Teachout Security Solutions



No two words have ever conjured up more fear and panic than the announcement that an armed individual is attempting to randomly kill people in an area nearby. They are totally unpredictable. One second, everything is quiet and normal. In the next second, the unmistakable crack of gunfire is erupting around you, people are running and screaming, and chaos abounds. There rarely seems to be any warning or rationale for what is happening and there is often no pattern or method to their selection of victims

It usually takes 10 to 15 minutes before law enforcement arrives to engage and stop the shooter. This means that you must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation. Mental preparation means always being aware of your environment. What is around you? Where is the nearest exit? Who is around you? Are there any potentially dangerous activities or suspicious characters around? It is a sad commentary on our society, but you should get into the habit of quickly running through a mental checklist whenever you go to the mall, enter a restaurant, or walk through a crowded event. It could possibly save your life one day.

Should you find yourself in an “active shooter” situation, what should you do?

If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door, attempt to contact the police, and be as quiet as possible. Only as a last resort should you attempt to take the shooter down. This is not television or movies. He or she is firing real bullets; however, if the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to take out the shooter. A person who has resorted to the random killing of people is not thinking rationally and is usually in an emotionally agitated state. This makes them susceptible to a sudden, swift assault focused on overwhelming them and disarming them. If this becomes your only option, it is vital that you act instinctively. Your adrenaline will be flowing, which clouds your ability to reason. Don’t think. Trust your instincts. Act quickly with focused intent.

If you are in a work environment and an active shooter situation occurs, there are standard steps that should be taken and can even be rehearsed beforehand. They are:

  1. Evacuate if possible. Have an escape route and plan in mind. Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow. Leave your belongings behind. Help others escape, if possible. Do not attempt to move wounded people. Call 911 after you are safely out of harm’s way. When the police arrive, keep your hands visible and follow the instructions of any police officer.
  2. Hideout if evacuation is not possible. Find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should be out of the active shooter’s view and provide protection if shots are fired in your direction. If you can, lock the door or blockade it with heavy furniture.
  3. Remain quiet. Silence your cell phone and/or pager. Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions). Remain quiet. Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location. If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.
  4. Take action. As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by acting as aggressively as possible against him/her, throwing items, and improvising weapons. Yell or scream loudly, trust your instincts, let the adrenaline flow, and commit to your actions. The shooter is not expecting active resistance.

When the police arrive, remember that their purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Police officers are trained to run in the direction of the sound of gunfire. They may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. Detectives may be wearing plain clothes. Either way, they will identify themselves. Remain calm. Show your hands and always keep them visible. Follow the officer’s instructions. If they ask, provide them with the following information:

  • Location of the active shooter
  • Number of shooters, if more than one
  • Physical description of shooter/s
  • Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s
  • Number of potential victims at the location

The first officers to arrive at the scene will not stop to help injured persons. They are not there to render aid. They are there to stop the threat. Do not distract them.

Rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises. Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.

The best way to prepare your staff for an active shooter situation is to create an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and conduct training exercises. Together, the EAP and training exercises will prepare your staff to effectively respond and help minimize loss of life. Create the Emergency Action Plan with input from several stakeholders including your management team, your property manager, and local law enforcement and/or emergency responders.

An effective EAP includes:

  • A preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies
  • An evacuation policy and procedure
  • Emergency escape procedures and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, safe areas)
  • Contact information for, and responsibilities of individuals to be contacted under the EAP
  • Information concerning local area hospitals (i.e., name, telephone number, and distance from your location)
  • An emergency notification system to alert various parties of an emergency such as (1) individuals at remote locations within premises, (2) local law enforcement, and (3) local fire department and EMTs

The best prevention is awareness and fostering a respectful environment. Be aware of the warning signs of impending violence in the office, on the factory floor, or in the classroom. Take remedial actions accordingly.

Does your workplace have an Emergency Action Plan in place? The Teachout security team can provide a thorough Security Risk Assessment that (1) assists in communication and operation security planning and (2) helps develop Threat Assessment Preparation guidelines and training.

Contact Teachout Security at 800-747-0755 or email info@teachoutsecurity.com to schedule an analysis and recommendation from our highly trained security professionals. Prepare today for what may happen tomorrow.

Call 1-800-747-0755