Surviving an Active Shooter Incident


The rate of active shooter incidents has nearly doubled from 2000-2013 and continues to rise. Although the tragedy of school attacks rightfully receives most of the public’s attention, two-thirds of active shooter incidents take place in commercial areas. It’s time to take action and learn how to effectively survive during an attack. 360 Tactical Training has developed the Civilian Response to Active Shooter course to educate, train and prepare you for an active shooter incident.

"The consistency of these incidents supports the paramount need for training and exercises for law enforcement, other first responders, and citizens alike." - Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington D.C. 2016.

Active Shooter Training

Our company began training civilians to respond to active shooters in 2009. We started by training corporate security teams tasked with the responsibility of protecting employees on very large corporate properties. These teams are in fact the first responders at their locations due to police response times and the size of the facilities. We adapted our experience from law enforcement active shooter response training to the corporate security environment. Since then we have trained many corporate security teams as well as others in civilian response to active shooter. 

Our latest iteration of active shooter training is focused on people living their day-to-day lives and being confronted by an active shooter at a mall, restaurant, church, or any other location they may frequent.

The agreed-upon definition of an active shooter by U.S. government agencies is “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly so an immediate reaction is important. Police are not always going to be near when the unthinkable happens; it is going to take time. By the time police arrive many victims may be dead or severely wounded. This will be particularly true in areas with longer police response times. It is critical for individuals to take immediate action.

When we go back and review security footage from previous active shooter cases, we see that a common reaction is to freeze in place. Victims become stuck and do not know what to do, or they fail to identify what exactly is taking place. A concept taught throughout all our defensive training courses is ability to understand what is taking place with a higher level of situational awareness and without acting paranoid. Part of that awareness is to be thinking of a plan, knowing your exits, and to have in mind what you can do if a violent event takes place. Being in the right mindset gives us the ability to recognize the signs leading up to an attack or to respond appropriately when the attack occurs.

When most people enter a hotel they do not take mental notes of potential cover versus concealment locations as well as emergency exits. What runs through your mind when entering a public space? You do not know how far you will be from the explosion or gun shots so thinking about distance is important, this means moving away from the threat as fast and as far as you can, as quickly as you possibly can. In the event of an active shooter in a public area you need to be in a situational mindset to get you and your family out of harm’s way quickly.

"If You See Something, Say Something™" is a national campaign that raises public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement. It may be an individual who looks suspicious or is wearing clothing that looks bulky for no reason; it could be a package or luggage that has been left unattended. You should be in the habit of taking mental notes or clues that something is not right. Chances are that nothing will happen, but you never know. So again, one of the biggest takeaways is the importance of the situational awareness and recognizing that these events can happen anywhere.

Techniques and basic rules can be learned to minimize loss of life. The most widely used plan of action is “Run, Hide Fight”. This teaches students to become aware, stay on the move and take action to stop the shooter as a last resort. This phrase is an easy way to remember what to do in an emergency, similar to – Stop, Drop and Roll. Our course goes beyond the basics to teach students the best security options for common areas, workspace, and entertainment venues. We will discuss the elements required for a safety plan that will give you the highest chance for survival and quick resolution during an active shooter incident. There will be a variety of live fire drills designed to prepare you for an active shooter incident, including paired team tactics and time spent in our scenario house using UTM (Ultimate Training Munitions).