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Workplace violence may take the form of various types of personal assaults. These may include weapons such as knives or handguns. The only warning you may receive that a workplace violence incident is occurring may be the sound of gunfire, scuffling, or other employees yelling a warning.
The tragic incidents that have occurred at schools such as Columbine and Virginia Tech have caused the term Active Shooter to be coined in the law enforcement world. An active shooter is best defined as an individual armed with at least one firearm, and whose activity is causing the immediate death or serious injury of one or more victims.
UMSL Police Officers have adopted new training and response methods as part of a regional law enforcement plan to confront this type of incident.
The Department of Homeland Security, in concert with the Houston Mayor's Office, produced an active shooter training video, entitled "Run, Hide, Fight!" This six minute video, endorsed by multiple Federal agencies, dramatizes an active shooter incident in the workplace, exemplifying the unpredictability and quick evolution of active shooter situations. Its purpose is to educate the public by demonstrating response actions during such an incident so that they can prepare for an active shooter situation.
If you are in a building and hear gunfire, formulate a plan as quickly as possible-seconds count.
Leave the building if it is safe to do so. If necessary, consider exiting through a window. Once outside move away from the building and distance yourself from the shooter.
If you cannot leave, find a room and lock or secure the door if possible. If the door cannot be locked, barricade the door by whatever means available such as furniture, desks, tables or chairs.
Call the campus police at 314-516-5155 or 911 and remain on the line as long as safety permits.
Obscure the assailant’s view of your area. Turn off the lights and move away from the door.
If you are outside the building, open spaces provide opportunities to place distance between you and the active shooter. Move as quickly and as far away as possible.
If you are directly confronted by the active shooter the ALICE program recommends we consider these options: flight, fight or freeze. If you are confronted by a person who is shooting or starts shooting, you must make a critical choice (at this point the choice is yours alone regardless of the choices others make).
- Flight – Flee in a zigzag manner.
- Fight – the unexpected attack against the assailant (any counter measure such as throwing books and chairs or jumping on him).
This attack may allow:
- You and others to escape
- The assailant to escape
- The assailant to be subdued
Freeze - not recommended.
Attacking the gunman is very dangerous, but standing still and doing nothing increases the probability of a fatal outcome.
In all of these instances there is no one correct response. There is little or no time for planning, so consideration of these actions in advance and the choices you make may save you from harm.