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[Infographic] How to Address the Threat of an Active Assailant Incident in Your Organization

byLowers & Associates | August 31, 2016

Each and every employee and community member deserves to feel safe. OSHA requires it, labeling it as an organization’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Tragically, with a growing number of active assailant incidents happening all around the country, this threat is more relevant than ever before. Over a two-year span, 26 states experienced 40 active assailant incidents, resulting in more than 230 casualties.

It is essential to anticipate this debilitating threat and to put proactive and preventative measures in place. Including an ‘Active Assailant Incident’ component in your risk management program is fast becoming a cornerstone issue. There are measures that can make a difference and can save lives.

Our latest infographic breaks down this unlikely but devastating problem, including some insight into an assailant and a typical incident, and what to do to predict, prevent, and respond if a shooting occurs.

Learn more about protecting your people and your organization here:


active assailant incident management



Active Assailant Incident Management

Predict. Prevent. Respond.

Active Assailant: “An individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” (FBI)

Incidents Continue to Rise in Frequency

The highest average of incidents ever in a two-year period.

Unlikely Events with Undeniable Outcomes

Even though the likelihood is low, the consequences of one active assailant incident can leave an organization and an entire community in shambles.

2014-2015 By the Numbers

40 incidents in 26 states

231 casualties: 92 killed, 139 wounded

4 law enforcement officers killed, 10 wounded in 6 incidents

3 unarmed security guards wounded

6 incidents ended when citizens acted to end the threat

26 incidents ended with law enforcement at the scene

14 incidents ended with exchange of gunfire between the shooters and law enforcement

42 shooters in total

39 male, 3 female

16 committed suicide

14 killed by law enforcement

12 apprehended

(source: FBI)


5 Stages of Active Assailants

  1. Fantasy – Assailant daydreams of the shooting/news coverage, idolizes other assailants, may make drawings, web postings, or talk about their desires.
  2. Planning – Suspect determines the “who, what, when, where, and how” of their plan.
  3. Preparation – Obtains necessary weapons and devices, may call friends to warn them not to go to school or work on the day of the attack.
  4. Approach – Suspects heads toward intended target, armed with tools of death.
  5. Implementation – Shooter opens fire, continues until they run out of victims, ammunition, or is stopped

Characteristics of a “Typical” Active Assailant Incident

  • Spontaneous and unpredictable
  • Pre-incident signs existed
  • Multi-jurisdictional response issues
  • “Target rich” environment
  • No escape plan
  • 9 out of 10 active shooters are suicidal
  • Shooter is mentally deranged or acting in a diminished mental capacity
  • Mass murder is the goal
  • Over within 10 minutes or less
  • Multiple weapons and ammunition
  • Carnage, complete chaos, noise, confusion, and alarms
  • Frightened people running, hiding and unwilling to respond to directions
  • “Traditional” police containment and negotiation tactics fail to work



Employer’s Obligation

Federal Requirements

OSHA requires companies to maintain a safe workplace away from violence under the General Duty clause

State Requirements

Workers’ compensation laws make employers responsible for on the job related injuries to their employees.


Components of a Risk Management Plan

The goal of any active assailant risk management program is to eliminate the threat and to teach victims how to survive.

  • Security Audit & Program
  • Training & Simulation
  • Whistleblower Program
  • Active Assailants Event Insurance


Quick action can save lives, and those actions have to be known and rehearsed.

How to Respond During an Active Assailant Situation

In Response to the Assailant:

  • RUN: If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.
  • HIDE: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active assailant is less likely to find you.
  • FIGHT: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active assailant.

In Response to Law Enforcement:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions.
  • Slowly put down any items in your
  • hands (e.g., bags, jackets).
  • Raise your hands and spread your fingers.
  • Keep your hands visible at all times.
  • Avoid quick movements toward officers, such as holding on to them for safety.
  • Avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling.
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, as they will be focused on finding and incapacitating the shooter.


Lowers & Associates provides comprehensive enterprise risk management solutions to organizations operating in high-risk, highly-regulated environments and organizations that value risk mitigation.
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