Magazine article Risk Management

Violent by Design

Magazine article Risk Management

Violent by Design

Article excerpt

Randall Spivey Executive Director. Center for Personal Protection & Safety


School and work-place shootings are becoming more frequent.

According to Randall Spivey, creator of the Shots Fired: When Lightning Strikes training program, there are ways that both individuals and organizations can increase the chances for survival in the face of the unthinkable.

What is the most important thing that the risk management community can learn from Virginia Tech?

In the aftermath of Virginia Tech, most of the focus was on response procedures, notification procedures and even gun control, but there was very little discussion on what a student--or anyone--should do if they find themselves in that situation. That was the genesis for the Shots Fired program. Even in the worst-case scenario, there are things you can do.

What is the first thing that a person should do if they find themselves in the middle of a shooting?

You start by having a mindset that you can do something even in a crisis. The difference between a trained person and an untrained person is that the untrained will just react. Or they will freeze and panic. We saw some of that in Virginia Tech.

But there are options. A trained person is going to proactively engage in some type of behavior based on their training. The first option is, "can you get out of the situation?" The best way to survive an active shooting is to not be around the active shooter. So we say, "get out."

If you can't get out, then you can either shelter in place or "keep out" the shooter from your work environment or your classroom. We saw some of that in Virginia Tech as well--people keeping the shooter away from them.

How do you determine which options to use?

If you hear something that sounds like shots and you don't see the shooter, go in the opposite direction. That is usually the best choice. If the shooter is in your area, you go into the other courses of action, which are "keep them out" or "hide out." In the worst-case scenario--when you find yourself in the same proximity as the shooter--you may have to consider "taking out" the shooter. The reality is that if there is one person with a gun versus a room full of 20 people, the odds are in favor of the 20 people. If they act in a coordinated effort, they will be able to sub due the shooter. There will be some injuries, but you won't have 20 people die. On the other hand, if 20 people hide behind their desks or gather together on the floor, then the shooter can just go around and shoot them one at a time. …

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