You’re a business leader or human resources professional, and suddenly you hear shots ring out in the building. People are running and screaming. Some are hiding. Are you and your colleagues prepared to react and respond to an active shooter situation?

Though there is not a consensus about the definition of a mass shooting, it is typically described as four or more people, not including the shooter, who are injured or killed by gunfire. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 250 mass shootings in the first half of 2022 alone. And not a single week this year has gone by without at least four mass shootings. This doesn’t even include all of the active shooter scenarios that have taken place but had fewer injuries or deaths.

With the increase in these tragic events, there is a need for businesses and individuals to emphasize the importance of preparing for the unlikely as though it were inevitable. Implementing active shooter preparedness training is crucial to keeping employees, customers, and the public safe.


Download the AmericanChecked Active Shooter Preparedness Guide

Who is considered an active shooter?

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. They use firearms (and sometimes other weapons), and there is usually no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

Some of their characteristics can include an expression of hatred or rage. They are often (though not always) suicidal. They are typically well-planned and well-armed and are usually familiar with their target location.


What to do in an active shooter situation:

Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, an immediate response from law enforcement is required to stop the shooter and limit harm to victims. Because these circumstances are usually over within 10-15 minutes, individuals—especially your staff—must be prepared mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter prior to first responders arriving.

Below are three steps you and your staff can take to increase your chances of surviving. Remember, customers and other individuals who happen to be on-site will look to your staff for guidance if a situation like this occurs. It is important that they are as prepared as possible.


The best course of action when an active shooter situation arises is to put as much distance between you and the threat as possible. Employees and patrons are advised to exit the property as rapidly and safely as possible, without placing themselves in the shooter’s line of sight. If presented with an accessible escape path, attempt to exit the premises.


If fleeing the location is not an option because of the danger it presents, then the chosen course of action should be to hide. The ideal hiding place is a location that is secure and has a locked door or the ability to be barricaded. It should be out of the shooter’s view and provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.


Resignation, surrender, and futility are not options. If you cannot escape or barricade yourself in a secure location, you must prepare to do whatever is necessary to survive. Remember, the shooter is committed to taking lives. You must be committed to saving yours. You’ll have to act aggressively, use improvised weapons, and commit to action.


AmericanChecked created a FREE eBook with actionable tips for developing a mindset of preparedness and survival for active shooter situations.

The eBook provides detailed information about:

  • The motivation of active shooters
  • Characteristics and profiles of active shooters
  • How to develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)
  • The psychological fight, flight, and freeze responses
  • The Run, Hide, Fight tactic for responding to an active shooter situation
  • How to respond when law enforcement arrives
  • Perimeter security and evacuation assistance
  • Workplace violence prevention
  • After-action responsibilities
  • Additional training and resources


An active shooter situation can happen any time, anywhere. Download the eBook today to equip your business with practical and actionable steps. Ensure life-saving measures are in place.