Timing & Statistics in Active Shooter Situations

Ryan Coe, Apex Defense Group
How much time do you have to react in an active shooter scenario? The CoverMe-Seat takes less than six seconds to equip with some training, so we asked some of our active shooter response partners if this would be enough. The number one answer? It depends. Here's some information from our partners at Apex Defense Group, LLC (slightly edited for context):
"Timing does vary between shooter to shooter. The capacity of the weapon, their training, skill, etc. Are we talking about a shooter in a room with you? Shooter in a room beside you? Or just shooter in the same building? These are all varying times with varying problems. Take into account fight/flight/freeze response, danger response, stress thresholds, and training. HOWEVER, my general rule of thumb is 7.5 seconds in the same vicinity and not standing within 21 ft and with other potential victims or distractions.
It takes an untrained civilian over 30 seconds to realize danger and a minute to formulate a plan. Trained civilians are 1/2 that time. Typically, shooters will focus their attention on a particular victim for sometime between 7.5 and 12.5 seconds. That is looking at the average number wounded, divided by the time from bullet 1 to the last bullet. So if someone can avoid being one the first few victims, but they aren't able to flee, then getting equipped with protection should be achievable.
Some context to consider: 70% of all active shooter events end in 5 minutes or less- either due to no ammunition, no available targets, resistance, etc.  Law enforcement response times are improving, but they have varied between 4-11 minutes, making the average 7.5 minutes. 
The shooters at Columbine went hunting for victims spending a longer duration on each one. The increased speed at which we train law enforcement to respond has cut down on this. Now we see shooters either in a trance-like state shooting targets of opportunity, or shooters spending longer amounts of time on victims but confining their destruction to just one room. where he can take his time and reload keeping victims pinned down.
Here are some other statistics on active & mass shootings:
  • 60% of these incidents end before law enforcement arrives 
  • 49% of the time the first officers to engage the shooter sustain casualties
  • 89% of victims are killed via shots to the head and torso, far greater than combat statistics (in combat, soldiers typically wear body armor, so are less likely to die from shots to the torso)
  • Incidents of mass violence are growing at a rate of 17% since 2013
  • 45% of these incidents happen at businesses or areas of commerce open to the general public. 
Remember: Run, Hide, Fight should always be the response in that order for all civilians. Always have a plan anywhere you go. Identify primary and secondary exits. Locate cover or concealment. Run and flee the location if given the chance. Direct others to come with you, but do not wait. Call 911 when safe.
If running is not an option, hide. Hide somewhere difficult the shooter would not think, nor take the time to look. Lock or barricade the doors if optional, and silence all devices.
Lastly, fight as a last resort. Use improvised weapons, ambush the attacker, use surprise, speed, and extreme violence to overwhelm the attacker with explosive force to naturalize him. Get your business involved in on-site active shooter training conducted by businesses like Apex Defense Group LLC. 
Finally, get medical training (Note from Practical Protection: this is a tip we hear consistently from our safety expert partners). It takes just 2 minutes for a person to bleed out via massive or arterial hemorrhage. A training company like Apex offers tactical medical training and stop the bleed training. Anyone can potentially save the life of a wounded victim from bleeding out via modern technology."

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