Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Active Shooter Prevention – Social Solutions

February 22nd, 2018 Comments off

With the increasing volume of workplace shootings, and the latest tragedy at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland FL, the search for solutions to this ongoing problem is driving many debates as to what the causes might be. The below link provides yet another perspective for schools. It addresses the confusing, but necessary, consideration of discrete communication during emerging, red-flag conditions. That communication is between school administrations, law enforcement, and mental health professionals – even other schools. “You’ve Suspended a Potential Aggressor…Now What?

Threat assessment teams, information sharing, community partnerships and automated tools help colleges manage at-risk individuals both on and off campus. As with other forms of workplace or criminal violence, there is no one magic solution to preventing an active shooter incident. What causes a person to become an active shooter and indiscriminately take the lives of random innocent targets? That is why I have, in the past, called this society’s challenge. Is the solution better gun control, improved mental health, law enforcement cooperation, enhanced school security, more parental and student involvement, or better follow-up with school administration? The list goes on, and everyone has an agenda to push.

I believe reducing these occurrences involves significant progress in all of these areas.

Gun Control

The gun control debate has to find an actionable middle ground. Gun enthusiast organizations would allow everyone to possess high capacity assault weapons (such as the AR 15 used in Parkland). Does the average civilian need a full or semi-automatic high capacity weapon(s) for self-defense? Meanwhile, liberal, anti-gun proponents would take all guns away from everyone. However, should citizens be able to purchase and license a handgun or shotgun for personal or home defense with adequate and required annual training and shooting practice? Politically, we must find a happy medium on this issue.

Mental Health

Do mental healthcare professionals owe it to their communities to work with law enforcement when a patient’s behavior displays an apparent propensity towards violence? Perhaps police involvement will have some dissuasive effect on the person. At least the police could begin a case file and start having a conversation with the individual. Law enforcement must not let reports fall on deaf ears. The investigation continues as to whether the FBI failed in its duty to effectively follow up on tips related to Cruz.

Home and Family Values

The old-fashioned way of learning right from wrong. Do we remember what they even are? Technology is wonderful and powerful until children lose their social skills to talk to each other, parents, or to school administrators, in order to get in front of their problems. Students interviewed after the Parkland shooting said they knew whom it was going to be. Why didn’t that fact get someone’s attention before the incident?


Misguided, ‘problem’ children become adults with adult problems. Lacking coping skills with values, they look for someone to ‘text an answer to them’, or they escape to act out fantasy solutions, like in the games they play. Should the video game industry take a careful look at the games they create and perhaps have stricter regulations regarding the production and release of games in which killing and extreme violence is rewarded? It can contribute to the devaluing of life, the de-sensitization of violence and death, and the blurring of the lines between lawful social conduct and fantasy.


Do we have to rethink school security? We may need a new standard and perhaps require law enforcement presence in all schools. No school is immune from violence, or in a safe neighborhood.

As more and more of the types of events occur, it is up to us to create a more prepared society. One that reduces these incidents through proactiveness whenever possible and using whatever means we have in our communities.

Check out AFIMAC’s active shooter video at It offers some real-world active shooter survival tips for individuals and workplace violence prevention advice for organizations.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Active Shooter Response Options

September 6th, 2017 Comments off

Want to learn more? Watch our Aggressors and Active Shooters in the Workplace webinar below and register for our Active Shooter Online Training course here: 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Extremists Rallies –Permission and Preparation

August 21st, 2017 Comments off


With the increasing frequency of ‘extremist’ group demonstrations or rallies comes the security concerns brought on by the emotionally driven misconduct often occurring at these events. The First Amendment dictates the need for permission and tolerance of these gatherings, even though there is often an undertone of hatred that drives them. I feel that this is an emotion that should not be rewarded with a public voice, but that is just my opinion. Unfortunately, during some of these events, participants feel the end justifies the means. That is when things get out of hand and underscores the importance of event precautions and preparation.

This tendency towards violent outbreaks has become increasingly evident in politically, or racially, motivated gatherings where groups with opposite viewpoints clash. This misconduct often results in arrests of course, but it still represents a danger to peaceful demonstrators or civilians just trying to go about their business in the area. Take the most recent events in Charlottesville, VA at the University of Virginia. A racially motivated and permitted rally that attracted opposing factions (haters). Violence broke out, and someone drove a car into the crowd killing one woman and injuring many others. We have clearly been put on notice that these events will draw the wrong element. Aggressors will show up along with those who want to voice their opinions peacefully; those for whom the First Amendment was intended.

My suggestions for campuses, communities and nearby companies that are concerned about announced events such as these is to meet with the local police and find out what preventive measures are being considered. Also, given the nature of the event, would authorities consider not granting the demonstration permits because of the public safety concern it represents. In the wake of the Charlottesville incident, Texas A&M announced it had canceled the “White Lives Matter” rally that had been scheduled for 9/11/17 on their campus. Good for them. One can never absolutely say that something violent might have happened, but common sense should prevail.

There are some things to consider when preparing for an event that could become emotionally charged. The following are just a few suggestions and are not an exhaustive list:

  • Establish a rapport with the local police and get briefed on security precautions.
  • Seek the assistance of an investigative service that will assist with open-source monitoring of the Internet sites and social media channels typically used in the planning of such events. It is amazing what people will spout off about on the internet, often with threatening overtones.
  • Based on what you find out from the local police, determine whether your company should contract out for extra security, intelligence gathering and social media monitoring, photographic evidence collection, executive or personal protection and other response options.
  • If the event is planned on your property, consider the physical location and whether it might be susceptible to a vehicular attack similar to what happened in Charlottesville. What barriers should be considered as a defense or at least a deterrent? (Refer to my blog in April)

Observation– It is sad we need to have a “white lives matter” movement and a “black lives matter” movement. Why not “lives matter”- period!

For more about AFIMAC services that can help during event planning, check out our website at


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Active Shooter as a Terrorist Tactic

June 21st, 2016 Comments off

In March of this year, I wrote a blog on the possibility that our next 9/11-scale attack could be in the form of coordinated soft target attacks at the same time across the country. After the tragedy in Orlando, I am even more convinced that these types of soft target attacks will continue. Furthermore, the media blitz that surrounds these acts feeds the inevitable. Granted we cannot stop the media from covering these events; however, I do think that they should be aware of when reporting becomes sensationalizing and realize where the line is. (another matter for another time)

As I stated in March, symbolic government, business, and public infrastructure targets have taken steps to increase security. They have thought about terrorist/lethal attacker threat preparation and begun threat monitoring via social media and open source investigation. This is great and needs to continue. Unfortunately, in the eyes of attackers who wish only to lash out at the diversity and freedoms of western society, easier targets are now becoming equal in value. Whether attackers are religiously motivated, anti-capitalist motivated, or life style motivated, there does not seem to be a lack of groups, or very sick individuals, that will latch onto a cause and perhaps even align themselves with other radical groups that want to attack our way of living and believing.

What are soft targets? Shopping areas, theaters and clubs, restaurants, hotels, churches, schools and tourism locations – the list goes on! Many of these types of places have been targeted and attacked somewhere in the world already. No one wants to think about this but we must. Schools have. These types of attacks are difficult to stop and very effective if not planned for. Planning needs to be in three major areas:

  • Resources for preemptive intelligence gathering
  • Improving deterrent physical security
  • Anticipated emergency response and reaction guidance for occupants (Active Shooter Response Plan)

Whether a troubled individual or an organized group, social media and ‘dark’ websites are often used for communication, planning, and sometimes warnings by those who set out to conduct such attacks. I don’t care about privacy if violating it is what it takes to stop this! In my opinion, if the government or law enforcement in the community wants to monitor my emails, calls, social media posts and Internet activity, then do it. I have nothing to hide! We need to accept that this is what will be required to avert such attacks in the planning/warning stages. Supporting proactive law enforcement and intelligence gathering, and providing adequate physical security is the only chance these soft locations have not to become a target. I could site several cases where proactive intelligence has led to arrests before a tragedy could occur.

Physical security efforts can be a deterrent. Many ‘hospitality’ type businesses have always stated that they didn’t want to scare people away from their venues and establishments. Now the public might feel better seeing more security. They see what is happening at these potential target locations and may feel better having to go through metal detectors or seeing a few more uniformed security personnel. These proactive or deterrent measures need to become part of the cost of doing business to provide your customers a safe environment.

Finally, anticipated emergency response and reaction guidance for your occupants (employees or visitors) needs to be spelled out in your Active Shooter Response Plan. If you don’t have one, develop one, or call someone who can help you create one. The plan needs to address but not be limited to:

  • Emergency communications for both internal and local emergency responders
  • Reaction guidelines for occupants
  • Evacuation protocols specific to active shooter/lethal attackers
  • Emergency plans for internal security
  • Physical security /CCTV monitoring
  • Coordination with local emergency responders
  • Media messaging
  • Accommodations for mobility challenged
  • Post incident intelligence and counseling

AFIMAC is a resource for such assistance. Hit our website or call me if you would like some suggestions at 1 800.313.9170.


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Active Shooter Attacks on Soft Targets – Our Next 9/11

March 22nd, 2016 Comments off

I write pretty frequently about workplace violence preparedness and response, or specific response guidelines for active shooter situations. Today my thoughts are more speculative but need to be considered. Historically, active shooter assaults have been driven by the more typical motivators of revenge, jealousy, fear or anger. They have involved domestic relationships that have gone wrong and then manifesting in the workplace. They have been a result of disgruntled employees reaching an irrational point of frustration or former employees not being able to get past being terminated. But now, on the heels of both the Paris, France attacks in November 2015, and the San Bernardino attack in December, we should ask another question. Will this type of orchestrated active shooter/suicide bomber assault on ‘soft targets’ in our communities be the tactic for the next 9/11 scale assault on the United States? In my opinion – this is very likely.

Symbolic government, business, and public infrastructure targets have taken steps to increase security and think about terrorist threat preparation and monitoring. This is great and needs to be done but what about easier targets of equal value in the eyes of attackers who wish only to lash out at the ‘evil infidels’ of western society. Whether religiously motivated or anti-capitalist motivated there does not seem to be a lack of terrorist groups that want to attack our way of living and believing. By soft targets, I mean shopping areas, theaters, restaurants, hotels, churches and yes schools! No one wants to think about this but we must begin to. Schools have. It is a very scary thought but some specific response plans for these types of facilities need to be developed. This is the type of attack that will be difficult to stop and very effective if not planned for, both in terms of anticipated response AND resources for intelligence gathering through social media monitoring.

Social media is often used for communication and planning by those who set out to conduct such attacks, so we need to be paying attention and use the expertise available to monitor and analyze such data. In my opinion, if the government or law enforcement in the community wants to monitor my emails, calls, and social media posts, then do it. I have nothing to hide! The fact of the matter is we need to accept that this is what will be required to intercept such attacks in the planning stages. As a society, if we continue to make such proactive law enforcement and intelligence gathering more difficult in order to protect our privacy, then such attacks are going to happen. There has already been some level of success in this approach of proactive intelligence for prevention purposes. However, we need to open the door a little wider. It is our only defense. Otherwise, coordinated active shooter assaults paired with crude suicide bombings will begin to occur in our country because it is easier than plotting against those symbolic targets that have been reinforced.

What you can do for your organization is to develop an active shooter response plan for your facility! Check out our website for assistance at


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Arming Your Employees Against Active Shooters – Making a Bad Situation Worse!

February 24th, 2016 Comments off

There is always debate after a tragic school or workplace active shooter incident over employees wanting to take their protection into their own hands. Yes, certain states have laws which allow employees to have their firearms with them if they have completed the necessary background checks and training, and have acquired the required permits. On the other hand, companies and other organizations should have workplace violence policies which prohibit their employees from bringing guns on property, even locked in their car in the parking lot. So where should prudent workplace violence policies draw the line?

Practically speaking, an employee would very rarely be in a realistic position to safely and effectively employ a weapon in an actual active shooter situation. There are some harsh realities about firing a personal weapon accurately in a tense ‘combat’ situation. The average citizen cannot effectively engage a hostile shooter under the typical active shooter ‘combat’ conditions without hurting any innocent bystanders or co-workers, or getting themselves killed. They don’t have the necessary training or the mindset. There are also further dangers created by the armed employee attempting to take protective action.

Let’s think about some of these realities and further dangers. You can shape your own opinion.

  • Do all private citizens/employees engage in sufficient combat shooting training to prepare themselves for the adrenalin rush, fear, tunnel vision, panic and confusion which will characterize an active shooter rampage? This type of defensive shooting is even a challenge for law enforcement patrol officers who do such training.
  • What liabilities exist for the company and the defending employee, if they engage a personal weapon defensively but miss and hit an innocent person nearby?
  • If the weapon is going to be defensively used in an active shooter incident, it would have to be in a position to be reached quickly, not in a locked car in the parking lot. Thus, the weapon would have to be in the building to be employed practically. This however, represents a more significant risk on a daily basis for the business under normal conditions. What if another type of workplace violence incident, or crime, is perpetrated simply because others know about that personal weapon in the workplace? (And others will know about its presence)
  • You certainly would not want an employee who was safely evacuated during an active shooter incident to get their gun from their locked vehicle and re-enter the facility to hunt the shooter down.
  • How are the responding police officers, who already have limited information about the suspect(s), know that your armed employee is not the active shooter?
  • Personally, if I was the employee who could not get out and had to hide out, I would like to have my 9mm with me, if I did have to fight for my life, rather than makeshift weapons. However, I also feel confident in my training and level of shooting experience with my law enforcement and protective operations background. Still, the weapon wouldn’t do me much good if it wasn’t in my desk or close-by.

Companies and organizations need to develop proactive weapon restrictions as part of their workplace violence prevention policy.  Granted, that the policy has to take into account the local and state laws relative to each of their facilities. I also think that the employer has the duty, for the safety of their workplace, to keep the weapons out of the building and, if possible, off of property. Having them locked in the car in the parking lot is still debatable.

An active shooter response plan should be part of this workplace violence policy. The active shooter response plan should dictate that the first reaction priority is to get out of the building during such an incident. The second response option, if you are trapped, is to hide quietly in a safe, locked and barricaded place. Only as a last resort should you engage the shooter in a fight for your life. Granted, at that point having a weapon would be useful.  However, not everyone would have that discipline to stick to the policy and get out first and not try to play hero, potentially making matters worse for the responding police.

It is essential that you consider these practical concerns when formulating your active shooter response plan as part of your larger workplace violence prevention plan.

Check out our workplace violence and active shooter response training courses.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Active Shooter Response – Responsibility to Have a Plan

January 21st, 2016 Comments off


Will your building occupants know what to do if an active shooter is loose in your facility hallways or on your campus? Will they all know that the event is happening, thus giving them some chance to react? Do they know what the appropriate reaction should be? Most people’s instincts are to run from danger but they must be given guidelines for doing so in an active shooter situation that won’t put them in even greater danger. What if they are trapped in an area by the shooter? What will they do then? What can they expect from responding police?

Merely depending on common sense assumptions when considering these questions is not a good response plan. Absent of a well thought out and thoroughly communicated plan, your organization is subject to occupants doing things that might make bad conditions worse. You have an ethical and legal responsibility to maintain some level of preparedness. Furthermore, you cannot depend on a very low probability of an occurrence as a defense. The human cost, if it ever does take place, demands a response plan!  No facility where such a tragedy has happened ever considered itself a likely place for it to occur!

These tragic events are now happening with even more frequency. Also, the recent incidents in San Bernardino, CA and Paris, France brings into play the possibility that this could become a terrorist’s preferred method of attack, regardless of their motivation or group sponsorship. It has become increasingly evident that organizations/businesses/schools/universities need an active shooter response plan. Specifically one that is tailored for the security circumstances at their facilities. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Granted, the response plan from one organization or institution to another may have some common reaction guidelines but the specific response protocols for each will be quite different.

In a prior piece I wrote that there are typically three response choices for facility occupants to rely upon:

  • get out – exit the danger area immediately if possible
  • hide out – lock and barricade silently in place if escape is not possible due to the location of the shooter
  • take out – mass attack the shooter if you’re cornered and your hide out option becomes a sudden fight for your life

To be practical and effective a tailored active shooter response plan has to take into account several factors including, but not limited to:

  • The type of facility in question – school, office building, retail store, factory, sports complex, secured facility, etc.
  • The presence of public occupants as well as employees
  • The environment in which the facility is located – city, suburban, rural, remote, etc.
    • This may dictate the time it will take for law enforcement response
  • The type of communication/notification system available – how will everyone in your facility know that such an event is taking place?
    • Don’t just pull the fire alarm as this may generate some less than advisable responses
  • The occupants’ capabilities to evacuate and knowledge of where to go – considering age/physical abilities/facility operations/etc.
  • Emergency responder tactics and expectations

The variations of how “get out / hide out / take out” is applied and which of the response options are selected under what conditions will be influenced by these and other factors.  Accounting for these factors in a specific response plan, and giving example circumstances during training will help to prepare each occupant to know what they should be doing.

Finally, the response plan must be tested and rehearsed. Include the local emergency responders in the refinement of your plan. Lessons learned from other incidents that have occurred, and from your own rehearsals, can be used to further modify and tailor your active shooter response plan; the one that might become part of your legal defense and your clear conscience. Arm people with the knowledge that will give them a chance to survive. It’s the right thing to do.

For more detailed training regarding active shooter response guidelines see our free course at



Technorati Tags: , , , ,

  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube