Active shooter incidents are on the rise in the U.S, increasing dramatically over the last two decades.

Occurring more often – or 44 percent of the time – in businesses both open and closed to the public, active shooter incidents were responsible for 135 deaths in 2015, an increase of more than 100 percent from 2000. Active shooter incidents occur in our schools, colleges and universities 23 percent of the time and 11 percent of the time in public places or outside.

Active shooter incidents are defined by the FBI, as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” Regardless of the location, in most cases, active shooter scenarios unfold quickly and don’t follow a predictable pattern of victim selection.

The Run, Hide Fight Instinct Response

The term “active” refers to the ability for law enforcement officials and citizens to potentially change the outcome of the event based on their response. Discuss the following “Run, Hide, Fight” instinct response plan with your employees:

1st Instinct: Ideally, flee the premises and remove yourself from the shooter’s path. This means leaving your personal belongings behind and having an escape route in mind to get free.

2nd Instinct: If you’re unable to evacuate, hide, avoid detection and wait for law enforcement to arrive. Remain still and silent, silencing your electronic devices. If you can get into a closet or back room, lock the door or closet you’re hiding in and don’t leave until you are sure law enforcement has arrived and it’s safe.

3rd Instinct: As a last resort, take action against the shooter. Act quickly, as hesitation could get you killed. Throw items to distract, disorient or disarm the shooter. Yell and wave your arms to startle the shooter.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a free one-hour online course, IS-907 Active Shooter: What You Can Do, that serves as an introductory lesson to “Run, Hide, Fight” instincts as well as indicators of workplace violence and how to manage the consequences of an incident. For more detailed information on how to train your staff in workplace preparedness for active shooter incidents and more, contact your HUB Risk Services specialist.