active shooter training schools

Be Ready for Anything: The Benefits of Active Shooter Training Schools

Nearly every day, there is one type of news story you’re guaranteed to spot in the headlines: a recent shooting. In 2023, there have been more shootings than days in the year. Plain and simple, shootings are now a thing of probability, not possibility. Sadly, active shooter preparedness has not kept up with the frequency of incidents. It seems like every article we read has the common theme that security and police were not ready. The outcomes could all be significantly different with one change: attending active shooter training schools. 

Self-defense is about being proactive. If you refuse to be a victim, you can save yourself and many other lives.

Read on as we discuss how active shooter training benefits everyone. Then, you’ll be ready for anything.

Who Do Active Shooter Training Schools Serve?

When we picture active shooting situations, we tend to imagine schools only. There have been 189 school shootings in the past decade alone. Just this year, though, there have been more public mass shootings than all school shootings in US history.

The unfortunate reality is that these mass shootings can happen anywhere. They occur in restaurants, shopping malls, parties, parades, and even film sets. Location is no longer relevant; the only unifying factor is that there are a lot of people in one place.

In other words, an active shooter training course is for everyone. Business executives, office workers, and retirees can all learn important emergency survival skills.

Shooters Are Targeting Leadership

Business executives understand better than most the importance of safety. Deranged and disgruntled individuals often target high-ranking leaders. Getting safely from A to B is critical.

As we’ve said, shootings can happen anywhere now. They are no longer just a concern for school staff and faculty. Recent events, such as the Louisville mass shooting, have targeted critical leadership.

Security is an important first step. Regardless, though, board members, CEOs, and others should prepare themselves for these eventualities. Even taking air transportation presents risks that you should account for.

This risk extends to political leadership as well. The cowards that perpetuate mass shootings want to take out their anger on the politicians they believe have failed them. Whether local leadership or diplomats, the risk of being a target for violence is higher than ever. 

All of this is to say that no one is an exception. Everyone needs to prepare.

Being Proactive Instead of Reactive 

A key component of mitigating the harm from mass shootings is a proactive mindset. In the majority of situations, people react to mass shootings. There are no measures in place, forcing them to deal with these incidents as they happen.

So, it’s essential that everyone adopts a proactive mindset. Being proactive means preventing threats before they happen. It requires the ability to identify security risks and anomalies, and adapt accordingly.

With that in mind, let’s discuss the benefits of attending active shooter training.

#1: Know What to Do if There Is an Active Shooter

There’s a common theme when taking a closer look at most mass shootings. Particularly, when examining the security officers in charge.

Take for example Scot Peterson, the security officer at Parkland High School. During the shooting, Peterson did not intervene or investigate for four minutes while the shooter took down 34 people. Prosecutors took him to court and accused him of negligence

Whether or not Peterson is guilty is beside the point. The point is that by his personal account, he didn’t know what to do. He went into a state of panicked shock and failed to respond.

Following Security Protocol

The most important thing is to memorize security protocols before a shooting happens. Think of it like learning CPR. If you wait until somebody is unresponsive on the floor, then you aren’t prepared for an emergency.

Protocols will vary depending on whether this is a school, office, or diplomatic meeting place. Too often, local security is lax with practice and preparation. A proactive mindset is essential to being ready for the worst-case scenario.

Perhaps there might have been a different outcome if Peterson had been ready. He could have taught children what to do before the event. He might have acted quicker when the shooting began.

The prepared can know how to organize an evacuation, help people hide, and coordinate with law enforcement. Even a modicum of preparation could lead to a drastically different outcome.

#2: Identify the Signs of a Potential Shooter

Active shooters all tend to fall under the same profile. They are social rejects and loners with an ax to grind against society. Many people these days fall into that spectrum, muddying the water of potential shooters.

That said, there are still very clear signs of an active shooter. They may include a person exhibiting the following:

  • Shifty, fidgety, nervous behavior
  • Carrying an abnormally large bag or bags
  • Wearing uncommon clothing (such as a mask or tactical gloves)
  • Being in the wrong place and/or at the wrong time
  • Entering the premises in an unorthodox way
  • Giving the impression that they are concealing something

Reporting to Proper Authorities

Time is of the essence in an active shooter situation. Shooters may only have minutes at best to do their horrible work. That means anyone with active shooter training cannot delay.

A training course teaches you who to report to, and how to do so. Someone who is preparing to carry out a shooting is going to be hyper-vigilant. If they realize you’re onto them, you could become their first target.

It’s important to report an incident to the proper authorities. Not just the police, but the security officers on site.

It’s also key not to spark panic. Spreading conjecture can make the situation much worse. People will freak out, which will make it much more challenging to reduce the loss of life.

#3: Better Prepare a Space against Shooters

Shooters use the building’s layout to their advantage. Take, for example, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the perpetrators of the Columbine shooting. They originally planned to bomb the school cafeteria, forcing students out to the parking lot where they would gun them down.

A layout without the proper exits can quickly become a death trap. Victims may discover themselves in the shooter’s path with no hiding place or escape.

After an active shooter training course, participants can better prepare a space. If they can’t change the space, then they can understand it better. Knowing its weaknesses and strengths helps when lives are on the line.

Small measures such as security checks at the door can go a long way. The security theater also makes potential victims more confident, and shooters less confident.

Identifying Chokepoints and Exits

Many places, especially offices, have a single chokepoint. This is a bottleneck that limits entry or exit. For example, a reception desk with a single entry door into an office.

Shooters will use this to their advantage. They allow people to run into their line of fire, or use it to keep them back. By limiting escape, they give themselves an advantage over everyone behind the chokepoint.

Security guards can mitigate the risk of a chokepoint by improving security. They can create additional exits, or limit obstacles to those exits. Simply acknowledging that there is a chokepoint prepares people mentally to account for that barrier.

Mental Mapping and Planning for Shootings

Security experts know the importance of mapping a room for exits. Take for example bodyguards and executive security. Before entering a room, they always know how to exit it safely.

An active shooter training course can create a mindset that always accounts for exits.

For example, say you enter a movie theater. Automatically, you should take note of doors. Usually, there’s one emergency exit next to the screen and the entrance to the theater–two potential avenues of escape.

If an incident happens, you know where you can escape to. You will be better equipped to guide people to those exits.

Plus, it trains you to anticipate a shooter’s plans. You have to ask yourself where they would enter, and how they would do it. Then, you can prepare for a theoretical escape.

#4: Mentally Prepare for a Shooting

It’s impossible for a person to know their reaction during a shooting. It may be entirely unlike your typical fear reaction in other situations.

Fight or flight, freeze or fawn, everyone has a different response. However, one thing is clear: these are typical reactions to the unanticipated. People are more likely to react poorly if they don’t expect something to happen.

Given how likely a mass shooting is to happen, everyone needs to be mentally prepared. They need to imagine, fully, what the experience might be like. This provides a helpful template for if that situation were to actually occur.

An active shooter training course teaches you to understand your unique stress response. Some work well under extreme pressure while others do not. If you know how you are likely to react, you are better prepared than someone who doesn’t.

Saving the Lives of Others

It’s our duty to help those around us. If one person is good under stress, they can help somebody else who may freeze. You can save a lot of lives if you help helpless people during a shooting.

Take inventory of the people around you. If you know them well, you can make an educated guess on their reaction. Then, you’ll know who needs the most help during these situations.

#5: Understanding Weapons

It’s important to understand the weapons as much as the shooters that use them. Many Americans are ignorant of the basic principles behind most weaponry. This is understandable, given how the media misportrays them.

Shooters have access to a wide arsenal. Some may arrive on the scene with two AR-15s, such as the Uvalde shooter. Others may only have sidearms, such as the Virginia Tech shooter. 

All of these weapons have different properties, ammunition counts, and ammunition types. An active shooter training course won’t exactly teach you gun mastery. But it will teach you some important essentials during these events.

Choosing Cover or Hiding Places

Many people falsely assume that they have chosen a hiding place that is bulletproof. For example, behind a standard wooden or metal door. They assume that this locked door can keep the shooter out–bullets included.

However, this presents little barrier to a shooter. Most bullets–full metal jackets and hollowpoints–can penetrate wood or metal. They lose some velocity and mass, but can still pass through with killing potential.

Same as before, a person should know potential hiding spots and cover around them. Cinderblocks and concrete walls make for a good cover in most situations. A desk or cubicle, on the other hand, would not protect against gunfire.

Identifying Gunfire

There are a lot of sounds that are similar to gunfire. For example, a car’s muffler backfiring or fireworks. People wouldn’t want to mistake these things for a person with malicious intent.

It’s important to be able to identify the sounds of gunfire. Knowing what is gunfire and what isn’t prevents false alarms–or, gives you time to escape.

Additionally, a person can benefit by knowing how gunfire echoes in enclosed spaces and campuses. Many present during shootings report the difficulty in pinpointing the gunman. It may echo in a space in such a way that a shooter may appear closer or farther away than they really are.

Train with Iron Shield Protection

Active shooter situations have become an unfortunate reality that we all must accept. Preparation is key, and that’s why active shooter training schools are a must-have for everyone. They teach you life-saving skills that can prepare you for the worst-case scenario no matter where you are. 

Iron Shield Protection helps you prepare for an active shooter situation at your business. Take a look at our training courses so you and yours are ready for such an emergency.

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