that.

The police will come to save me! Wrong. The first priority for law enforcement is to immobilize the threat. That is job #1. Then after the threat is immobilized, EMS, Fire and Police will locate the injured and dead. This now becomes a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI).

RUN: Getting out of the building safely is the top priority: The only way to know if there’s a clear exit is to pinpoint the danger. Open the door to a stairwell to listen to whether the sounds are coming from above or below is critical. If the sound is coming from above, get down the stairs and out of the building as fast as you can.

HIDE: Best place to hide from a shooter is not where you think! If you can’t run, you should hide — FAST! Nearly 70 percent of active shooter situations end in 5 minutes or less and buying time before the police arrive increases your chances of survival.  When getting out is not an option, barricading yourself inside a room is your safest bet. Lock the door and pile as much furniture against it as you can find. Bullets are able to pierce through the door and a heavy wooden table or a bookshelf alone won’t stop them. Keep in mind that if you go into a room, you’re still vulnerable! Standing against the back wall isn’t advisable either because the bullet is likely to come from the height of the shooter’s gun. Lie on your belly or as low as possible. The odds of being hit are far lower if you position yourself on your belly on the hinge side of the door. You should aim to barricade yourself and assume a safe position in a minute or less.

FIGHT: Why you may want to attack a workplace shooter? Up to 13% percent of active shooters were successfully neutralized by unarmed citizens. If you can’t escape or successfully barricade yourself, you may want to consider confronting the shooter. You have to attack as a group, aggressively, yell, throw things, commit to your actions! Your attack must be Swift, Vicious and Overwhelming. Common workplace items — specifically objects with some heft — can be hurled at the shooter, while pens or scissors could be used to jab at him. Fire extinguishers, chairs, staplers, crates. Even a table cen become airborne if your life depended on it. Adrenaline has an incredible effect on the human will to survive.

You have to have the mindset to attack the shooter and do whatever is necessary to terminate that threat to your life.

Lastly, once you manage to escape from the building, you want to make sure your hands are visible and that you have nothing in them so as not to be mistaken for the shooter.

The law enforcement are going to be operating on a hair trigger and will shoot anything that is perceived to be a threat.

To learn more about Active Shooter survival, view this video from the FBI. (you will be directed to their website at