By Darrin Blosser, BWC Threat Assessment Coordinator
As much as we would like to say it isn’t, across the United States, active aggressor situations are occurring far too frequently. Almost daily, sometimes more than once a day, we hear of another active aggressor-type situation happening somewhere. They’re happening in schools, shopping malls, places of employment, churches and even on the street. Sadly, these terrible acts have almost become a “norm.”
Today, everyone should be asking themselves, “Am I prepared to react to an active aggressor situation, and what will I do?”
State, county and local government entities across the nation are implementing policies, procedures and training to help prepare them for an active aggressor incident. Whether you are in the private sector, or a public entity, we all need to consider putting policies in place and training our employees on how to react and defend themselves.
At BWC, we’ve taken steps to help prepare ourselves for this very situation. In fact, our Security personnel have provided training to employees and have implemented policies since 2009. In addition, to meet requirements from the Department of Administrative Services, our security team and human resources division recently completed a review of our active aggressor policy and procedures, and have provided training for our floor wardens/safety teams and security guards in each office across the state.
Representatives from the Ohio State Highway Patrol have given our employees additional training and helped our offices identify safe rooms to prepare us in the event of an active aggressor situation.
In the event of an active aggressor situation, BWC, along with law enforcement personnel and the Department of Homeland Security, recommends the defense techniques: Run, Hide, Fight.
Run – This is the best way to react in an active aggressor situation. Do not panic and sit around making yourself an easy target. If possible, running from the situation is always the best way to protect yourself and prevent you from becoming a victim.
Hide – If you find yourself in an active aggressor situation and you cannot run (i.e. your only exit is blocked by the aggressor or the aggressor is so close to you that you don’t feel running is your best course of action), you need to hide.
Should this be your only choice of defense, find a room, closet, or another location with a door that locks from the inside. Be sure to turn off the lights and, if possible, find something to use as a shield (i.e. desk, cabinet, etc.).
Put your cell phone on silent and call 911. Be very quiet and breathe. It is OK to call 911 and not say anything; whisper when you feel you can without the aggressor hearing you. Most importantly, DO NOT COME OUT and be prepared for the next step – FIGHT.
Do not be tricked by the aggressor possibly saying, “It’s the police, open the door or come out.” Stay hidden and call 911 if you can. They will tell you if the police have secured the area and actually want you to come out of hiding. Law enforcement will clear the room(s) and will find you, but understand you may be hiding for a long time.
Fight –This is when there is nothing else for you to do and it is evident the aggressor is going to confront you. Find things to use as improvised weapons (pencils, staplers, laptops, anything). Try to throw things at the aggressor’s face, especially the eyes. It is a natural reaction for all of us to defend our eyes.
Have a predetermined mindset that you will survive and are not going to go down without a fight.
As unfortunate and as difficult as it is to say, we must have a mindset every day that there is the possibility we will be exposed to an active aggressor situation. Be prepared, be vigilant, have an escape plan and be prepared to defend yourself.
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