Avoid, Deny, Defend: Use This Plan To Defend Against Active Shooters

  • 07 Mar 2018

With active shooter events becoming an epidemic in the United States, businesses, schools and the general public need to prepare themselves. A key part of that preparation is knowing exactly what to do if you find yourself confronted by a shooter.

Active shooter events are chaotic and scary. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Proper preparation and training ensure that you’ll be able to react reflexively to protect yourself and others.

Follow the Avoid, Deny, Defend plan when developing an active shooter preparedness plan.

Avoid, Deny, Defend, developed at the ALERRT Center at Texas State University, is used to train law enforcement officers across the nation in how to rapidly respond to dangerous active shooter events. Businesses, schools and the public can benefit from using this response plan; its steps can be customized and do not need to be employed in a sequential order.

Here’s how the three steps break down:

Avoid The Shooter

The best way to mitigate the risk of harm during an active shooter situation is to avoid confrontation altogether. Fleeing the scene as safely, quickly and quietly as possible is the best way to evade contact with a shooter. Make sure you are familiar with your floor layout plan and/or escape routes so you can make your way to the nearest emergency exit.

Make sure you’ve also identified alternate exits for your office, church, gym, children’s school and any other building you spend a lot of time in. If the shooter is blocking the main entrance, you need to make sure you can quickly move to the alternative exit.

Situations with active shooters can obviously cause panic and hysteria, and not everyone will react as they should, no matter how much training they might receive. Some people may be paralyzed with fear. Help those people by showing them what to do. As you run away yelling “active shooter,” they will follow.

Deny Access To Your Location

If you can’t leave the building safely and find yourself confined to one area such as your office, you need to deny the shooter access to your location.

Deny is the portion of the plan that relies heavily on the organization’s pre-identified interior shelters, which should be established during emergency preparedness training. An analysis of active shooter events showed there is no evidence that a previous active shooter has ever breached an interior, locked, standard commercial door (metal frame with solid wood core).

Other good places to shelter include a closet, office, class, copy room, break room, bathroom or any other room that has a commercial grade locked door with no windows.

Once in the shelter, occupants should barricade the door with as many heavy items as they can. Look around the room and pile anything heavy against the locked door. Use computer cords to help tie items into place.

Desks, copiers, chairs, tables, books, filing cabinets, break room appliances and heavy items could help blockade the entrance and deter an active shooter. Turn off the lights and hide out of sight.

Defend Yourself; Attack In Groups

If you are near the active shooter or are confronted by him, defending yourself by attacking in a group can save your life and the lives of others. When faced with imminent danger, you must fight with all of the strength, anger and ferocity that you can muster.

Research has shown that approximately 20% of would-be attackers are subdued by their intended victims. By launching an unexpected counter attack, you send the assailant into fight, flee or freeze mode. You could stop and detain the shooter or just scare him off with your actions.

When attacking, look around your surroundings for an improvised weapon. Coffee pots, scissors, canned food, staplers or other heavy objects all make good weapons. Make a pact with your colleagues that you’ll work together to attack the shooter if you’re ever in an active shooter situation.

Prepare Now To Protect Yourself

Avoid, Deny, Defend is an optimal concept that will guide your response in an active shooter event. Easy to remember, you can use any step in any order to protect yourself and others around you.

To learn more, download your copy of our Active Shooter Emergency Preparedness Guide: Everything Your Business Needs To Know.”

Register for our webinar, Active Shooter Preparedness: Life-Saving Strategies From A Law Enforcement Expert, to hear active shooter training expert Jay Bryant teach more about Avoid, Deny, Defend.

For more information click here.

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