Active Shooter Response

Active Shooter Response

With every passing week, it seems that the media is covering more and more active shooter events occurring across the nation. The truth is, these events are becoming more frequent and unpredictable, tend to evolve quickly, and typically end before law enforcement even arrives on-scene. Would you or your staff be prepared to deal with a violent intruder event?


The FBI conducted a study of 160 active shooter events in the US between 2000 and 2013.* The study determined distinct location categories of the active shooter events:

  • Commerce: 73 (46%)
    • Business Open to Pedestrian Traffic: 44 (27.5%)
    • Business Closed to Pedestrian Traffic: 23 (14.3%)
    • Malls: 6 (3.8%)
  • Education: 39 (24%)
    • Schools (Pre-K to 12): 27 (16.9%)
    • Institutions of Higher Education: 12 (7.5%)
  • Government: 16 (10%)
    • Other government property: 11 (6.9%)
    • Military: 5 (3.1%)
  • Open Space: 15 (9.4%)
  • Residential: 7 (4.4%)
  • Houses of Worship: 6 (3.8%)
  • Health Care: 4 (2.5%)

Other notable results of the FBI study included the following:

  • An average of 11.4 incidents occurred annually with an increasing trend from 2000 to 2013;
  • An average of 6.4 occurred in the first 7 years studied and an average of 16.4 occurred in the last 7 years;
  • Incidents occurred in 40 of 50 states and the District of Columbia;
  • 64 (40%) incidents fell within the parameters of the federal definition of “mass killing” (3 or more killed).

The FBI data shows that 60% of the incidents ended before police arrived at the scene. In 63 incidents where the duration of incident could be ascertained, 44 ended in under 5 minutes, with 23 ending in 2 minutes or less.

The study also indicated how the attacks ended:

  • 49% ended before law enforcement arrived
  • 67% ended by suspect suicide or leaving the scene
  • 33% ended when potential victims stopped the shooter

Since these events typically end quickly, educating staff on option-based strategies allows them to act quickly in a dangerous situation.

Defining an Active Shooter

The US Department of Homeland Security defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims."**

Would your organization be prepared for such an event? Are staff trained in the “shelter in place” concept?  Sheltering in place or lockdown is an option that staff should have, however, it is not be the only option available during an event of this nature.  Offering valuable option-based strategies for your staff is very important.

As a part of RCM&D’s 2018 risk management webinar series, Stacey Markel will be reviewing how you and your staff can prepare for, and respond to an active shooter event. At the end of the webinar you and your staff will know:

  • Is Shelter in Place Enough?
  • How to initially alert authorities and continue communication.
  • Methods and considerations for evacuation and rally point selection.
  • Methods for barricading a room.
  • How and when to counterattack.

The webinar will be held on March 29th at 11:00 a.m. Click here to register for the webinar.


*Active Shooter Study: Quick Reference Guide,” FBI, 2014

**Active Shooter, How to Respond,” U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2008