Unfortunately, Active Assailant/Shooter scenarios are a more regular topic of conversation for workplaces, schools, universities, hotels, shopping centres and places of worship alike. The increased frequency of these incidents coupled with the intensity of the traumatic events that occur places it on the risk landscape for a broad range of mass gathering locations.
This raises the critical issue of our preparedness in situations like these. So how do we go about preparing for an incident like this?
Proper training greatly enhances your chance of surviving an Active Assailant Incident.
What is an active assailant?
An active assailant is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area; in most cases, active assailants use firearms(s) & there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.
However, it is important to remember that the threat isn’t limited to a firearm(s) alone. We have witnessed a number of incidents over the years, where assailants have used knives, machetes, hammers, even trucks and other automobiles to commit mass murder. Who can forget the mowing down of innocent victims at Flinders Street in Melbourne and the tragic Bastille Day attack in France?
The threat is real, but the majority of facilities are not prepared to handle active shooter situations. “it can’t happen here, not in my town, not in my company”… But it can.
How Does the Training Help
Organisations across the world have realized that attackers can cause substantial loss of life before the first responders arrive at the scene. This resulted in a need for the development of an active assailant preparedness program which could help provide the best combination of skills and knowledge to respond to these critical situations.
Run – Hide – Fight
Active assailant situations are highly unpredictable and can escalate quickly. The first thing to do in this situation is to try and escape the kill-zone if possible.
However, if the attacker is in close proximity and you cannot evacuate without being spotted, choose a secure hiding place preferably with thick walls or barricade yourself with furniture. If you are outdoors, try and hide behind a brick wall, large trees or a building.
As a last resort, fight. If you cannot evacuate or hide, fight with anything available to end the threat, rather than being the next victim.
We also need to take into account other factors that can affect the situation. Evacuation is not exactly easy when it comes to high rise buildings. Also, there need to be clear guidelines on how to communicate under these trying circumstances.
This can be effectively achieved if the organisation has a preparedness strategy and plan in place which trains and directs the staff to react and respond appropriately.
Communication is the key
Communication is a vital aspect of a response plan when you are under an active assailant incident.
Each and every employee should be able to use the emergency communication equipment so that they can effectively relay the information to emergency departments in an efficient manner.
Mock Practice Drills
Frequently conducting drills to practice, both to test their training and to test the protocols and preparedness help provide reality acquisition and validates the program effectiveness.
To sum it up, the question of Active Assailant/Shooter Incidents in Australia is changing from “If” to “When and every workplace should conduct active assailant preparedness training.
How Can We Help?
Praesidium’s Active Assailant Preparedness Program (AAPP) lasts for four hours and provides attendees with the key knowledge and skills to improve their preparedness and enhance their survivability in potential mass casualty incidents.
Click here to read more about the program and the specialist trainers who deliver it.