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Defend Thyself Personal Defense

How to Respond to an Active Shooter in the Workplace

by Richard Nance   |  August 7th, 2012 77

According to The Huffington Post, the City of Houston, Texas, recently released a video intended to teach people how to respond during an “active shooter” scenario occurring in the workplace. The video, which was produced with $200,000 in federal grants and intended to be used as part of a wider safety campaign, was released early in the wake of last month’s Aurora, Colo., shooting tragedy.

The nearly six-minute video has already been viewed over 400,000 times on YouTube. According to Houston Homeland Security official Richard Retz, hundreds of cities and agencies have asked to use the video to train their personnel.

The video begins with horror movie type music in the background and man dressed all in black, wearing sunglasses, and carrying a backpack walking with a purpose, as statistics from various active shooter incidents are displayed on the screen. Several people are then shown inside a large office building engaging in normal work activities.  The man in black, despite his unusual appearance, appears relatively unnoticed inside the building until he removes a sawed-off shotgun from his backpack and methodically begins shooting people inside the building.

The narrator advocates the importance of having a plan and recommends a Run, Hide, Fight approach.

Run — Whenever possible, attempt to evacuate the building. Leave your belongings behind and do your best help others escape. Once outside the building, try to keep anyone from entering. When it’s safe to do so, call 911.

Hide — If escape is not an option, try to remain hidden from the shooter. If possible, lock and/or barricade yourself in a room. Turn off the lights, silence your cell phone, and remain as quiet as possible. Look for a large object to hide behind.

Fight — As a last resort, the video recommends fighting the armed assailant. Whether acting alone or as a team, attempt to incapacitate the shooter. Consider using improvised weapons. Act with aggression and commit to your actions.

The video shows actors performing each of the options listed above. To illustrate the fight approach, coworkers are shown arming themselves with items such as a chair and a fire extinguisher. They are waiting just inside the doorway, to ambush the shooter when he enters the room.

While this short video is by no means an exhaustive study on how to respond to an active shooter in the workplace, it does provide a simple, prioritized plan of action that anyone who watches it can remember. Without question, videos like this one have the potential to save lives when the unthinkable unfolds.

I was impressed that the City of Houston included the fight option as a last resort. Fighting back has the potential to save lives, particularly if there is a group of committed individuals against a single gunman.

What do you think? How useful are videos like this in helping workers survive a tragedy?

  • Larry

    Couldn't read the message on the door to the building in the video. Concealed carry.allowed in that building or not? Gun free zones sure.haven't.worked!

    • Preppingcowboy

      Con leaded carry not allowed! Heck the security guard wasn't even armed!

    • Tim-LV

      I could never understand the purpose of those signs. They say property owners have rights too. I wonder what Lester Maddox would have to say about that.

    • Guest

      Larry,
      You are correct, gun free zones don't work. The bad guys don't care about or read what the signs states. They are going to do harm with or without signs being posted. The security guard without a firearm make about as much since as a screen door in a submarine.. I avoid stores, office areas, etc that I cannot carry in. It's up to me to protect myself and family..

      • Drjekyl30

        You should carry no matter where you go, no matter what signs are posted. The only people that will know you are armed are yourself, and the bad guy that you shoot in protecting your family. Concealed Carry means just that, CONCEALED. Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! don't tell anyone you're carrying LOL.

        • TucsonJohn

          ABSOLUELY AGREE WITH YOU. "GUN FREE ZONES" ARE FREE CRIME ZONES. I break the law because I'm looking out for ME. Better to have andnot need than need and not have.

  • Lee

    Reminds me of what they told border patrol agents – run away, hide and if cornered, act mean and throw stuff at the attacker. Nevermind that these are ARMED agents…

  • Lee

    Sort of like teaching a bunny rabbit to rear up and growl.

  • Arthur Konyak

    Reminds me of the place I used to work. No weapons allowed even in the parking lot. Hide, be quite, don't fight the shooter unless there is no other choice, WAIT FOR SECURITY. This is the same place in the news lately where the guards didn't respond to a breach of security in a high security area. Now I don't work any place where I can't carry a concealed weapon. I refuse to fight a man (or men) with shotguns/rifles/handguns with a stapler or chair. I carry everywhere unless there is a sign posted forbiding weapons; then I simply don't do business with that place. I take my business to a gun friendly establishment.

    • I carry

      Could care less; as long as there is no metal detector, my S&W mod 60 fits in my pocket very nicely; and no one knows…….I'll take 5 over zero any day.

      • drjekyl30

        I'm with you on that I carry. We need more people like you in this world my friend.

  • Pete

    When an event like Aurora or VT happens, I'm constantly amazed at those who say something like "He had a gun pointed at people and was firing! What would you expect them to do ?" My response is "What did they have to lose?" Both Loughner's and Holmes' guns jammed because of the high capacity mags. That pause offered an opportunity for someone to tackle them– as in fact happened in AZ. If you're cornered, you might as well fight. Even a rat would.

    • jerry

      Sign on the door showed cited legal code 30.06 (good choice ) no concealed carry allowed
      Rather Interesting they included that in the video as the armed shooter entered

    • james

      Fortunate that Loughner used round nose ammo instead of hollow point, otherwise more lives would have been lost.

  • james

    The statistics they showed during the start of the video represent
    places where it was against the law to carry concealed.

    Problem is, the gunmen ignored the laws.

    • KafirStudent

      That's the key: gun restrictions only restrict the law-abiding. Makes it clear as to who the politicians are trying to protect.

      • Alan_T

        Amen Kafir !

        • https://www.facebook.com/glenn.jefferson2 Glenn Jefferson

          Pretty good training to be a victim gun free zones are good killing grounds, its time to eliminate these zones. I trust a armed citizen who has been trained any day than to be a victim

  • james

    Blasting somebody in the face with the fire extinguisher can stop them for a moment,
    then bash their skull in with the extinguisher.

    Soda cans inserted into gym socks or double layer of women's panty hose
    makes a nice weapon to defend yourself with.

    Wrist Rocket or equal in the desk drawer and box of hard candy makes good weapon.

    • Alan_T

      Yep …… Spraying the " shooter " in the face would definitely be better before hitting him with it . If you take away his vision , if only for a few moments it might buy you or someone else enough time to save a life .

      On the other hand I'm not so sure about the sling – shot and hard candy approach , still if you're cornered , it's better than nothing .

    • drjekyl30

      You have to get close enough for any improvised weapon to work. Who says you would get close enough? If he has any distance between you and sees you, you're dead. And even if you get close enough, who says you just didn't get close enough to die?

  • Bill K

    It can't hurt for them to see this type of video. Most people are geared to do nothing and wait for police, etc. which by then, in most case's, is too late and more people die. It would be better to have someone or yourself, armed and able to engage the shooter/s.

  • Tracy

    In Texas, a 30.06 sign = free fire zone for homicidal nutballs. More than a little ironic.

    Some of us are old enough to remember the Civil Defense Era: http://archive.org/details/gov.ntis.ava11109vnb1

    Duck and cover, boys and girls!

    • Tommy

      I thought it ironic that the gun free zone law code is 30.06. Anybody else catch the irony? 30-06 I thought it meant I should carry my deer rifle. Silly me…

  • Larry C

    This should be included in manditory Safety Training such as OSHA compliance training. It should be shown at schools and in the workplace. This type of training would be akin to the shelter in place "bomb drills we got as kids in the fifties and sixties in school. Remember Fire and Bomb drills?

    • Tommy

      Duck and cover. I remember those.

  • Bob S retired LEO

    Almost all major companies enforce "no guns allowed on premise policy" to all employees, where the violation will result in loss of employment. So for all those that think they will pull out their concealed weapon and start blasting, can forget about that option. I've heard the same about the Auora movie theater incident. Pull out your hand gun against a 100 round tactical rifle with a body armor shielded shooter. Only chance would to find a way to sneak up on the Auroa shooter and shoot him in the neck. This video was mostly correct. There are always other options and other situations, but run, hide, or fight are the best choices with fight as a last resort with unarmed fighting an armed shooter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/larry.arnold.315 Larry Arnold

      Later reports stated that the Colorado shooter was "armored" with a standard "tactical vest." Multiple pockets and nylon net that wouldn't stop a .22.

    • Desperado

      I don't care for no carry zones, they are asking for these people to do their piece of ugly. I also know my S&W Mod. 4006 with 11 in the mag and one in the tube is gonna take his mind off what he's doing long enough for me to find a soft spot somewhere. Why run? You'll only die tired!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dave.hicks.902 Dave Hicks

    I cant help but wonder who among you
    would use the "body armor" this chump had and be willing to take rounds in return?
    I got news for the news broadcasters, even in armor, return fire HURTS
    my job has a no guns policy
    they dont say a thing about knives
    I carry concealed when not at work and its in my truck when I am at work
    recent Federal and state laws found it illegal for jobs to dictate what you have in your car as illegal
    if it is legal other places, therefore I can have my gun at work in my vehicle, and in parks and other public
    places where the gun would be normally legal if it was private property.
    I am always armed with knowledge, because after all there are no dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.
    With a box cutter, terrorist pulled off September 11. A Box cutter. A blade 1 inch long and 3/4 of an inch wide, they launched this country into a decade long war, and trillions of dollars of spending.
    That is all the proof you need that it does not require a gun to be dangerous, only knowledge and the
    back bone to use that knowledge to do what you need.

    • Tommy

      Most Kevlar bullet "resistant" vests are USELESS against a blade. The data published shows them to offer very little resistance to knife perforations.

  • Jeepers Creepers

    I'm glad that some government folks believe in training the public on how to fend off an attack. I just hope it doesn't back fire and get more people killed. Like the movie theater in Colorado. Everyone was in the open. The only people that did not get hurt that bad were the people that got on the floor and played dead. Everyone that tried to run was shot or killed. In the work place there are a lot of hiding places to move to the door. The video lacks the open setting of a ware house (Movie Theater) or the confined space of the theater. Any one that tried to stop Holmes would have saved another persons life by giving up their own. Holmes only had a certain amount of ammo. So the bullet that hit the person trying to stop holmes would have been one less bullet for some one else.

    • Joe bob

      Holmes had a 100rd drum, enough bullets to kill everyone in the theater. His gun jammed, plain and simple. They say because of the drum but I have fired one completely from my AR with no jam. Most likely was due to poor maintenance….

  • Alan_T

    While I certainly wouldn't fault anyone from running / hiding , THE FIRST THING that I would recommend would be to call 911 …….. instead of waiting . Even if you call 911 and set the phone down and don't want to hang around to talk to the dispatcher it will alert them to a possible problem . THAT takes almost NO TIME and could mean the difference between life and death for somebody .

    My second problem with this film is that it cost $ 200,000.oo ( THAT'S TWO HIUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ) of Federal money to produce …………. really ?
    For less than 6 minutes of video ….. Really ? ………. For that ? ………. REALLY ? ? ? …..

    I would have said that 10% of that would have been too much money . But , what the hell , right ? …….. It's Federal money , it's not costing US anything right ? Forget about that silly old deficiet ! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee , FREE MAGIC MONEY FOR EVERYONE ! ! !

    Well all I can say is , it's nice to see our tax dollars hard at work !

    • Guest

      Agreed

    • Joe bob

      It's said it was made from a $200k grant, not that they used all $200k on the video. That's not what the article says. And I'd rather the govt be spending money on something useful that can save lives than 90% of the bailout money that went to bad policy makers, broke banks, and golf carts….

      • Alan_T

        Joe bob , you're wrong . First paragraph , second sentence , quote ,

        " The video, which was produced with $200,000 in federal grants " close quote .

        It doesn't say FROM A federal grant , it says " WITH * $ 200,000 " IN GRANTS ". That means that the money came from MULTIPLE GRANTS in order to finance a $ 200,000 video .

        • Alan_T

          Aaaaaand you're confusing the state of Texas with the Federal Government . The state of Texas was the recipient of the grants and doesn't have anything to do with " bailout money " , " broke banks " or " golf carts "

          I don't have any problem with Texas making this video , what I have a problem with is that Texas spent $ 200,000.oo in FEDERAL TAX MONEY on a video lasting less than 6 minutes , when they could have probably gone to college that has a film school and had it made for almost nothing ! In fact …… I'm willing to bet that if they contacted the right people in Hollywood , some one like Don Siegel or Joe Mantegna or Tom Selleck ,they could have gotten just about everything donated including on screen talent .

  • Larry

    And armed society is a safe society. Gun control is nothing more that people control.

  • AggregatVier

    Did anyone note the irony in the video length being 5 56 and the sign is 30 06? Subliminal?

    • Mack Missiletoe

      lol, was going to point out the 30.06 (.30-06).

      Pretty weird, eh? Like when I awoke this afternoon to the time of 2:23pm.

      I am kinda glad I'm not working Security atm. Job sites were gun free including me. Not cool. Wearing them clown uniforms… sure don't miss it.

      Had a few Police around at this particular site. But they can't stop bullets.

    • Alan_T

      Oooooooh good eye Aggregat !

      I noticed the 30 06 but not the 5 56 ……( possibly because I was obsessing on the the 200 000 oo HAHAHAHAHAHA )

      Anyway …..good call .

  • Breeze

    Better than nothing for scared little rabbits I guess.

  • enry bowman

    Let me see. I think there is a force already armed and trained to deal with the insane. This force won't be looking for a place to run to or hide, because their first reaction will be to run into the building and deal with the shooter. Unfortunately, they are generally five to seven minutes away. Gee, if only there were a group of people already in the building, and armed and trained in the use of those arms, then we wouldn't have to wait for the other group to arrive.

    If this scenario is in one of the forty out of fifty states that allow private concealed carry, this problem would be over with in short order. But I forget; we come from a generation of warm and fuzzy bed wetters, and don't the cojones to deal with problems for ourselves any longer. So I guess a few people will have to die again. Oh well,

    • Alan_T

      Sad but true enry .

  • https://www.facebook.com/ernie.white.9216 Ernie White

    I also work for a company that say's no to firearms.. Not even our Security dept. can carry!
    That go's for our parking garage too!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dave.hicks.902 Dave Hicks

      with out knowing your particular state or status, I would check on the legality of the parking garage. recent laws changed this for most people.
      I offer this as suggested reading: http://blogs.roanoke.com/politics/2012/02/23/sena

      in a nut shell, the law spells out how its hypocrisy to say that its legal to have your gun in the "wal mart" parking lot, but not at a court house, or school or your job. If I was sure I was in the rite, I would not directly challenge my HR department, I would just get a copy of the bill, and wrap it around my holster in the car.

  • Guest666

    What about an taser or stun gun. Also Pepper spray. I do not have my CWP yet. But plan on getting a CWP soon.

    • CO Carry

      Better than nothing I would think.

    • Mack Missiletoe

      Ain't nothin' like going to a gunfight with a taser and pepper spray lol *FAIL*

      Sure it's better than nothing …it's like saying a .22 is better than nothing at all. Might as well run like hell! Bad guy's got more range with his 12g shotgun. That shot he's shooting is most likely going to go through many office materials. Chances of taking him down are nil unless you truly have the surprise on him and know how to use your tools. Such as you're close behind him, he's reloading his shotty, and he does not know you are there. Even then he may be high on drugs that allow him to laugh at mace or a taser.

      I wouldn't think about it too hard if it were your last choice of survival, but going in tasers and mace 'blazing' (lol) sounds like suicide.

      I'd consider it a last resort like in the 'Fight' category of this vid. They say not to fight unless you have no choice. This is reasoning. I am no billy badas$ just an average civilian.

    • Alan_T

      Glad to hear you're going for a CWP , Guest666 !

      Taser's , stun guns and pepper sprays are definitely better than nothing , but there are some problems associated with them . 1 ) Depending on the state , one or more of these items may be just as illegal for you to carry as a firearm . Example : in some states like Illinois , taser's & stun guns are banned . Other states ban pepper spray , so you had better check into it before you start . 2 ) You have to be close in order to use them . 3 ) You have the possible problem of " blow back " with O . C . Spray . 4 ) Depending on the assailant , they might not work on them .

      All that said , you're right , they are better than nothing and should be looked into .

      Oh and 6 ……. I'll mail that DVD out to you just as soon as you send me that 1911 !

      • Guest666

        Thank You For the info. I have not gotten to shoot the 1911. It was broken when I bought it. What sub compact pistol is best for CWP.

        • Alan_T

          6 , I'm flattered that you asked my opinion but the truth is , that if you ask 10 different people , you'll probably get 10 different answers .

          The best answer that I can offer is , the pistol that fits your hand the best in a calibre that you can control .

          If you're talking about as a primary concealed – carry pistol to be worn in a belt holster or IWB , three 9 MM 's that I would look at if I was just starting out are : Kimber's Solo , Smith & Wesson M&P Shield , and Kahr's MP 9 .

          If you're thinking something even smaller , I have a Kel – Tec P 3AT in .380 ACP but Ruger and several other manufactures make little DAO pistols that are almost exact copies of it .

          • Alan_T

            Your best bet would be if you have a friend ( or more ) that has 1 or 2 pistols ( or more ) in the size you're thinking about and offering to pay for the ammo if they let you try them , or , finding a local range that rents pistols .

            One piece of advice 6 , is if you talk to somebody who says THIS is the best pistol , they don't know what they are talking about . The pistol that's best is the one that's best FOR YOU .

            Sorry I couldn't be more help .

          • Guest666

            Money is tight. I was looking at a 22 semi auto. Are they any good for CWP?

          • Alan_T

            Mmmmmmm Well , I'm not knocking it but to be honest a .22 wouldn't be my choice unless there was nothing else available to me in a .380 or larger .

            If it's just a matter of the money , there are several good . 380 ACP and 9 MM's on the market that should be competative price wise with . 22 's . . I know Kel – tec makes several models of . 380's and 9's , I think Lorican still makes a reasonably priced polymer 9 MM as well as others .

            You might also consider a Taurus , Rossi or Charter Arms . 38 or . 357 snub – nose revolver . Revolvers still have a lot to be said for them , I did / do carry one .

  • T.D. Honeycutt

    That video is good material for general employee populations. The Department of Homeland Security also has materials for active shooter situations. You cannot know how your fellow employees will react in such situations. That's why fire drills and other planned activities are essential in any workplace.
    By the way, the bad guy was carrying a pistol-gripped shotgun that looked like a standard 18-inch Remington 870, Mossberg Cruiser or possibly a NFA controlled 14-inch barrel length. Probably wasn't sawed-off but a manufactured configuration you can find in any gun shop or pawn shop.

  • Wolvie

    Believing that a criminal would be concerned with violating a "no gun zone" is like believing a terrorist would be concerned about double-parking his car bomb in a no parking zone.

    • Alan_T

      Now Wolvie ………. as much as I detest him , Creepers has never once parked his car bomb in a no parking zone .

    • Mack Missiletoe

      Hahaa!

  • clearcut1

    I wonder how long until this video or one like it becomes standard viewing in offices when you're hired and in schools of all kinds for both faculty and students?

    The fact that none of the people in this office building were allowed to exercise their God given, Constitutionally enumerated Second Amendment rights is the sort of thing that rankles terribly and exposes the sheer idiocy of the anti-firearms agenda. Why render yourself a potential victim in a world chocked full of fundamentally unstable people?

  • Jack

    This is a great video, it contains very valuable information. I will share it with my students via my blog at http://www.jacksnraclass.com.

  • Gloves

    This is what my wife said:
    "Without CCW, Lambs to the slaughter! They may as well advise people to find a corner and pray."

  • Jon

    Don't forget things like knives, flashlights, batons, Pepper spray. There are alternatives to CCW.

  • John

    Besides the 200,000 dollars spent, I don’t see a problem with this video here; so what the video shows the shooter using a shorten barrel shotgun with a pistol grip (the point of that was show that the video was serious in its intent). To be real here does anybody really think they could challenge any your little .38 stubbles or pocket pistol adjust any long arm at range; also, yes it would help in situation where the guy had a fire extinguisher and should have had a handgun.

  • Aussie in disbelief.

    What a great country you have. You guys are really in the toilet as a society. Wow, it's frightening.

    • jeepers Creepers

      How many Americans have died fighting for your freedom? You say something like that. If it was not for the USA who knows what you would be speaking natively now. Your freedom came from USA tears and hard work fighting wars. You have to make an statement like that.

      • Aussie in disbelief.

        Oh that's right, I forgot, America saved the entire wold over and over again. Where would we all be without America. At least I live in a society where I don't have to worry about being gunned down every day of the week. I have been shooting for over 30 years and I find the American obsession with assault rifles very worrying. In Australia we have some big game animals too but I don't need an assault rifle with a 30 shot clip to kill one. Maybe America can come save me from those big bad deer. Also, just for info, there's no such things as zombies. Morons.

        • Mike

          I know you are jealous-how many of these bloggers have ever even thought to send an insulting post to Austrailia-nice heritage and a proud country continue to be an island refuge for retards, criminals and molesters. Go suck off a kangaroo mate-or is it go mate with a Kangaroo suck off?

          • Aussie in disbelief

            Your staggering intellect is dwarfed only by your enormously offensive arrogance. I always had the perception that Guns & Ammo magazine attracted a bit more of a better type of shooter or gun enthusiast. Instead if the web site is any indication of the demographic, it is just a magnet for morons like you. Are all other Americans like you?

        • http://www.facebook.com/joe.bailey.50702 Joe Bailey

          we do have such a thing as mexican drug cartels and hell yes we are armed

  • Mike

    Oh right-envy must be a worse emotion than hate-please stop reading our cool gun
    magazines and websites!

  • Fred

    A very good video because it shows people that they need to act, to move, and to respond immediately to the situation instead of just freezing. The real defensive weapon in any situation is in our heads, not our hands. If you work some place that does not allow weapons, then how about a can of aerosol cleaner, 20 foot wasp spray, a strong walking stick or cane, a piece of 2×4, a wrench or hammer in a desk drawer, and so on. Certainly there are things around the work place that can make a better-than-nothing improvised weapon if you don't have a gun.

  • Charlie

    It would be better to have several armed and trained workers at every business. Identify, engage and neutralize. Sheep run and hide, we need to remove the wimp mentality from the American public. What is the use for a security guard that isn't armed and not doing his job? How many people could be trained with that guards $50K job.
    Imagine a world where all bank employees carried handguns openly. They all have training as good as or better than your local police. Or your local diner: http://youtu.be/vsVCHE7ayPE

  • John

    Isn't there an Admin here?

  • http://www.facebook.com/steve.hollar.5 Steve Hollar

    The bigger question is, why aren't law abiding citizens allowed to be armed in places like this? Want do you want to bet that instead of a "Gun Free Zone" sign being posted in the window, a "Concealed Carry Allowed" sign be posted, this sort of thing would not happen in the first place.

  • Guest

    My philosophy is two to the chest and one to the head if he gets back up. That way you can tell if he's wearing body armor or if your rounds went through it and you can assess what else needs to be done.

    In Michigan (where I live), I BELEIVE (not 100% sure) that if you have a CCW and you are in a gun free zone you can open carry. Not sure how that applies to places with signs though

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