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Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight

Just a couple minor points that I include in my training classes that I don't see in other places:  1.  I have not seen a case in which someone who begins shooting inside a building pursues anyone who runs outside.  We advise people to run, this fact helps reinforce it.  2. Although fighting a shooter is the last resort, there are not many tips for doing so.  For instance, people tend to use stick-like objects (from pens to broomsticks) for hitting when they are much more effective as stabbing weapons.  Even rolled magazines can be stabbed into eyes, throats, etc.  3.  Then, there is tunnel vision.  In my law enforcement days, I witnessed this phenomenon and have taken advantage of it to subdue criminals.  Too often we see brave individuals die because they attacked a shooter from the front.  But, a shooter is intent on his activities and tunnel vision reduces his peripheral vision and hearing.  Not every circumstance allows you to get behind a shooter, but if it can be arranged, he is not likely to notice your approach.  Then, apply hard objects to soft places.  Personally, I prefer live heroes to dead ones.

michael bookman 1 year ago   Reply

Does anyone out thier have any Idears about safe rooms being build in the schools perhaps every othe room or so. If I remember most school rooms had doors to the other class room in them. FEMA already has plans for saferooms for storms with a little bet of improvement they could be adapted for the school system. Stronger Door, radios, phone system, ect

ChetBacon Bacon 1 year ago   Reply

Safe room or rooms will not work as much as making it very hard to get into a school.  Having taught at a HS and MS I can tell you schools are not safe!  Teachers are instructed to lock their doors so that all they have to do is close them should an alert happen - they don't!  Kids prop open doors for their friends and themselves so they can come back inside at the HS level.  They just do not get it!  Safety comes first!
If we were able to manage a double set of doors to access a school so you had to go through two check points it might help.  You should not be able to access any inside points of a building unless checked - period!

Michael Kazyak 1 year ago   Reply

Yes. This has been my experience as well. Schools are by their very nature an open enviorement. Likewise, our culture holds and promotes the inherent sanctity of individual rights, which invariablly (and rightly) restrict actions such as gun bans, forced mental health treatment, and detainment by law enforcement of possible threats. Naturally, in our free society we walk a very fine line between community safety and individual rights which, while preventing totalitarianism and authoritarian abuse, also allows for individuals to more easily commit actions like the Sandy Hook shooting. As seen there, colombine, virginia tech etc. all were commited by severally apathetic and mentally ill individuals who were able to aquire legally purchased firearms, and who had spent a significant amount of time planning and executing their attacks. The targets were not random and each had an important significance to the shooter. Moreover each of these, situations saw both prepared and unprepared inviduals, highighting the disparity of training or awareness amongst each schools student body and especially, staff. Additionally, in each incident the shooter(s) were able to gain access to school facilities  even with passive security measures (something which in Sandy Hook's case,  probally saved many many lives). Each incident saw the perpetrator(s) ability to obtain legal firearms. and each were known to have some kind of significant mental and emotional health problems that were overlooked or disregarded. Interestingly each of these incidents saw the gunman/gunmen take their own lives, usually upon approaching confrontation with law enforcement. None of these incidents occured where there were armed personal who could immedietly respond, something that should be considered when deciding to allow for the arming of teachers. 

The commonalities are indeed inciteful. Indeed, one might question how "the same" set of circumstances could occur again, and again, and again, all in spite of increased school security, firearm restriction, and mental health inititiatives for disturbed individuals. 

The mistake I think too many policy leaders and school administrators make is their treating  of school shootings as if  certain policies, security systems, armed teachers/guards etc. will completely prevent school shootings. The unfortunate reality is that like terrorism the question is not IF we can prevent another school shooting but HOW can we minimize their occurannce and magnitude? Violence against schools, teachers and school children will continue to occur and will be perpetrated by individuals who possess eerily similar characteristics to prior shooters and which will present situations eerily similar in their sequence of events

The goal then must not be to expect some sort of universal prevention or silver bulle type policy, but must be to minimize the frequency and severity of these events through collective implementation of proactive threat assessments, increased target hardening, student and staff awareness and training, and the ability to allow schools to adopt, adapt, and implement these principles based on their individual preferences, risks, and needs.  I have included a some of what I believe to be fundemental changes that can help minimize these events in the future. 

Enhance school (classroom/building) security through both passive security measures and employee training, both serving to help increase awareness, decrease access and increase resistance to a potential shooter.

Educate students through practical excercises about how to best protect themselves and others during a shooting scenario including how to passivly impede a shooters advance without endangering themselves or others. (securing doors behind them, dumping soap on the floor in the bathroom, zig zagging stategically to areas of cover while progressivly distancing self from scene etc.) 

Facilitate active dialgoue between educators and students to ensure potentially disturbed or dangerous indviiduals are identified, evaluated, and and risk assessed, while ensuring dialogue occurs between school officials, families, medical professionals and law enforcement (when necessary.) 

Evaluate school security/threats/and prepardness on a regular basis and simply the risk management process by combining antcillary programs for fire, shootings, weather, disasters etc. into a single core program that promote common processes for students and staff to follow while encouraging the habitual and repeditive practice of core prepardness and EM principles as an essential component to the education process and in being a prepared and educated citizen. 

Ronnie Means 1 year ago   Reply

The best answer so far,right on. Secure the building !!!  Rjm

I find it curious that members of FEMA are even allowed to discuss this topic. I was essentially kicked out because I broached this topic.Perhaps times change?[or will the censors delete this message].Having taken  Active Shooter and Enhanced Explosive Devices seminars at Monroe Community College's Homeland Security Management Institute[Rochester,NY],as well as being a NRA Rifle/Handgun Safety Instructor,I've always been aware of these topics. Perhaps FEMA will make qualified individuals[like myself] federal Peace Officers and allow them to carry sidearms during disasters??. It is long overdue from a public/environmental health and homeland security perspective.Hope you all are stockpiled/ready for this next batch of snow.One good thing will occur:recharge of groundwater aquifers.

 Happy new year..


Ronald Everitt 1 year ago   Reply

I don't know Karl but I find it appropriate discussing such matters at this FEMA site,it's a good way to vent even if you don't have any preventative measure of adding to.

As for that matter of trouble-shooting with preventative measures to offer I'm quite glad for my personal record for all of these years with CERT and having attended an x-amount of training meetings and most of those years didn't have the online capobility of going to such sites as this. But what I'm super glad for is its counter record of zero times of ever deployed in all those years. I've learned since becoming CERT active there's not anything much to be offered that isn't already principle.

Know you didn't ask for all that Karl because no doubt knowing it for yourself allready,just venting here myself,since this is but an volunteer status for me and have other priorities than sitting around twiddling my thumbs waiting for the balloon to go up though it is a nice place to visit with likeminded People. That's kind of my reply if guns/rights are any topic for this site.

Dale Heaton 1 year ago   Reply

Great point.  I was asked to be with the Medical Reserve Corps but they don't allow you to be armed, so I didn't join  I am partially disabled and needed a way to protect myself. I took three defensive courses from a well-know national institute, one for each type of weapon I own.  And, I didn't carry until I was properly trained accordingly.   There are a lot of qualified people out there, and this important resource keeps getting swept under the rug.  Happy new year!

Under no circumstance,do I suggest"casual" firearms[or knife]carrying.By the very nature of disasters one ought to expect comprised public/environmental health and law enforcement.That said,do you as disaster responders,want to be unarmed ?? I don't,and I won't.Some of us actually remember the 1964 riots in NYC,etc or the free roaming poisonous snakes in the Mississippi River Valley last spring.  FEMA chooses to ignore this reality.                                                .You decide-but don't be conned by political correctness. Be trained,be awake, be armed. It literally could save YOUR life,as well as people around you.

ChetBacon Bacon 1 year ago   Reply

Mental health issues are much more difficult and expensive to codify, so the political attention-grabbing liberals go after firearms. These YOUNG MEN (Millennium Killers), the ones who have watched violence and acted via computer games violence for many years, ones whose greatest glory in life is to be that killer, to have one's name in lights, number one on the score board. In their own mind it is the only way they will be anything different then a looser, a no nothing.

So how do you keep the Adam Lanzas and James Holmes types ( the Joker of Aurora, CO ) at home and away from the Mall theatres and the schools? Not by taking away weapons from Americans who are armed to protect themselves from these suburban unsupervised psychos and other thugs on the street.   You do it early on and in school.

Schools are the most important social institutions in our society.  Social clubs and churches, also play important roles in socializing us, but public schools accept all children, regardless of background or need.  Human beings are inherently social beings.  People need people to survive. We need contact with others to sustain ourselves and to remind us of what it means to be human.  Our schools need to teach our children how to be productive and inclusive members of society. Schools play a vital role in a society as diverse and complex as ours where socialization and learning can take place safely.  Its important to stop bullying and ostracizing in our schools and to identify individuals who do have issues early on in life.

When our schools are attacked and when the safety of children are at risk everyone is affected.  It is devastating to think that the social trust, that is essential for learning to take place, has been broken. Some may react to these shootings by calling for more security and by banning weapons. Others may feel safer by homeschooling their children in the hopes that this will shield them from harm.  The answer will not be found in either strategy.  Instead, we must find ways to strengthen our bonds, to increase our connections to each other, to embrace the disaffected and to care for the mentally ill.

More than a century ago when we struggled to integrate millions of new immigrants from Europe our schools lead the way.  Today is no different; we have new immigrants from even more countries coming into our country and along with them all kinds of new challenges. We again need to turn to our schools, just like when our society some 50 years ago finally realized that racial segregation was morally unacceptable and ended it. We again must turn to our schools to seek ways to restore and revitalize the bonds that protect us and hold us together as a community and a family.

Kurt Kurt 1 year ago   Reply

Chet, diddo to your statements regarding the solutions to the Newtown tragedy.

Yuko Nakanishi 1 year ago   Reply

There are two key questions that need to be addressed:

Are teachers even willing to carry guns? Many may feel that it is a significant responsibility (to keep guns out of the hands of others) and that it will distract them from their teaching duties.  Some may also be against guns in schools, period. 

Will training be offered to teachers? Many school budgets are constrained and cannot accommodate training expenses.  However, training on how and when to use the guns is essential - so who would provide and pay for the training?

As someone who has been in law enforcement and carried a gun, I am disturbed by those who think arming school personnel or even having an armed officer on campus is the grand solution to school shootings.  A responsible armed person is going to be hesitant to engage a shooter in a crowded building.  Real gunfights are not like TV or even the range where every shot hits the mark.  Bullets kill bystanders, ricochet and go through walls.  The bad guy doesn't have these concerns.  A prudent officer is also not going to dash into a situation which could get him killed and give the shooter another weapon.  One must proceed cautiously and employ cover--especially because the lone officer is the only defender on the scene and he needs to be the last one standing.  I am not against a police presence in schools, but anyone who thinks that putting more guns in schools is THE solution is not thinking it through.

The expense of hiring private security, particularly armed Security is an expensive option.   Here, locally, our San Diego Unified School District has a School Police Department...

The San Diego Unified Police Department is a fully accredited police agency employing full-time sworn police officers, community service officers, and a full complement of support staff. While our primary role is to maintain order and security on and near school facilities, school police officers provide far more than standard law enforcement efforts. We also take a leading edge, proactive role in creating the positive learning environment in which superb education is not only possible, but also probable.

Today, the San Diego Unified School District Police Department is recognized as a leader in school-based community policing. A big part of that success is due to the vast resources available to the department, including the latest in technological tools such as state-of-the-art computer equipment, high-speed access to law enforcement databases and automated analysis and reporting systems.

In addition to physical resources, school police personnel are encouraged to spend more quality time in developing positive interpersonal relationships with those in our schools and in our community. Personnel engage in daily contact with students, teachers, staff, and members of the community to help promote a positive learning environment with the schools, and to build ever-growing cooperative partnerships among the schools and the surrounding communities. As a result, the students benefit most of all by being better able to concentrate their time and attention on what matters most: learning and growing.

As an owner of a family Private Security company, we would love the  contracts, as a concerned community member I see this as a huge expense our schools cannot afford.  Schools need to spend their resources educating our children.......

After September 11, 2001 some airline pilots were granted the authority to carry guns while on duty in the cockpit. The pilots are trained on how to use the weapon in the unlikely event a person were to enter the cockpit and threaten the safety of the flight.

No armed pilot has had to use a gun to defend against a threat since the program started in 2002. There has been one accidental discharge of a gun in the cockpit of a US Airways flight while the airplane was on approach to land. There flight landed safely. In another incident a JetBlue pilot lost his hand gun when it was picked up by a passenger who mistakenly picked up the wrong backpack containing the locked weapon at John F. Kennedy airport in New York. The passenger realized she had the wrong bag after boarding her flight and returned it to a flight attendant.

The idea that teacher's do have a weapon to use if needed may help deter these events from happening??  Unfortunately, it seems as these events are a real threat and we do need to protect our children and citizens.  We cannot just sit and watch the media memorialize the bad guys we need to come up with solutions and resources to keep America's children safe at our schools.

I understand not all will be excited or even willing to go through firearms training, but we need to be proactive and ultimately in the world we are living in, we should all be able to defend and protect our families as well as ourselves.  


Laura Brown 1 year ago   Reply

Thank you for putting it so well. As a non-gun user I have credibility problems when I vocalize against the idea of having more guns present in a school setting.  May I quote you?

Ken Brown 1 year ago   Reply

I don’t believe this should not be about training teachers how to lethal or non-lethal defense strategies in protecting their classrooms.

School structures limited ingress and regress, which make them ideal structures to secure with trained security and not necessarily uniformed, as that has a whole different set of issues for little ones to understand.  I live fairly close to a school that was built in the 70’s and it’s not much different than the ones I attended in the 50’s and 60’s, they all seem to have 4 to 5 entries/exits. Schools were designed to move students in an orderly fashion from Point A to Point B, which also makes them ideal for evacuation.

It would be prudent to train specialized armed security officers often employed at University Campuses and Hospitals. To have a parameter monitoring center inside the school and 4 or so specially trained security officers or special police would prevent the type of carnage that took place in Newtown, Ct. Not every person is capable of being trained to handle a firearm safely or more importantly to engage in lethal force to save their or another’s life.  That’s a big pill to ask teachers to swallow

Reginald Newberry 1 year ago   Reply

I personally don't feel that teachers carrying is a good idea. Law enforcement officials go through extensive training in order to carry firearms. Teachers can have the training but may not react properly when put in a situation where they might have to use it.

I am a Crisis Coordinator at a charter school here in Cleveland. Every year I train the staff on being prepared for a number of events, including Active Shooters. The best way to protect students, staff, and property is to have a plan in place and practice it often.

I have taken countless courses through FEMA EMI Independent Study Program as well as Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS). I have also attended several trainings provided by Ohio EMA. Our best defense against these horrible acts of violence is to be "proactive".

It appears to me that a lot of schools in America wait for something bad to happen somewhere, then they decide to put certain actions in place. We as a nation need to start now educating educators on being prepared. We can't wait until something happen because by then it may already be too late.

I think the teachers will feel more confident in receiving self defense training from their local enforcements. I was a former elmentary education teacher. I would not want to be responsible for a child or youth getting hold of my gun and always watching over my shoulder. At least with the self defense training, I will feel more confident in what to do in a situation. We should not hae to come to the place where we need police on campus and carrying personal weapons. If it is not a safe place for kids, then we need to come up with a better plan. Bullying is another reason why kids go to the extreme and the legislators are not taking that issue more seriously. If they know they can go to jail for bullying, or have mediation peer to peer mock classroom settings, it may address some of the violence that occurs in the school system. Also not build large schools.

Timothy Laycock 1 year ago   Reply

The majority of the general population at large are not psychologically equipped to use deadly force, even in self defense . This is also true of the military and police forces. Despite the  public images promoted by all the police shows on television, most officers rarely fire a weapon in the line of duty, and many will retire without having ever having fired at another person. This is why police departments have counselors and psychologists available after officer shootings. It may be comforting to think of your local police officer as a cast member on "Law and Order", but in reality they are just another person often with an Associates Degree in criminal justice and 6 months of on the job training. Most are also only minimally qualified to use the weapons they carry. The certain thing is that an armed intruder IS ready, willing and able to fire without hesitation, by their very presence they have demonstrated that they have discarded any social convention or inhibitions. Two armed persons in conflict are a "gunfight", an armed assailant against unarmed persons is a "slaughter". Which would you rather participate in, or have your children participate in?  Having an armed presence is a GOOD idea where qualified persons are available, but it is not for everyone.

Eugene Farley 1 year ago   Reply

There are some consistent patterns in the school shootings, they mirror the Orion project the CIA initiated. In most attacks on the schools a few consistent behavior patterns can be exploited. The first one is that the shooters will commit suicide as soon as they are confronted by an armed resistance. The second pattern appears to be they have a mechanical focus, like a person programmed. There is an exploitable weakness to this type of focus. Once they feel they have achieved their goal they will stop, this is when they will commit suicide. So there is two areas to that can be used, one is to make sure there is armed resistance to the shooter, and the other is make them believe they have achieved their goal. The decision to arm or not arm is a mute point. to not arm would mean soft targets with no resistance. to arm would mean at least some form of resistance. for a better understanding of this type of behavior I would suggest reading The Secret Government by Bill Moyers.

Follow up to my earlier post. The mere presence[not displaying/using it] has averted several criminal actions in Rochester to me.

My question to earlier respondent re choice of caliber/projectile style: what factory brand and style of ammunition for calibers 45ACP,9mm Luger, 38Special,357Mag,45Colt? to carry e.g.Glasers, Hydrashoks, Magsafe, etc.

What does law enforcement currently carry in those calibers?