Sheriff Ivey: What To Do In ‘Active Shooter’ Situation
By Wayne Ivey, Brevard County Sheriff // March 4, 2014
Personal reaction requires a 'survival' mindset
Due to the recent events at the Viera Courthouse, where an individual threatened the safety and security of the facility and its occupants, I thought we should focus our Weekly Crime Prevention Tip on what to do if you find yourself in the middle of an “Active Shooter” or other type of critical incident.
Historically, most people never worry about critical incidents of this nature, believing that unless they were involved in criminal activity or found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, they never would need to worry about being the victim of a violent crime.
Today’s critical incidents demonstrate that those who wish to strike fear in communities will strike at locations where most feel safe and secure.
Today’s critical incidents demonstrate that those who wish to strike fear in communities will strike at locations where most feel safe and secure. Incidents like the Navy Yard, Boston Marathon and Sandy Hook make it all to apparent that we have to think about our personal safety regardless of where we are, or what activity we attend.
Incidents like the Navy Yard, Boston Marathon and Sandy Hook make it all to apparent that we have to think about our personal safety regardless of where we are, or what activity we attend.
Personal reaction to a violent critical incident requires a “survival” mindset that involves:
• Awareness: What is happening around you, using all your senses.
• Preparation: Ask yourself “What if” type questions and prepare yourself to do whatever it takes to survive.
• Rehearsal: Mentally and physically practice your plan to build confidence and react quickly. (Law enforcement officers practice this daily)
By learning from recent events and tragedies we know that following our natural instincts is essential to survival. Humans have a natural Fight or Flight mechanism, and by allowing the Flight portion to take hold during these types of incidents we minimize the potential to become a victim. Moving targets become a difficult target, thus running further complicates the ability for the assailant to engage targets with a firearm.
Using the theory of Run, Hide or Fight presents the best opportunity for us to protect ourselves and those around you.
The following is a list of suggested safety measures and practices to help protect you and your family in the event you are at a location where a critical incident occurs. Determine what action gives you the best chance to survive and then quickly execute your plan.
• Can I get myself and others to a safe or secure location in the building or outside. If the answer is yes, do so immediately.
• Don’t wait for others to validate your decision as seconds can make the difference.
• Encourage everyone to take similar action.
• Leave all personal belongings behind.
• If you can’t get out safely, find a place to hide. Look for a place that offers cover, protection, is well hidden and offers options for further movement.
• When you are in a safe location, immediately call out to authorities via 911, don’t assume someone else has already called. Tell the dispatcher:
– Where you are,
– Any information about the subject, name if known and description,
– The current or last known location of the subject,
– Number and types of weapons involved,
– Injuries you are aware of.
• If you must HIDE do what you can to stay unnoticed and keep the shooter out:
– Lock yourself in the location if possible,
– Turn off the lights,
– Block the door with heavy objects,
– Keep quiet, put cell phones and pagers on silent/vibrate.
• If there are two or more people in a space, spread out:
– Spreading out, rather than huddling together, causes the shooter to hesitate in looking for targets. This also
gives you more options for action and opportunities to get out,
– Before you spread out, quickly and quietly plan what to do if the shooter enters the area.
• If the subject enters your space, assume his/her intentions are lethal:
– Stick to your plan to take out the subject, others will follow when you act,
– Use anything you have with you in the room as a weapon,
– Fight Dirty! There is no such thing as a fair fight when you are trying to save your life or the life of a family member, friend, or co-worker,
– As soon as the shooter enters, yell loudly and throw things at him/her, aiming for the face. His/her first reaction will be to shield. Rush the shooter and act as a team to overcome the shooter,
– Total commitment is critical, don’t give up until you have won!
Most importantly remember, those in immediate danger are the real “First Responders” who have to do everything they can to protect themselves and other potential victims.
Thank you for sharing our Weekly Crime Prevention message with your family, friends, and co-workers and for helping the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office keep our community safe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has been a law enforcement officer for over three decades. Sheriff Ivey is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has a Bachelor’s Degree from Daytona State College in Management and Supervision. Sheriff Ivey’s background in law enforcement is inclusive of Management, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics, Patrol Services, Public Integrity Investigations, and Corrections.
Prior to being elected in 2012, Sheriff Ivey served the citizens of the State of Florida as a Resident Agent in Charge for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. As a member of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Sheriff Ivey developed and created the country’s first ever statewide Task Force on Identity Theft. That same year the Task Force was named one of the top five most innovative programs in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and investigated approximately 44 million dollars in fraud cases. Additionally, as a member of FDLE, Sheriff Ivey created the Child Abduction Response Team (C.A.R.T) that re-defined the way Child Abduction cases are conducted throughout the country today. The program was later selected as the most innovative program in the country by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is now used as a nationwide model in the response and investigation of child abductions.
Sheriff Ivey has testified before the United States Congress on law enforcement related matters and has extensive experience in the area of Public Integrity Investigations. Sheriff Ivey was honored as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Special Agent of the Year (1996) and was also recognized by the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for his Outstanding Contributions to Criminal Justice. In August of 2011 Sheriff Ivey was honored by the National Organization of Victims Advocacy for his work at the national level as an advocate of victim’s rights and protection.
Sheriff Ivey speaks regularly on topics such as Identity Theft, Crime in America, Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Self Defense through Mental Preparedness. Sheriff Ivey firmly believes that Crime Prevention and Education are vital to reduce our crime rate and protect our community.