What to when you face an 'active shooter'
posted Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 @ 1:54 pm
A plan of action.
That was the advice John Elfer of Warren County Emergency Management in Vicksburg, Ms., gave business owners, government officials, school leaders and law enforcement officers at an Active Shooter program held at the Central Louisiana Technical Community College Shelby Thursday afternoon.
"Every day in this country there are incidents we don't hear about," Elfer said. "They are more frequent, but they happened back in the 1930s and became more notable in the 1980s with the term 'going postal.'"
Elfer told attendees that any one of the room could by chance be at place where some starts shooting people.
"There have been several incidents," Elfer said. "That person has been motivated by revenge, anger, ideology or an unexpected mental illness. Forty-six percent of these incidents end with law enforcement intervention. Less than one percent end with the shooter trying to escape."
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined, populated area.
"In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims," Elfer said. " Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.
"All employees can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. This course provides guidance to individuals, including managers and employees, so that they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation."
Elfer said workers can prepare for a potential situation by having an emergency action plan and conducting that plan.
"Workers are the best indicators of potential workplace violence," Elfer said. "They may see characteristics or behavior that the top people do not see. And workers should know the sound of gunfire. It doesn't sound the same at every place. React quickly and call 911."
Elfer presented a slide show, describing actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and responding law enforcement officials, recognizing potential workplace violence indicators, describing actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents and describing how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.
The first part covered evacuating the target area.
"You need to have an escape route planning in your mind anytime you go to a public place, such as a mall." Elfer said. "If there is an incident in the mall, what is the first thing the employees are going to do - pull down their gates. You need to know where the exits are so you don't become a soft target."