Active Shooter Situation Overview

The Office of Infrastructure Protection
National Protection and Programs Directorate
Department of Homeland Security
InfraGard Nebraska & Bellevue University
Active Shooter: Preparedness and Response
September 26, 2013
Active Shooter Situation Overview
 Active Shooter situation is defined
as those in which an individual is
“actively engaged in killing or
attempting to kill people in a
confined and populated area”
 Although many perpetrators have
a history of negative—sometimes
violent behavior, there is still no
single, accurate one-size-fits-all
profile of an active shooter
Recent Active Shooter Incidents
 On September 16, 2013, 12 people were killed and 8 injured at the Naval
Ship Yard in Washington, DC
 On December 20, 2012, 26 people were killed in Sandy Hook Elementary
School, in Newtown, CT
 On August 5, 2012, 7 people were killed and 1 injured in a Sikh temple in
Oak Creek, WI
 On July 20, 2012, 12 people were killed and 58 were injured in a movie
theater in Aurora, CO
 On January 8, 2011, 6 people were killed and 13 were injured (including
U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords) in a supermarket parking lot in
Tucson, AZ
Recent Active Shooter Incidents
 On February 14, 2008, 6 people killed and 17 wounded at Northerner
Illinois University in DeKalb IL.
 On December 5, 2007, 9 people were killed and 4 wounded at Von Maur in
Omaha, NE
 On April 16, 2007, 32 people were killed and 17 were wounded at Virginia
Tech in Blacksburg, VA
 On November 5, 2007, 13 people were killed and 29 were injured on Fort
Hood Army Base in Ft. Hood, TX
 More than 250 people have been killed in the United States during what has
been classified as active shooter and mass casualty incidents since the
Columbine High School shootings in 1999.
Active Shooter Statistics
84 Active Shooter Events, 2000-2010
 37% in business locations
 34% in schools
 17% in outdoor public venues
 41% used multiple weapons
 4% of the attackers wore body armor
 Median number of people killed was 2
Active Shooter Data
71% of the attackers just walked into the location
49% of the attackers committed suicide
17% of the attackers were killed
34% of the attackers were arrested
37% of the attacks were over in under 5 minutes
63% of the attacks were over in under 15 (12) minutes
Source: John Nicoletti, Ph.D. (Nicoletti-Flater Associates) as provided to PERF 4/22/13
Who does this? No Profile Exists
Statistics on 35 Active Shooter events in 2012:
 57% of the attackers were insiders (known)
 63% of the attackers broadcasted a perceived injustice
 71% of the victims initially targeted were the focus of the perceived
 74% of the attackers entered through the main entrance
Active Shooter Motivation
While motivations for active shooter incidents are difficult to fully
determine, some common “triggers” may include:
Loss of significant relationships
Feelings of humiliation/rejection
Changes in financial status
Major adverse changes to life circumstances
Loss of job
Changes in living arrangements
Overreaction to workplace changes
Expressions of paranoia or depression
Exploiting or blaming others
 Many active shooters were described as “social isolates,” harbored feelings
of hate or anger, and/or had some reported contact with mental health
 Few had previous arrests for violent crimes
Behavioral Indicators
 Many offenders may display certain behaviors during pre-attack planning.
These predatory behaviors may be observable to persons familiar with the
 Studies on shootings vary; however, all conclude that in approximately
80% to 90% of shootings, at least one person had information that the
attacker was thinking about or planning the attack.
 Some of these behaviors may include:
– Development of a personal grievance
– Contextually inappropriate and recent
acquisition of multiple weapons
– Inappropriate and recent escalation in
target practice and weapons training
Behavioral Indicators (cont)
 Recent interest in explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
 Inappropriate and intense interest or fascination with previous active
shootings or mass attacks
 Many offenders experienced a significant
real or perceived personal loss in the weeks
and/or months leading up to the attack,
such as a death breakup, divorce, or loss
of a job.
Threat Assessment Teams
 Research shows that perpetrators of targeted acts of violence engage in
both covert and overt behaviors preceding their attacks
 One of the most useful tools a facility can develop to identify, evaluate, and
address these troubling signs is a multidisciplinary Threat Assessment
Team (TAT)
 The TAT should be multidisciplinary and should meet your facility needs
 Include mental health professionals, human resources, security director,
general counsel, and law enforcement who will analyze the behavior to
provide holistic threat management assessment
 Once a Course of Action is developed, the implementation of additional
protective measures should be considered to prevent violence
 University of Nebraska Lincoln -- Association of Threat Assessment
Professionals (ATAP)
Law Enforcement Efforts
 Facilities must foster a close working relationship with local law
enforcement agencies to evaluate possible risk of violence
 Best practices and lessons learned
 Jointly map out incident management procedures
 Tours of the facility to enhance their familiarization of the building
 Involve emergency services responders from multiple agencies in
facility training and exercises to improve response reactions
 Law enforcement agencies are developing standard response
protocol for multiple law enforcement agency response
 Advanced FBI Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training
Vulnerability Assessment
 When developing plans for an adaptive threats (i.e., active shooter)
examining plans “through the eyes of the adversary” can lead to significant
improvements and a higher probability of success. This process is known
as” “Red-Teaming”.
 Conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify vulnerabilities in preventing,
mitigating, and responding to an active shooter/mass casualty incident.
The assessment should encompass:
Security program
Employee, contractor, and vendor screening and background check program
Access control procedures
Physical security program
Electronic security systems
Emergency communication system
Emergency preparedness program
Executive Protection
Creating an Emergency Action Plan
 To best prepare your staff for an active shooter situation, 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
 Components of an Emergency Action Plan:
Emergency notification procedures (Internally and Externally)
Lockdown procedures
Evacuation /Reverse evacuation
Emergency escape procedures and route assignments (i.e., floor plans, safe
areas), and rally points
Employee accountability
Bomb threat (telephone/suspicious package)
Family reunification points
Emergency contact information for emergency services, hospitals, and key
Media Response Plan
Creating an Emergency Action Plan
 Ensure that plans assess and provide for functional needs:
– Hearing or sight
– Mobility
– Limited or no English proficiency
 Integrate tenant organizations within
the building into the EAP, emergency
system, and exercises
 Integrate tenants into Threat Assessment
Team process
Pre-Incident Planning
 Human Resources Department Responsibilities:
– Conduct comprehensive employee/contractor
background checks
– Publicize Workplace Violence policy
– Create a system for reporting signs of potentially
– Ensure managers and supervisors are trained
abnormal behavior and elevate high
– Make counseling services available to employees
– Develop an EAP, which includes policies and
procedures for dealing with an active shooter
other risks as well as after action plan
screening and
violent behavior
to detect
risk behavior to
situation and
Pre-Incident Planning
 Facility Manager Considerations
Institute access controls (i.e., keys and electronic access control systems)
Provide Operators/Security Control Center emergency action checklists
Develop pre-recorded Lock-Down and Active Shooter response messages
Do not utilize “Code words’ (e.g. Code Silver); use plain language
Ensure public address system can be heard throughout the facility (i.e.
restrooms, entrances, mechanical rooms, elevators, and stairways)
Provide alternate emergency notification capability (i.e., E2Campus text
messaging, email, and computer screen messages
Designate trained “Floor Monitors” to lead response in their areas
Assemble “Emergency Go-Kits” containing: radios, floor plans, staff roster/staff
emergency contact numbers, first aid kits, flashlights
Designate “Safe Rooms” that will protect individuals during a Lock-Down
Ensure Safe Rooms and office doors can be locked from inside the room
Position telephones and first aid kits in Safe Rooms
Pre-Incident Planning (cont)
– Place removable floor plans near entrances and exits for emergency
– Develop your emergency action plan in close coordination with local law
enforcement and fire department agencies for lessons learned and best
– Is security technology, such as closed circuit television, in place to assist
law enforcement in locating the shooter(s) and victims?
– Consider providing law enforcement copies of building floor plans?
– What procedures are available to provide facility access to emergency
– Are there safety concerns as first responders enter process areas?
– Enroll in the DHS Government Emergency Telecommunication System
(GETS) and Wireless Priority Service (WPS)
Incident Recovery Considerations
 Addressing Victims and Families
– Has the facility established a family hotline?
– What is the process to assist with victim identification?
– Who is responsible for gathering information related to victim identities, extent of
injuries, and what hospitals are being utilized?
– What is the procedure to notify the family members? Who performs the
notifications and are they trained for this responsibility?
– Will facility personnel procure counselors for employees and families?
– How will concerns about returning to work be handled?
 Communicating Internally
– What instructions will management give to the employees and how will it be
communicated? Should they return to their homes, remain onsite at a specified
location, go to another site, etc.?
– How will management communicate with families?
Incident Recovery Considerations (cont.)
 Communication Externally
– Who is the designated official for responding to media inquiries?
– What information and details will facility personnel provide to the media that will
ease community concerns without inciting panic or hindering the investigation?
 Continuing Business Operations
– What are the business recovery/continuity plans? Does the facility have a
Business Continuity Plan?
– Who will make re-entry decisions?
– Who will provide safety and security debriefings?
– What actions are needed to ensure employees feel safe?
– How will the facility continue operating with limited production or with certain
areas of the facility designated a crime scene?
Training Program -- Trained versus Untrained
Workplace Violence & Active Shooter Training
 Integrate workplace violence and active
shooter training into new employee
orientation and annual recurring emergency
preparedness training
 Exercise facility lockdown and active
response protocols through drills,
table-top, and full-scale exercises
 Supervisors should discuss “what if”
scenarios with employees and contractors
rehearse their plan of action and to identify
gaps in planning and training.
Training and Outreach Material
 The Department of Homeland
Security has released Active
Shooter, What You Can Do (IS907), a new free online training
course available through the
Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA)
Emergency Management
Institute (EMI) at
 Classroom training lesson plans
and videos for employee training
Presenter’s Name
June 17, 2003
Training and Outreach Materials
 Materials consist of three products:
– Basic Guide Book
– Break Room Poster
– Pocket Emergency Measures Guide
To download these materials visit:
Responding to an Active Shooter Situation
 In an active shooter situation, you should quickly determine the most
reasonable way to protect your own life. You should:
Evacuate: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the
Hide Out: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active
shooter is less likely to find you
Take Action: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger,
attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter
 It is important for employees to be trained so that they can react if they are
ever confronted with an active shooter situation
 These situations evolve quickly, therefore, quick decisions could mean the
difference between life and death
 If you are in harm’s way, you will need to decide rapidly what the safest
course of action is based on the scenario that is unfolding before you
 If you suspect a potential active shooter situation, you must quickly
determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life; if there is an
accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises
 Always have an escape route and plan in mind even if you are just visiting
 Make sure to leave your belongings behind
 Be sure to:
– Warn others not to enter an area where the
active shooter may be
– Help others escape, if possible
– Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
– Do not attempt to move wounded people
– Keep your hands visible
– Follow the instructions of law enforcement officers
Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
Hide Out
 If safe 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
– Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
(i.e., office with a closed and locked door)
– Not be a trap or restrictive of your options for
 To prevent an active shooter from
entering your hiding place:
– Lock the door
– Blockade the door with heavy furniture
– Close, cover, and move away from the door
Take Action
 As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger,
should you attempt to incapacitate the shooter by acting with
physical aggression
Act as aggressively as possible against him/her
Throw items and improvise weapons
Commit to your actions
If neither running nor hiding is a safe option,
as a last resort when confronted by the shooter,
adults in immediate danger should consider
trying to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by
using aggressive force and items in their
environment, such as fire extinguishers
Assisting Emergency Responders
 When possible, provide the following information to law enforcement
officers or 911 operators:
Location of the active shooter
Number of shooters, if more than one
Physical description of the shooter(s)
Number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
Number of potential victims at the location
 The primary goal of law enforcement is to
eliminate the threat and stop the active
– Law Enforcement will not be able to stop to help
injured persons until the environment is safe
– Officer(s) will take command of the situation; expect to experience officers
shouting orders and even pushing individuals to the ground for their safety
 After an incident occurs, it is important to manage the
consequences, and analyze the lessons learned
 Post-event activities includes accounting for missing persons,
determining a method for notifying families of victims, and referring
individuals at the scene for follow-up care, including grief counseling
 To facilitate effective planning for future emergencies, analyze the
recent active shooter situation for lessons learned, create an after
action report, refine the EAP, and conduct training
For more information visit:
Greg Hollingsead
Protective Security Advisor - NE
[email protected]

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