HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN ACTIVE SHOOTER
Living a life free from fear means being able to protect it at all times. Our hope is to empower all with practical life-saving information and to help us all be safe.
PROFILE OF AN ACTIVE SHOOTER
Active shooter or Active Killer is what we call the perpetrator of a type of mass murder marked by rapidity, scale, randomness, and often suicide.
An Active Shooter is a situation where one or more suspects participate in a random or systematic attack with a demonstrated intent on killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most situations Active Shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. The term Active Shooter may also apply to an individual armed with any type of weapon (e.g. firearm, knife, explosives, bludgeon, vehicle, etc.) and who poses an active threat. Their main objective is to inflict serious bodily injury or death rather than other criminal conduct. These situations evolve quickly and demand immediate law enforcement intervention to stop the attack and reduce harm to innocent victims.
YOUR SECURITY STARTS WITH YOU SO DON'T BE PASSIVE!
You must take care of yourself and you must plan for no help being available and for your plans to fail when you need them most. If you are serious about protecting yourself, you must understand that you are the first responder. Police officers, medical personnel, and firefighters must be viewed as second responders. You must be an active participant in your own rescue.
Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that students and staff are likely to follow the lead of instructors and managers during an active shooter situation.
IF THERE IS AN ACCESSIBLE ESCAPE PATH, ATTEMPT TO EVACUATE THE PREMISES.
BE SURE TO:
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Help others escape, if possible.
- Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
- Keep your hands visible so the police know you are not the Active Shooter.
- Follow the instructions of any police officers.
- Do not attempt to move or treat wounded people.
- Call 911 when you are safe.
IF EVACUATION IS NOT POSSIBLE, FIND A PLACE TO HIDE WHERE THE ACTIVE SHOOTER IS LESS LIKELY TO FIND YOU.
YOUR HIDING PLACE SHOULD:
- Be out of the active shooter's view.
- Find a location that provides protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., a room with a closed and locked door).
- Do not hide ion a place that traps you or restricts your options for movement.
- Lock the door if possible.
- If the door has no lock and the door opens, block the door with heavy furniture to barricade it.
- If the door has a window, cover it.
- Remain silent and also silence your cell phone and/or pager and turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions).
- Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)
- Depending on the building and the gunmen's location, you may also exit through windows. Have someone watch as you get as many people out through windows as calmly and as quietly as possible.
- If the windows do not open, you cannot break them, or you are not on the ground floor, get out of sight from the door and stay low and quiet.
- If no police units are on scene, move well away from the incident and find safe cover positions and wait for the police to arrive.
IF YOU ARE IN IN A HALLWAY OR CORRIDOR
- Go into a room that is not already secured and secure it.
- Unless you are very close to an exit, do not run through a long hall to get to one, as you may encounter the gunmen or hostage-taker.
IF YOU ARE IN A LARGE ROOM OR AUDITORIUM
- If you are in a gym or theater and the gunmen is not present, move to an exit towards any police in the area.
- Drop all bags and keep your hands on your head.
- Do what the police tell you to do.
IF YOU ARE IN AN OPEN SPACE
- Stay alert and look for appropriate cover locations. Hardcover, such as brick walls, large trees, retaining walls, parked vehicles, and any other object that may stop bullets, may be used as cover.
WHEREVER YOU GO YOU SHOULD ALWAYS:
- Always be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.
IF EVACUATION AND HIDING OUT ARE NOT POSSIBLE:
- Remain calm.
- Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter's location or if on Campus call Public Safety at extension 7777 or (212) 650-7777 or use one of the Emergency Call boxes located throughout the campus.
- If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.
TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE ACTIVE SHOOTER
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:
- Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her.
- Throwing items and improved weapons like garbage cans, books, cell phones, staplers, etc.
- Yell and scream.
- Commit to your actions.
CALL 911 OR THE PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT AT EXTENSION 7777 OR (212) 650-7777 OR USE ONE OF THE COLLEGE'S EMERGENCY CALL BOX TELEPHONES WHEN IT IS SAFE TO DO SO.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM RESPONDING POLICE OFFICERS
- Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area where the shots were last heard. Their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers may possibly be from different police agencies and dressed in different uniforms. They may even be in civilian clothes and wearing an external bulletproof vest.
- Regardless of how officers appear, remain calm.
- Put down any bags or packages that you are carrying and keep your hands visible at all times.
- Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
- Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling
- Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premises.
- Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns.
- Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.
- Officers may shout commands and may push individuals to the ground for their safety.
- Do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them.
- If you know where the shooter is, or know the shooters' description, tell the officers.
- The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured victims. Rescue teams will follow shortly after the first responding officers enter the area. They will attend to the injured and remove everyone safely from the area.
- Keep in mind that once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene.
- Police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is under control and witnesses have been identified.
- Until you have been released, remain at the assembly point authorities have designated.
INFORMATION TO PROVIDE TO THE POLICE OPERATOR (CALL 911) OR CCNY PUBLIC SAFETY (212) 650-7777):
- The location of the active shooter
- The number of shooters, if more than one
- The Physical description of shooter(s)
- The number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s)
- The number of potential victims at the location
Active shooters do not negotiate.
They try to kill as many people as possible.
There are few incidents where law enforcement officers have been injured or killed responding to Active Shooter events.
Most times the shooter commits suicide when confronted by law enforcement officers when unarmed civilians resist, the active shooter gives up.
RECOGNIZING POTENTIAL WORKPLACE VIOLENCE
An active shooter in your workplace may be a current or former employee or an acquaintance of a current or former employee. Intuitive managers and coworkers may notice characteristics of potentially violent behavior in an employee.
Alert one or more of the following if believe an employee, coworker or student exhibits potentially violent behavior:
- Human Resources Department
- Student Affairs
- The CCNY CARE Team (Crisis, Assessment, Response, and Education Team)
- Department of Public Safety
INDICATORS OF POTENTIAL VIOLENCE
A person does not typically just "snap". They sometimes display indicators of potentially violent behavior over time. If these behaviors are recognized, they can often be managed and treated.
Potentially violent behaviors may include one or more of the following (this list of behaviors is not comprehensive, nor is it intended as a mechanism for diagnosing violent tendencies):
- Increased use of alcohol and/or illegal drugs
- Unexplained increase in absenteeism; vague physical complaints
- Noticeable decrease in attention to appearance and hygiene
- Depression or withdrawal
- Resistance and overreaction to changes in policy and procedures
- Repeated violations of college policies
- Increased severe mood swings
- Noticeably unstable, 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")
- Increasingly talks of problems at home
- Escalation of domestic problems or talk of severe financial problems
- Talk of previous incidents of violence
- Empathy with individuals committing violence
- An increase in unsolicited comments about firearms, other dangerous weapons, and violent crimes
What else can you do?
- Prepare a plan of action for an active shooter in advance.
- Determine possible escape routes and know where the nearest building exits are.