Sunday, November 15, 2015

DHS: Active Shooter Preparedness & How To Respond


Credit DHS



# 10,713


Although the odds of being caught up in an active shooter scenario like the horrific one in Paris on Friday night are extremely low, they are sadly not zero, and their frequency has steadily increased over the past 15 years.  


Between 2000 and 2013, there were 160 (non-gang related) active shooter events identified by the FBI in the U.S., where more than 1,000 Americans were either killed or wounded.


The 2014 unclassified report for the FBI (cite Blair, J. Pete, and Schweit, Katherine W. (2014). A Study of Active Shooter Incidents, 2000 - 2013. Texas State University and Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C. 2014.) also broke down the locations of 160 active shooter events during this time period.



Like knowing what to do during an earthquake, or during a chemical or radiological emergency, knowing what to do during an active shooter event can be lifesaving.  And while few Americans are aware of it, FEMA, DHS, and other government agencies have prepared guidance and preparedness advice for these scenarios for the public.

Many companies hold active shooter workshops, and seminars, for their employees. Those that haven’t, need to.   But there are also online courses, and videos – created by, or for the Department Of Homeland Security – that are freely available.


The following information is excerpted from the DHS Active Shooter Preparedness web page.


Active Shooter: What You Can Do

DHS has developed an independent study course entitled Active Shooter: What You Can Do. This course was developed to provide the public with guidance on how to prepare for and respond to active shooter crisis situations.

Upon completion of Active Shooter: What You Can Do, employees and managers will be able to:

  • Describe the actions to take when confronted with an active shooter and to assist responding law enforcement officials;
  • Recognize potential workplace violence indicators;
  • Describe actions to take to prevent and prepare for potential active shooter incidents; and
  • Describe how to manage the consequences of an active shooter incident.

The online training is available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency Emergency Management Institute and additional training for law enforcement is available at Federal Emergency Management Agency Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response.


Active Shooter Webinar

A 90-minute Webinar can help the private and public sector understand the importance of developing an emergency response plan and the need to train employees on how to respond if confronted with an active shooter. The presentation describes the three types of active shooters--workplace/school, criminal, and ideological--and how their planning cycles and behaviors differ.


Active Shooter Workshop Series

Active Shooter workshops have already taken place in a number of U.S. cities and will continue to be held in a number of locations in the future. These scenario-based workshops feature facilitated discussions to engage private sector professionals and law enforcement representatives from Federal, State, and local agencies to learn how to prepare for, and respond to, an active shooter situation. Through the course of the exercise, participants evaluate current response concepts, plans, and capabilities for coordinated responses to  active shooter incidents.

If you are interested in future workshops, please contact


Active Shooter: How to Respond Resource Materials

DHS has developed a series of materials to assist businesses, government offices, and schools in preparing for and responding to an active shooter. These products include a desk reference guide, a reference poster, and a pocket-size reference card.

Issues covered in the active shooter materials include the following:

  • Profile of an active shooter;
  • Responding to an active shooter or other workplace violence situation;
  • Training for an active shooter situation and creating an emergency action plan; and
  • Tips for recognizing signs of potential workplace violence.

Available Materials

Options for Consideration Active Shooter Preparedness Video

Options for Consideration demonstrates possible actions to take if confronted with an active shooter scenario. The video also shows how to assist authorities once law enforcement enters the scene. You may also access the video on YouTube.

(Continue . . . .)


The DHS Document ACTIVE SHOOTER: How To Respond  document lists things employers should do now, to prepare for an active shooter event.



Your human resources department and facility managers should engage in planning for emergency situations, including an active shooter scenario. Planning for emergency situations will help to mitigate the likelihood of an incident by establishing the mechanisms described below.

Human Resources’ Responsibilities

  • Conduct effective employee screening and background checks
  • Create a system for reporting signs of potentially violent behavior
  • Make counseling services available to employees
  • Develop an EAP which includes policies and procedures for dealing with an active shooter situation, as well as after action planning

Facility Manager Responsibilities

  • Institute access controls (i.e., keys, security system pass codes)
  • Distribute critical items to appropriate managers / employees, including:- Floor plans- Keys- Facility personnel lists and telephone numbers
  • Coordinate with the facility’s security department to ensure the physical security of the location
  • Assemble crisis kits containing:

- radios

- floor plans

- staff roster, and staff emergency contact numbers

- first aid kits

- flashlights

  • Place removable floor plans near entrances and exits for emergency responders
  • Activate the emergency notification system when an emergency situation occurs


And lastly, because so many of my readers work in Health Care related fields, a link to active shooter guidance for health care settings. 


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