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Our New Reality: Active Shooter Training

Active shooter training. It sounds scary but it’s our new reality.

Organizations around the country now seek this type of emergency preparedness training in order to help employees learn what to do, should they ever be in the situation.

Jon States, owner and instructor of States Tactical Solutions, visited the Better Business Bureau office in Boise to train our staff on what to do if such an unfortunate event were to occur. He made it clear, this wasn’t to scare us, but to prepare us. And prepare us, he did. We all walked out of the training with our guards up and our brains thinking.

Three takeaways that I’ve already put into action since the training are:

Be alert. When you’re in a public place, particularly a crowded area, keep your head up and look around. We are all guilty of diving deep into our phones to avoid eye contact with strangers, but this is an absolute no-no. Know what’s happening in your surroundings.

Keep calm. This is a tough one, especially in moments of chaos. But as States explained, when you start to panic your heart rate goes up and the higher it goes the less likely you are to think and act effectively. The best way to do this? Breathe in for a four-count, hold it for two, breathe out for a four-count, hold it for two. Repeat.

Undercover tools. Wasp spray makes a good weapon, when needed. It has a spray range of 20-30 feet and is effective when sprayed in the face. Jon also showed us a writing pen that had a glass-breaking point on the other end of it. Both tools are low cost, inconspicuous and nice to have on-hand.

As for the nitty, gritty of the training, what to do if an active shooter were to arrive on scene? We were taught the ADD method:

  • Avoid: Find your closest exit and move away from the shooter as quickly as possible. This may mean breaking a window. This may mean taking a chair and throwing it through the window. This may mean that if you’re on the second floor, making the jump may be the route to take. You don’t want to stay put like a sitting target.
  • Deny: If you can’t make an escape, your next option is to deny the shooter access to your area. This means finding a room, locking the door and creating as many barriers as possible. Turn off the light and be silent. Do not open the door for anyone.
  • Defend: If you make it to step three and come face to face with the shooter, it’s survival mode. Look at your surroundings, what can be a weapon? A fire extinguisher is a two-point weapon: first spray it at the face of the shooter, then throw the empty, metal canister at the shooter. Restrain the perpetrator until help arrives.

Another important tip: Call 9-1-1 every step of the way, when it’s safe to do so.

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Written by Rebecca Barr

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