ACTIVE SHOOTER AWARENESS
The probability of an active shooter situation occurring at LIM College is extremely low. In fact, the chances of you being involved with any type of active shooter event throughout your entire lifetime is very remote. However, the consequences of an active shooter event are extremely high and could result in loss of life and severe injuries to numerous individuals. Therefore, it is prudent to be prepared and know what steps to take if you are ever in the presence of an active shooter.
There are three things you need to remember to do in an active shooter situation:
RUN – HIDE – FIGHT
The safest course of action is to run. If you can’t run because the shooter is in your vicinity, the second best course of action is to hide or take shelter in a safe area. The last course of action is to fight. You would fight if confronted by the shooter and there was little chance of escape possible. You would consider this your “last stand” tactics.
Check out this video that was prepared by a group of colleges in Alberta, Canada.
If you hear shots fired you should move to the nearest exit away from the direction of the shooting. Using a stairway is typically a good option; you won’t have to wait for the elevator and the exits typically lead you quickly out of the building. Exit signs point you to the stairway in all LIM College Buildings. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these exits. Although windows are not suitable for egress in LIM College buildings, if in other facilities, windows may be preferable escape option.
Once in a safe area, call 911.
Keep these things in mind while you run:
- The police are on their way – keep your hands visible and follow police commands
- Don’t worry about your personal items – leave them behind and recover them later
- Use your judgment – there may be some debate on what to do, if you believe that that you can run, then you should run!
- Help others if safe to do so – if you can’t help, notify responders that others are in need of help
If running is not possible, then the next best course of action is hiding or sheltering in place. Move to a room, preferably one that is lockable from the inside. Be sure to lock the door and cover any windows if possible. If the door does not have a lock, then do your best to barricade the door. Hide behind large heavy objects than may be able to absorb shots.
Stay out of the line of site of the shooter, place phones on silent, shut off lights, stay quiet and call 911. Also have someone call the LIM College Emergency Line which is 711 or (212) 310-0660.
Begin developing a plan of attack if the shooter enters the room which should include planning your escape. Arm yourself with something you can throw at the shooter or use to attack the shooter.
A note about locked doors: Locked doors are very hard to breach and often require specialized equipment that active shooters do not typically possess.
If it is not possible to run or hide, then you are faced with only a few bad options. You can continue to hide, play dead or fight. Fighting is the best of the bad options. If you are in a locked room, you actually have some tactical advantages! You know the likely point of entry the shooter will take and you know when the shooter is preparing to enter. It is best to attack in a large group throwing items, hitting the shooter with heavy items and then getting the shooter to the ground. It is very difficult to shoot and fight once on the ground and engaged in a struggle with several people. Attacks should be meant to swarm, knock down and immobilize the shooter.
Once safe to do so, call 911.
Things to consider when fighting:
- Doors are hard to breach – lock or barricade if possible
- Develop a simple plan as a group and attack as one team
- It’s hard to fight from the ground. Place trip hazards in the line of the shooter and/or make the floor slippery if possible. Swarm, knock down and immobilize the shooter.
Law Enforcement Response
All Law Enforcement Officers are trained to respond to active shooters. They typically respond in a team of 3 to 4 officers with the intent of killing the active shooter. They may have specialized weapons such as shotguns, rifles or handguns. Remember that they are human and are likely scared and filled with adrenaline. Help make their decisions easy by keeping your hands visible, following their commands and avoiding yelling or screaming. Once the scene is secure, emergency medical services will be provided and the building will be evacuated in an orderly manner.
Recognizing Signs of Potential School/Workplace Violence
Active shooters rarely react on impulse. Attacks are typically planned over long periods of time and behavioral warning signs typically are present prior to an attack. Many shootings have been prevented by individuals who recognize and report potentially troubling behavior. If you suspect that someone may be a harm to themselves or others, report it immediately to someone at LIM College such as your RA, professor, dean, facilities staff or an administrator.
Signs might include the following:
- Resistance and overreaction to changes in policy and procedures.
- Repeated violations of school/company polices.
- Increased severe mood swings.
- Noticeably unstable or emotional responses.
- Explosive outbursts of anger or rage without provocation.
- Suicidal; comments about “putting things in order”.
- Behavior which is suspect of paranoia, (“Everybody is against me”).
- Talk of previous incidents of violence.
- Empathy with individuals committing violence.
- Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons and violent crimes.