RLPSA Active Shooter Demonstration: Lessons for Survival

AEGIS Security & Investigations helped close the 2015 Restaurant Loss Prevention and Security Conference with a bang! Instructors Jeff Zisner and Roque Wicker provided a brief lecture on active shooters, situational awareness, and incident response. Using the OODA Loop as a foundation for planning and assessment, participants were walked through how to become tuned to their environment by looking for physical elements and behavioral indicators that create vulnerabilities to an attack.

In reviewing the FBI statistics from the 2014 Active Shooter Report, a discussion was opened on best practices on how to manage these kinds of incidents with employees and managers. The overwhelming response of information sharing, education, and reality-based training echoed throughout the convention body, resulting in what appeared to be cohesive thought process industry wide.

When prevention is not an option, information was presented that tailored a reaction based on best practices in response to an active shooter. Comparisons were made between cover and concealment, how and where to run away, what to do if you are taken hostage, and how to survive an active shooter scenario. Particular attention was paid to discussing the methods of operation of an attacker and using that information to help shape the situation.

The lecture was interrupted mid-way by an armed assailant wearing a balaclava face mask. His demands were simple. “Everyone get on the ground and give me your valuables NOW,” he ordered! As the conference body got down to the ground, the assailant’s firearm jammed. He desperately tried to free the slide from the jammed weapon to no avail. The exercise was brought to a halt by the instructors, and the participants were debriefed on what had happened. Barriers to act, freezing, and re-training instinctive reactions were addressed.

A second active shooter scenario proved that even a quick brief on what to do does not necessarily change reactions, because as the shooter came in, people fled without moving from cover to cover resulting in their “death.” The key to ensuring one’s safety in the event of an active shooter event is changing one’s natural reactions to be consistent with survival, as opposed to fight or flight.

The final scenario was a hostage scenario in which participants were charged with opening a dialogue to try to keep the shooter calm and verbal. While participants were not able to successfully defuse the situation, lessons were learned about using open questions and avoiding closing language.

All in all, this active shooter training program for security professionals and civilians that was provided by AEGIS Security & Investigations proved to be an interesting, informative, and active part of this year’s RLPSA Conference.