Following the recent attack at the Fort Lauderdale airport, it’s important to recognize and know how to respond to an active shooter scenario.
Modern training reflect lessons learned from the paralyzed response to the 1999 Columbine attacks, where law enforcement officers sat outside while Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot over two dozens students and teachers.
The Department of Homeland Security’s guide gives a few good overarching thoughts to start with:
• Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
• Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
• If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
• If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door
• As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.
And always call 911 as soon as possible if you have the chance.
Steps you can take during a shooting
The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center gives three key steps to take during an active shooter scenario, which are detailed here and in the video below:
- Avoid the shooter
- Deny the shooter entry to your space
- Defend yourself if you have to. Experts recognize this is tough for anyone to do, but stress that you have every right to defend yourself if the shooter comes near you-and it may be the only way you survive.
As put in a CNN article on the training last year:
“Avoid” means more than run. It’s about knowing where the exits are and visualizing how you’ll get out of a violent situation before one unfolds. Don’t live in fear, but be vigilant, Clifton explained.“Deny” means taking away a shooter’s chance to kill you, whether it’s by barricading a door, turning out lights, silencing your phone or hiding, preferably behind something that will stop a bullet.Then there’s “defend,” and that’s where things get tricky, because essentially it means fight. And with a few exceptions, a mass shooter’s targets aren’t soldiers or others who might be trained to fight. They’re regular people: students, coworkers, moviegoers and the like.“Do not fight fairly. THIS IS ABOUT SURVIVAL,” a handout given to Johns Creek attendees said.
Here’s another video from the San Antonio Police Department:
And here’s one more from Sage Dynamics, specifically dealing with armed response: