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The Lessons We Have Learned from Active Shootings

As a considered expert in “Active Shootings,” I’ve often been asked what changes need to happen to reduce the number of fatalities during one of these horrific events. My response has always remained the same: training.

Several years ago, the Federal Bureau of Investigations analyzed hundreds of active shooting events to find commonalities and mistakes victims and law enforcement made during such incidents. The analysis was then published and made available to the general public to educate them on the common mistakes and the positive reactions and tactics implemented by survivors during an active shooter event:

  1. Hiding: According to the FBI, the most common mistake made by these individuals was the simple fact that they chose to hide behind or underneath structures that did not give them ballistic coverage. This idea of hiding underneath a desk or table originated in the 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Children were taught to secure themselves under their desks to avoid their demise. This ideology was passed on from generation to generation and remains in place today. Unfortunately, this is one of the, if not the worst, tactics to use during an active shooting event. If possible, you need to create distance between yourself and the shooter by attempting to escape, and if you must hide, make sure you place yourself in a secure environment, such as a room that gives you the ability to secure it from the inside. If you don’t have a lock on the inside of the door, then if it’s a door that swings inward, barricade items in front of the entrance to prevent the gunman from gaining access. If the door swings outwardly, tie an extension cord or similar item around the door handle and have others help you pull inwardly to prevent the gunman from entering the room.

  2. Not Being Prepared: Every day in this country, children, employees, and organizations of every type practice fire drills. In fact, if you ask your child to explain to you the procedure if there were ever to be a fire in the school, the odds are great that they can do so with nearly verbatim precision. But what would they tell you if you asked them what should be done if a bad person came into the school with a gun? More than likely, they will not have a response. The reason for this is simply the fact that our children aren’t receiving enough training on active shooting preparedness. “Training makes a difference.” We haven’t lost a child in a school-related fire since December 1958.

If you are concerned about being unprepared for a mass shooting, we want to help you prepare. Get a “Proactive Solution for an Unexpected Situation.” Find out how at

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