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Active Aggressor Response

An Active Aggressor is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area by means of a weapon including;  gun, knife, bomb, etc in most cases, active aggressors use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.

An Active Aggressor situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Because active aggressor situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active aggressor situation.

Good practices for preparing for an active aggressor situation:

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers

  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit

  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door

  • If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door

  • As a last resort, attempt to take the active aggressor down. When the aggressor is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.




Quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life. Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active aggressor situation.


     1). "RUN" or Evacuate
      If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind

  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow

  • Leave your belongings behind

  • Help others escape, if possible

  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active aggressor may be

  • Keep your hands visible

  • Follow the instructions of any police officers

  • Do not attempt to move wounded people

  • Call 911 when you are safe


  • 2)  "Hide" or Hide out

  • If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active aggressor is less likely to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active aggressors view

  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction and locked door)

  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

(i.e., an office with a closed

To prevent an active aggressor from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door

  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

     If the active aggressor is nearby:

  • Lock the door

  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager

  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)

  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)

  • Remain quiet

If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

  • Remain calm

  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location

  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen

3) "Fight" or Take action against the active aggressor

  • As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active aggressor by:

    • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her

    • Throwing items and improvising weapons

    • Yelling

    • Committing to your actions 

** Always seek professional assistance immediately after any "active aggressor" event to determine what leval of support is necessary to cope.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administration,

For further questions or assistance contact: REACH Employee Assistance Program (EAP) And as always REACH is here to help you deal with a traumatic event. 

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