How to survive an active shooter scenario: Run, hide, fight
For years, New Jersey students, sometimes starting in kindergarten, have been doing emergency “active shooter” drills so they know what to do if an intruder shows up at their school with a gun. Soon, their parents may be participating in similar drills at work.
According to New Jersey FBI Special Agent Celeste Danzi, “over the past 15 years we’ve seen 11.4 incidents occur annually, however it’s been on the rise recently.”
She confirms the FBI has been contacted by some firms – and assistance has been offered to them in speaking to workers about what to do in an active shooter scenario.
So what should you do if you suddenly find yourself in an active shooter incident at work?
“When you’re confronted by the situation, you can run you can hide or you can fight,” says Special Agent Danzi. “That’s something that you have to analyze yourself and react accordingly.”
Danzi said the most important thing is to be prepared.
"If you’re going to run you have to plan an escape route. If you’re going to hide you’re going to have to silence your phone and hide out of the view of the shooter, and fighting, as a last resort is something you have to do with all your might. Basically you have to attempt to incapacitate the shooter and commit to your actions, your life depends on it,” she said.
According to the special agent, there is no specific profile for someone who winds up going berserk and opening fire at work, however there are some pre-attack behaviors that may signal trouble ahead.
“For example, inappropriate recent acquisition of multiple weapons, contextually inappropriate recent fascination with previous shooting incidents, or inappropriate recent interest in explosives," she said.
Other behaviors that could be a sign of a serious issue include development of a personal grievance, a traumatic event, something like a divorce, death or a romantic breakup.
“Those are some pre-attack behaviors that should lead to concern,” she says.
According to FBI statistics, from 2000 through 2013, there have been 160 active shooting events in New Jersey and across the country.
“An active shooter, is defined as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area," Danzi said. "An active shooting event is also defined as one that is in progress where the outcome can be affected by law enforcement or citizenry.”
Says since 2010, there have been two active shooting incidents in New Jersey: one in Bloomfield, the other in Old Bridge.