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Responding to an Active Assailant Event in the Workplace Webinar: Part 2 of 3

oswaldcompanies May 24, 2023

Unfortunately, gun violence in workplaces of all kinds, schools and public spaces are becoming more prevalent and more violent in the United States. How you respond may make all the difference and the rule is simple: Run, Hide, Fight.

Oswald Companies hosted the second in a three-part series on active assailant events. The first session focused on prevention, while the May 24 session focused on how to respond when an active shooter is present. Andy Hayden of Hayden Investigations & Security Services was the guest speaker.

The scout rule that we’ve heard since we were children still applies. Be prepared. It will significantly impact how you respond.

First, know your surroundings, including which exits to use or avoid in an emergency.

Learn first aid and know where the first aid kit is in your building.

Know where to meet in an evacuation. This will help colleagues and law enforcement keep track of those who are safe and those who still may be in the building.

Practice good safety every day. Create an environment in which employees are not afraid to admit a badge or keycard has been lost. You don’t want the keycard to end up in the wrong hands.

Don’t hold a secured door open for anyone you don’t know. Employers will never be able to stop multiple people from walking in after one person has swiped their badge, but they can inform employees of the potential problems of allowing a stranger to enter without identification.


When an active shooter is present, timing is everything. Attempt to run immediately. Don’t wait for confirmation of gunfire or other people to act. Leave your personal belongings behind and take with you those people who are ready to leave right now.

If you’re among the first to get out, call 911 and provide any information you have to law enforcement.


If you can’t escape, hide. Lock the doors and barricade the entrance with items such as furniture, desks or cabinets. Turn off the lights and cover the windows, if possible. Be quiet and stay out of sight. Be sure to silence your cell phone and darken the screen. An active assailant could hear your phone vibrate or see the screen light up a room, alerting them you are there.


Fighting is a last resort and it requires a will to survive. Think about who you’re fighting and surviving for – family, friends, pets.

It helps to have a plan of attack. Colleagues should work together, each having a specific role that coincides with their physical abilities. For example, don’t ask an employee to throw a chair at the assailant if they’re not physically able to do so.

You may have been taught to fight fair, but all that goes out the window when you’re under attack. Use anything you have as a weapon: fire extinguisher, chairs, hot coffee, etc.

If you control the weapon, you control the shooter.

Law Enforcement:

It is always a relief when law enforcement arrives, and there are ways to help them get the situation under control and save lives.

The main focus of law enforcement is to stop the threat, so they will bypass the injured until they achieve this goal.

They might break down doors, so don’t be alarmed. This is part of the process of entering and clearing a room. Expect a large amount of police from different branches; they could be in uniform or plain clothes. All with have some sort of ID such as a visible badge or clothing that denotes they are police, FBI, etc.

Follow all directions provided by the police. They don’t know if you’re a threat, so keep your hands up in surrender and only speak when spoken to.

Knowing how to prepare and respond in an active assailant situation could mean the difference between life and death. This video demonstrates how to respond. Watch the first (password: Active2023!) and second (password: Active2!) installments of our active assailant webinar series to learn more. Password: Active2023!

Sign up for Oswald’s third and final webinar, to be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 31.


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