On August 2nd, KCAL Insurance Agency invited officials from the United States Department of Homeland Security to discuss ways to protect yourself during an active shooting. With the recent happenings in the news, this information was especially beneficial. This was also beneficial and applicable to business owners and managers, teaching them how to prevent violent shooting and how to handle, react and respond during an active shooting.
A representative from the Department of Homeland Security, Richard Mitchem, explained that it takes an average of about 3-5 minutes for the police to arrive on scene when notified of a shooting. Within an average of about 12 minutes, the shooters and the potentially dangerous situation should be under police control. However, so many lives are at stake in just less than 15 minutes… so as a result, it is important to understand how to protect yourself during a shooting and how to respond quickly.
In the unfortunate event that a shooting does happen, make sure to remember the 1-2-3 procedure, 1 – run (evacuate), 2 – hide (shelter-in-place), 3 – fight (protect yourself). When in fear, most people’s first natural reaction is to panic and freeze. Experts state that it is important for you to stay calm, observe and take note of your surroundings, and have an escape route in mind. Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life and make sure to keep your hands visible.
If there is no safe evacuation route, find a place to hide that is out of the shooter’s field of vision and somewhere the shooter is less likely to find you. Lock the doors, block the entrances and silence your phone. When you determine a place to hide, you will have to consider and be prepared that this is a life or death situation. As last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, grab as many sharp and aggressive objects, and improvise weapons that you would be able to use to protect yourself, such as scissors, bats, sticks, etc., and act as aggressively as you can to disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter.
Experts would also like to remind you that after the shooting, it’s best to call 911 immediately and provide as much information as you can regarding the incident. Helpful information includes the location of the victims and the active shooter, number of shooters, physical description of the shooter(s), number and type of weapons held by the shooter(s), and the number of potential victims at the location.
Actions and behaviors of an active shooter are unpredictable and can happen at random. Make sure to stay aware of your surroundings. If you have any suspicions, make sure to report it immediately. “If you see something, say something!” Statistics show that around 40% of shootings are caused by grievances, revenge, family disputes, or harsh work environments. If you suspect any signs or are suspicious about certain behaviors, make sure to report it to the appropriate departments as soon as possible.
Kenny Chang, President of KCAL Insurance Agency, emphasized that more than half of the shootings occur in office building or commercial premises. Many business owners and senior executives attended the seminar to stay aware of the importance of emergency preparedness, including having evacuation routes in mind and to master the most reasonable way to act and behave during a shooting. This is especially important and relevant to a company’s human resources department as well as department managers, as their role is crucial in response and prevention.
The Department of Homeland Security developed a series of materials to help businesses, government offices, schools, and communities prepare and respond to an active shooter incident. Find the resources here in nine different languages: https://www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-resources-translated