Beyond Run, Hide, Fight: Advanced Active Shooter Response Training Strategies

Table of Contents

The threat of active shooter incidents looms large. No business, school, church, or institution is immune. The consequences can be devastating; lives lost, families shattered, and communities left reeling. That’s why active shooter response training is more critical than ever. 

Many people are familiar with the concept of “run, hide, fight.” This concept revolves around what options people or unarmed persons have in an emergency, like an active shooter incident: run, hide, or fight. This incomplete and general list of possible reactions is far from true preparation. 

Organizations need to go beyond the basics. They need to use strategies that will protect their most valuable assets—their people. Preparing for an active shooter situation is a necessity for any institution. This preparation is not about fear- It’s about empowering individuals to stay safe. 

Imagine two organizations side by side. One organization does not have a formal plan—and if it does, it’s somewhere in the training manual that no one reads. On the other hand, the second organization invests in active shooter preparedness and an active shooter training course, completely with comprehensive security measures, such as bullet-resistant glass laminates. Which group would you rather be in during an active shooter incident?

The choice is clear. 

Institutions that adopt a formal training protocol for these types of emergencies are better equipped to prevent, respond to, and recover from active shooter incidents.

In this article, we’ll explore why active shooter response training is crucial for an organization to respond effectively and inform how Clear-Armor can help your organization implement an emergency response plan to achieve the highest level of protection for you and your peers.

If there was an active shooter incident, would you know what to do?

An active shooter situation is a living nightmare that no one wants to face. However, to effectively prepare for and respond to such an incident, we must first understand what the term ‘active shooter incident’ actually means:

  • An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people with a firearm in a confined and populated area.
  • Active shooter situations are often unpredictable and evolve quickly, an emergency that leaves little time for decision-making or strategizing.
  • These incidents can happen anywhere, at any time, and without warning. When seconds count, having the right knowledge and know-how can be the difference between life and death.

How To Create an Active Shooter Training Plan

An active shooter response plan is like a lifeboat on a ship. You hope you never need it, but if you do, it can be the difference between sinking and staying afloat.

However, just as not all lifeboats are created equal, not all response plans are effective. To truly protect your organization, you need a comprehensive, tailored plan that is regularly updated.

Step 1: Ask for An Outside Assessment

The best active shooter response plan is one that involves the entire community, from every member of your organization to police and first responders.

It’s recommended that you ask for an outside assessment from local law enforcement officers and your fire department. This will establish and create a relationship between your organization and first responders to give you more knowledge, resources, and skills that save lives. They can point out the risks in your community, campus, and building.

The outside assessment should:

  • Evaluate layout, location, mitigation efforts, and personnel capabilities.
  • Consider the risk level for both the community and the organization.
  • Offer support and techniques to prepare individuals for potential violence.

Another resource is the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, which specializes in school and community safety. They focus on crisis prevention, reunification, standard response training, and active shooter training.

Because every site is different, every active shooter training plan will be different. However, there are key ingredients to strong active shooter preparedness.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Clear guidelines and protocols for reporting suspicious activity.
  • Identifying warning signs.
  • Detailed evacuation and lockdown procedures.
  • Clearly developed roles and responsibilities for team members.
  • Effective communication systems for alerting personnel and coordinating with law enforcement.
  • Integration of physical security measures and technology.
  • Provision for regular training and drills.

Step 2: Conduct Regular Drills Simulating an Active Shooter Situation

People don’t ‘rise’ to the occasion when it comes to survival; rather, they fall back to the level of their knowledge, training, and experience. In the event of an active shooter situation, adrenaline and nerves are running high.

Survival largely depends on the ability to remain as calm as possible and draw on the techniques, skills, and confidence gained during active shooter training.

Here’s the key: Training drills must be frequent and mirror an actual active shooter event (within reason).

In a real-life active shooter incident, law enforcement always takes several minutes to arrive.

The goal of crisis training is not to overpower the active shooter (the ‘fight’ part of ‘run, hide, fight’). Rather, crisis training is to empower employees and every person on site to respond quickly and break the attack cycle until police can secure the environment.

For example, active shooter training will teach you how to disrupt the attack using tools found in your immediate environment, such as fire extinguishers, barricades, and alarms. These disruptions can buy precious time when every second is critical.

However, a singular active shooter preparedness training session is not enough. Training should be a regular, ongoing process. Why? Because these are perishable skills- they have a limited shelf life. As people come and go, new employees and colleagues enter your organization, and other changes are made at your site, training must be revised and practiced under those new circumstances. Multiple practices are necessary to build confidence, institutional memory, awareness, and survival skills.

Keep your tools sharp. Seek assistance in the right place, continue threat assessments, and make active shooter training a priority, not an afterthought.

Step 3: Maintain an Active Shooter Response Kit

In addition to active shooter response training, every organization should make and maintain an active shooter response kit or bag.

It’s not enough to invest in intensive training if you don’t have the tools necessary to respond to victims until emergency responders arrive.

An active shooter response kit, such as the TruTrauma SOS Kit, can make all the difference in survival. This kit was created for ease of use and accessibility. Every item is color-coded to help team members maintain awareness and act quickly in an emergency.

Furthermore, these training concepts are transferable to a wide range of situations. For example, a teacher in Chicago who received TruTrauma training from Clear-Armor came upon a motorcycle accident on her way home from work. She used the skills from her crisis training and was able to utilize the tools in the TruTrauma SOS Kit to save his life. She was able to respond to this incident and save his life.

In other words, the skills and situational awareness developed in training can transfer to other areas where safety matters.

How to Choose an Active Shooter Response Training Provider

When it comes to something as critical as active shooter response training, not all providers and programs are created equal. Choosing the right training partner is a decision that could be the difference between survival and death. So, what should you look for in a training provider? Here are the key factors to consider:

  1. Hyper realistic Training: Look for a provider that offers immersive, realistic scenarios that closely simulate real-world active shooter situations. This type of training goes beyond the classroom, preparing participants mentally and emotionally for the high-stress reality of an actual incident.
  2. Comprehensive Curriculum: Your training should cover all aspects of active shooter response, from prevention and preparedness to in-the-moment reaction and post-incident recovery. Look for a provider that offers a holistic approach, including elements like situational awareness, trauma care, and the development of a survivor mentality.
  3. Experienced Instructors: The best training comes from those who have faced real-world crises. Seek out a provider whose instructors have hands-on experience, such as a background in law enforcement, military, or emergency services. They should be certified in recognized programs like STOP THE BLEED®.
  4. Customizable Programs: Every organization is unique, and your training should be too. Look for a provider that will tailor their program to your specific needs, considering factors like your facility layout, team members, and potential vulnerabilities.
  5. Ongoing Programs: Training shouldn’t be a one-and-done affair. Your provider should offer ongoing support, including regular refresher courses and updates to your response plans as new threats and best practices emerge.

When you choose a training provider that ticks all these boxes, you’re not just checking a requirement off your list. You’re investing in the safety and resilience of your organization and your people. You’re creating a culture of preparedness that could, in a moment of crisis, be the difference between tragedy and survival.

At Clear-Armor, we pride ourselves on meeting and exceeding all of these criteria. TruTrauma provides hyper realistic training, a comprehensive curriculum, experienced instructors, customizable programs, and ongoing support. This program is artfully designed to empower organizations like yours with the tools to save lives. Additionally, it is included when your organization purchases Clear-Armor glass laminate to fortify your building. We would love to speak with you more about what we can offer you.

Book a consultation today.

This website uses cookies.

We use cookies to analyze website traffic and optimize your website experience. By accepting our use of cookies, your data will be aggregated with all other user data.