The Active Shooter – What’s the Right Response? Run Out or Lock Down?

I got to sit in on a security group discussion yesterday.  It includes both security directors and local law enforcement and It was interesting to see how both groups approached the active shooter scenario differently.   Which way is the best?  Is there a best?

For law enforcement officers at both the state, city and county level, they want all doors to be unlocked so that all the occupants of a facility, or a hospital, can get out and run for safety as quickly as possible.   They say that means more people will survive, not get shot, and it works with the natural human reaction to run away from danger.

Some of the active shooter experts in the room said that active shooter situations should be treated like fire drills, because people are used to fire drills, and they know what to do, because they practice fire drills more frequently than active shooter drills.

For the Security Directors, especially of hospitals, they wanted to be able to lock down if there was an active shooter call in their facility.  They felt that there were problems in evacuating quickly, and some were concerned about leaving bed-ridden patients behind while the clinical staff run out of the building.  So they advocated locking down all doors instantly.

While the heated discussion continued for almost three hours – at the end there was no “BEST” solution.  Each Security Director or Manager will have to decide for themselves which approach is right for their organization.  The important thing is to think it through in advance, prepare people in advance, and take advantage of the great materials that are available to help organizations prepared.

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