There seems to be a never ending increase in violence. The last few years have brought many issues to the forefront. There have been many discussions on mental illness. The political landscape has been very volatile and has divided the country. If you add on the opinions of Covid-19 and its effects on the economy. The lockdown of 2020. Workforce reduction cases. Hostile termination cases. Citizens have been fed up and many have taken it to violence. Whether the perpetrator has used a firearm, a knife, a vehicle, or fists there have been hundreds of victims and many of those victims have received fatal injuries. For a sobering understanding just look at the FBI Statistics.
My story as an instructor really starts on December 2, 1993. This is pre-social media and no cell phones and a few years before the shooting at Columbine High School that changed views and tactics on handling active shooters. I was a police candidate and in training for the very city that would be shaken to it's core. An unemployed engineer walked into an unemployment office killing three people, injuring nine others, and would eventually kill a pursuing officer. The suspect was killed by police as the suspect tried to run into another unemployment office in a neighboring city.
Why I believe A.L.I.V.E. saves lives. It provides a five-step plan for organizations to help their employees get to safety in the event of an active shooter. It takes the Run-Hide-Fight procedure and expands necessary methods in order to get out of an active violent situation. Below I will expand on the A.L.I.V.E. plan.
ASSESS: Before running anywhere you should always take a moment to breathe and do an immediate risk assessment. How many assailants are there? If I run where do I go? The last thing you want is to run towards the attacker(s). Where are the shots coming from? If it is not a shooter, perhaps the attacker is using a knife, you will need to listen to the chaos to determine your route of escape. Once you have determined your escape plan you move to the second step.
LEAVE: Once you determine where you need to go; hallway, fire exit, etc. Then move away from the threat fast. If you're passing employees or patrons then yell at them to run. Inform them that they need to leave NOW! Command with urgency but move yourself at the same time. When you get out of the building, do not stop. You need distance between you and the attacker. Watch for windows and doors as you're leaving. You're not out of harms way just yet. You need to get that distance first. Don't worry about belongings. You will have a chance to get belongings later.
IMPEDE: If you're in an area where the attacker is too close for you to leave then you need to fortify. I do not like the word hide myself. If you choose to "hide" then find a way to impede the attacker's movement to you. If you hide without impeding well then you're a "sitting duck." Find ways to obstruct movement. Put items in front of a door. Turn off lights. Close blinds. Make the area dark. If the door can lock put something in front of the door anyway. This phrase is called "lock and block." Be difficult to find and fortify your position.
VIOLENCE: This takes the place of the fight. This is not a fight. If it was a fight you would might still lose. This is a violent attack in which you, and maybe others with you, are going to violently attack the attacker. If you are in a situation where you can't leave and you're in an area where you need to defend your position then violence is the ONLY way out. There is no de-escalation, no plea to stop, this is someone who has no problem ending your life. You need to make a choice. Do you die or does the attacker die? I will go for the attacker every time. Anything you can find should be used as a weapon. If there is a group of you use your number and your weapons. Size doesn't matter in this situation. No one is ever to weak or to small to defend themselves from a violent attack with a violent attack. The attacker is already convinced they are going to die. They simply don't care. So the only way you will live is by attacking back violently.
EXPOSE: Lastly, if you believe the attack has ended please expose yourself cautiously. The attacker might be reloading, changing positions, or there is more than one attacker. Or you might be right. The attack has ended and first responders are on scene. Remember they are full of adrenaline as well. There is that moment of confusion where they are looking to also stop the attacker. Don't put you in a position that let's them think that you are the assailant. If your position is fortified it will be better for you to stay put and let the first responders come to you.
Every company should have a plan. Workplace Violence should always be in a discussion. For information regarding the A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Plan click on the link. Also, read Michael Julian's 10 Minutes to Live.
For presentations on the A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Plan for your organization contact the author and instructor at Jaguar Executive Services.
Remember: Always Safe Always Vigilant