More senseless events occurred in our country today. In Virginia, US Congressmen came under attack while practicing for the annual US Congress Baseball game between Republicans and Democrats.
And in San Francisco, UPS workers were shot while gathering at their workplace for a meeting. Thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted. All Americans hope for speedy recoveries.
These attacks once again highlight the need for preparation of all citizens to respond to a sudden attack in a manner that is consistent with the environment of the event.
While every able-bodied person has the ability to engage in the ALICE options of LOCKDOWN (Securing-in-Place), Counter, and Evacuate, the best option choice will always be dependent upon many factors: environment, type of weapon, number of attackers, time of day, proximity to attacker and other factors.
How Do I Protect Myself from an Outdoor Open Space Active Shooter?
The standard response practice of LOCKDOWN obviously does not even apply to an event occurring outside in an open environment; there is no place to secure on a baseball diamond.
So if in a similar situation, people must immediately understand that “hunkering down”, “hitting the deck”, “duck and cover”, etc., is not an effective response choice because it does not provide any advantage.
If you are outside and under attack:
- You have no cover
- You cannot hide
- No door exists to barricade
Under these circumstances, the LOCKDOWN response choice is negated. So that leaves either Counter or Evacuation.
While we may very well possess a numerical advantage in this situation (single shooter vs. a whole baseball team), proximity to the attacker may make it very unsafe to attempt to Counter and Control.
This is because we are not very close to the shooter and the space is not easily contained. So while we can attempt to close the distance to the attacker, he can move and keep his distance – all the while he can continue shooting.
If he encounters a problem with his weapon, or has problems with reloading, perhaps an opportunity to use distractions and close the distance and Control may occur. But this means we were waiting for that opportunity. Waiting in this scenario means passive and static, usually not a good position to adopt in these attacks.
So in this outdoor scenario, the best choice is to Evacuate. Quickly engage in the ALICE strategies of Movement and gaining Distance in order to make yourself a harder target and require him to have a high skill set in order to hit his targets. Imagine the attacker trying to engage a dozen people all running in different directions and each one getting smaller by the second because of distance. The shooter’s objective becomes very difficult very quickly.
The June 14, 2017 UPS Attack: Many Response Options
The UPS event today reflects the more common attack, inside a building against a group of people in a confined space. In this scenario, all of the response options are available.
This environment does not have a huge impact on the proper response choice. The response is more dictated by the proximity to the attacker.
For the group of folks getting ready for a meeting who come under attack by another among them, Counter or Evacuate is the best option. They are close to the attacker, so ALICE Counter strategies are easily conducted, and Control takes just seconds to do. Take back Control!
Another exit choice from the room may allow for some to Evacuate quickly.
For those in rooms nearby or down the hall, decisions will have to made as to whether to leave or stay. If staying is chosen, then fortifying and barricading your location is important. Hopefully, you have practiced this. If you have been involved in any form of ALICE training, you surely have.
These active shooter attacks today unfortunately remind everyone that attacks can occur at any time, at any place, and for any reason.
That is why it is so important that every person knows their range of response options, has had some training in the skills needed to conduct a response, and then has participated in exercises where the responses have been practiced.
Once this is done, we will have an adequately prepared citizenry, and bad outcomes will surely be mitigated.
That is the objective of the ALICE Training Institute, and through our Blended Learning Model, we work every day towards that mission.