Here at Invictus Consulting we train a lot of individuals on what to do if an active shooter is nearby (in your building, on your campus, in the same shop/venue). The basic premise of what we teach is to Avoid Deny Defend. We’ve written about this topic here on the blog before: Personal Crisis Preparedness; Lessons from Orlando; Active Shooter.
In brief, the principles of Avoid Deny Defend are: Avoid the shooter at all costs by escaping the area, room, building. Deny the shooter access to your location – hide, lock the door, barricade the door, turn off the lights, stay quiet. Defend yourself if the shooter gains access to your location by using any object on hand to attack the shooter.
The basic principles of avoid, deny, defend (sometimes called run, hide, fight) work in nearly every situation involving an active shooter. With that said, we do tailor our training session differently for schools versus office settings. The main difference is that adults in an corporate setting save and defend themselves, while adults in a school setting are tasked with saving and defending both themselves and the children under their care.
Practicing these steps is equally important for both groups, both those who are saving themselves and those who are saving themselves and those under their care. Individuals who are tasked with protecting others must also practice these steps with their students – there’s a big difference between running out of a building at full speed versus quietly and calmly escorting students out of a building. There’s a big difference between hiding yourself in a small utility closet and hiding a classroom full of children. There’s a big difference between a handful of adults attacking an active shooter versus a single adult surrounded by children attempting to attack an active shooter. While the principles of avoid, deny, defend are universal, it is important that schools and corporate environments drill the practice based on their unique situation.