Active Shooter / Workplace Violence [Part 2 of 3]

“How to prepare both mentally and physically for an Active Shooter / Workplace Violence incident“

On my last Blog “Active Shooter / Workplace Violence” [Part 1] I Introduced you to the history maker of active shooter incidents, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and how it affected police response today. I covered a little on the Virginia Tech shooting (2007) and listed five active shooter incidents that have occurred over the years since.
An Active Shooter is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area, typically through the use of firearms.
Now the question is, How do we prepare in case we are in the middle of such a dynamic, horrifying event? My answer to that question is, have a plan!
When I discuss this topic in my self-defense classes I always refer to the house fire. If your home catches on fire in the middle of the night while you and your family are asleep, how do you get your family safely out of your burning home? Do you have children? Pets? Do you keep a fire extinguisher in your home? If so, where is it kept? The dynamics will change if you live in a two story home. Think about that!
In order to have a good plan you need to have a clear vision on the outcomes you want in each environment you may be in. Our environment can change quickly throughout our day. We move from our home, driving through traffic, our workplace then possibly out to dinner, happy hour, Movie Theater and the mall. Where ever your life takes you, you will need to have a plan ready to be put in action to get yourself and family out of harms way.
Your plan should start with being situationally aware of where you are and what is going on around you. Situational Awareness is something we really don’t think about. We get busy in our daily lives, driving from one place to another, taking our kids to school and their other activities, personal issues cloud our brain and dull our senses and we just don’t pay attention.

Take it from me, being situationally aware of your environment and what is going on around you can save your life.
Being situationally aware starts with looking around at the environment you are in at that time. Get your face out of the cell phone, breathe and take everything in. Pay attention to your feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, leave. The problem most people have is that they do not pay attention to their senses, the feeling we get when we sense danger. When we don’t pay attention to this we become a victim.
Once you understand and utilize situational awareness in your lifestyle you will be able to avoid most confrontations before they happen.
Along with being mentally prepared you will have a need to know your surroundings and how to escape a bad scene.
Here is an example: You and your family decide to go out together for dinner and a movie. You head over to your favorite restaurant and are seated by the host staff. Where are you sitting? What is the environment like? What are the other customers like? Is it loud? Crowded? Take in where you are sitting, can you see the entrance? Is there a secondary exit and where is it? If you are sitting next to a glass window, is it breakable in case that is your only exit to where you sit?
When you get to the movie theater where do you sit? Do you sit together as a family or do the kids like to sit away from mom and dad? Do you sit close to the exits or closer to the front of the theater? Where are the exits?
This thinking is a defensive mindset. Setting yourself, family and / or friends up for victory in escaping a bad situation. Pre-planning for all the places you go should become a habit.
These issues may seem extreme but in the time of need, in the world in which we live, you will wish you knew them.
Workplace violence can easily be turned into an active shooter. Workplace violence is violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur inside or outside the workplace and can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. However it manifests itself, workplace violence is a growing concern for employers and employees nationwide.
Employees who may have just been fired for poor performance, having marital issues may come to the workplace to cause problems and violence.
Being aware of what goes on at work is important. Knowing what your employers policy is pertaining to workplace violence response is important for you to know. Take it upon yourself to know where all the exits to your employment building are is also important. If an active shooter / workplace violence situation breaks out you will need to know how to escape the building quickly and be able to get to your safe zone to meet up with other escaping employees.
At the end of the day, you are responsible for your safety. Response-ability! Are you able to respond to save your life and the lives of your family members? What is your plan because you are their last line of defense. Remember, when bad things are happening you are your own the first responder, the Police and EMS are about 10 minutes away.
I hope after reading this I have you thinking about your situational awareness. I hope I will have you assessing areas that you and your family may be walking into no matter where it is. Doing this is good practice. Do it all the time and get good at it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and learned something from it. Next week I will send out Part 3 of this 3 part series:
“Active Shooter / Workplace Violence [Part 3 of 3] “Do We Run, Hide or Fight?”
I’d like to get your feedback on these blogs. Anything you would like to hear from me in the world of Self-Protection/Self-Preservation please email me at


  • Stacey Fiore

    May 10, 2019 @ 1:37 am

    Good stuff John, thanks for sharing. It is so true that we get so busy with our lives. It is actually sad that we need a voice always telling us to be aware, but we do. As a female and a practitioner of the arts and weapons I too need to be reminded so thank you. I recently read an article from a group of people who conceal carry and it was about what they would do if…. Wow is all I can say. I am really looking forward to next weeks blog. – Stay Safe

    • John Riddle

      May 10, 2019 @ 3:12 am

      Hello Stacey, I hope all is well. Thank you for you kind words reference the blog post! It has always been my goal to get people educated the right way either thru my teaching at the school or now, thru my blogs. Thank you for your comments and I look forward to hearing from you in the future as I produce more of these educational blogs. Stay Safe!

  • John Riddle

    October 14, 2019 @ 12:08 pm

    “If this happens then I’m going to do this”, I hear this comment often from people when we discuss reaction to situations.
    My response to that statement is “why not have a plan?” Your plan should include “When, Then Thinking”. First off build your plan! Have a plan for you, have a plan with your family, have a plan for when you are at the mall , work, restaurant, concert… wherever!! Having that plan and naturally incorporating “When, Then Thinking” WHEN it happens, THEN I am doing this.
    When you get the plan together for you and / or the family play it out in your head. Practice , practice, practice!
    Remember! You are the point man/woman on your personal protection detail.
    Work it!!

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