Hostage and Shooting Incidents unfortunately are nothing new in our schools and appear to be on the rise.
There may come a time when there is a need for rapid Police Patrol or Tactical Unit response to conduct an emergency rescue operation at your school.
What Is meant by emergency rescue is, the school is in the hands of a person or persons bent on terrorism and has or will use violence or threat of violence to accomplish their goal.
Now Law Enforcement intervention is necessary. Containment of the situation, attempted negotiations with the suspects for a peaceful resolution or possibly even violent means may be necessary to save lives.
The information contained in this Program is, straight forward and not sugar coated, for the express purpose of understanding & assisting Law Enforcement in keeping as many people as possible safe and uninjured.
Hostage Rescue & Barricaded Suspect / Active Shooter Intervention
The Mission Objective is to bring about the successful resolution of any of the critical incident situations with the intent and purpose to minimize the risk of injury or loss of life to citizens, police officers and suspects, by utilizing the personnel, training, equipment and assets available or obtainable .
There is no foolproof way to do this.
You, your students, and your Police Officers are not considered expendable in any way.
An emergency rescue (if necessary) and the building search that would follow are some of the most lethal activities a Police Officer will perform.
The terrorists or suspects have a considerable advantage over the entering team and if they are determined, will in all probability, at least injure one or more of the team members or hostages / victims.
The officers on your Police Agency realize and accept the dangers, they also realize if they do nothing, more people will die or be injured then if they had taken action.
Guarantee of Safety
Please understand, the Police cannot guarantee your safety in a critical incident.
However, rest assured that your Police will do everything in their power so everyone will go home .
You can best help us to accomplish this by knowing and considering the information that follows.
This normally is a criminal suspect with known or unknown violent potential that has barricaded him / her self (alone or with other suspects/ persons) in a structure and refuses to surrender to Law Enforcement.
These situations normally provide ample time for detailed planning and negotiations.
Note: These person/s are normally armed and there is the potential for a transition to an active shooter and or a hostage situation.
This situation is a Barricaded Suspect/s or an outdoor movement situation where the suspect/s is actively discharging a firearm at Law Enforcement or Citizens and or randomly firing into an area where it is reasonably expected that persons could be struck by the suspect/s fire.
These situations leave little or no time for proper planning and normally require first arriving Law Enforcement units to take immediate action to end the danger.
Note: Active shooter situations can and often do develop into hostage situations upon the arrival of Law Enforcement.
Any Hostage Situation is a Barricaded Suspect/s situation with the addition of innocent person/s being held against their will by violence, threat of violence or the potential for violence.
These situations most of the time provide time for detailed planning and negotiations.
Note: Hostage Situations often develop from Active Shooter situations or have great potential to develop into them.
If terrorists do take your school ( make no mistake, they are just that ), you must keep your wits in order ( THINK ).
If the situation is a Hostage or Barricaded incident and there is no active attempt by the suspect to take lives, the police will take a negotiations stance with the suspect.
This will take time and is SOP to avoid escalation.
If the suspect starts injuring or taking lives you can (in most cases) expect a rapid change in tactics.
This will be made perfectly clear to the suspect during negotiations (his safety depends on yours).
In Class or Office
If you are in a classroom, room or office, STAY THERE, secure the door.
If the door has no lock and the door opens in keep a good heavy door wedge on hand and drive it in as hard as you can.
If the door has a window, cover it if you can.
Have someone watch while you get as many students out the windows (ground floor) as calmly and as quietly as possible.
Have the students that get out move toward any Police unit while keeping their hands on top of their heads and do exactly and immediately what the Police tell them to do .
If no Police units are yet on scene move well away from the school and find safe cover positions (not the parking lots) and wait for the police to arrive.
Don’t leave the area entirely, you may have information that responding Police Officers will need. Once in a safe place stay put.
If the windows don’t open, or you cannot break them, or you are not on a ground floor, get out of sight from the door and stay low and quiet.
In The Hallways
If in the hallways, get in a room that is not already secured and secure it.
Unless you are very close to an exit, don’t run through a long hall to get to one, you may encounter the gunmen or hostage taker.
Don’t hide in restrooms!
In Large Rooms
If in a gym or theater area and the gunmen or hostage taker/s are not present, move to and out the external exits and move toward any police unit.
Again keeping your hands on your heads. Do what the police tell you!
Trapped With The Gunmen / Hostage Taker
If you are trapped with the gunmen, don’t do anything to provoke them.
If they are not shooting, do what they say and don’t move suddenly.
Only you can draw the line on what you will or will not do to preserve your life or the lives of others.
If they do start shooting people, you need to make a choice, ( at this point it is your choice ) stay still and hope they don’t shoot you run for an exit while zig-zaging or even attack the shooter.
This is very dangerous, but certainly no more then doing nothing and dieing in place.
A moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one and the last thing that the shooter will expect is to be attacked by an unarmed person.
Again this is not a recommendation to attack the shooter but rather a choice to fight when there is only one other option.
Hostage / Barricaded Suspect Response
The first Police units on the scene will be Patrol Units; their primary function is to set up a perimeter around the school.
This perimeter is two fold, to keep the suspects from escaping (containment) and to prevent further innocents / suspects from entering.
These Officers will take no action against the suspects and will initiate the incident command structure.
Fire and Emergency Medical units will be staged close by but normally out of sight.
Negotiators will attempt contact with the suspect/s as soon as possible with the goal of reaching a peaceful resolution with the hostages released unharmed.
During the negotiations phase command elements and tactical units will make contingency plans for marksman intervention and or hostage rescue by tactical entry personnel.
If negotiations fail and or innocents inside are being engaged by fire or other means, the Tactical Unit will make immediate assessment of the situation, make entry, move to contact and end the threat.
Active Shooter Response
Again first arriving police units will set up a hasty perimeter.
Quickly assess the situation, approach method and entry point.
Immediate action will then be initiated to get to and stop the terrorist’s action.
This is called different things by different Agencies, Patrol Tactical Response, Extraordinary Deployment, Rapid Response, etc.
You may wish to check with your Agency to insure they have trained in this capability.
Vital Intelligence Information
If there is time on any incident, the Incident commander will attempt to obtain pre-entry intelligence on the following:
The suspects: who, why, the number of, descriptions, their location, their training and or abilities.
Weapons or explosives: type, numbers, and their possible locations.
Hostages: who, numbers, possible injuries and their locations.
The School and Police Dept. should work together to keep current building information on file with the Police so it will not necessary to do this at the time of an incident.
If this information can be obtained before it is necessary to enter, the success of the entry will be greatly increased.
If Entry or Marksman Engagement Occurs
In the event negotiations fail, the situation involves an active shooter or the suspect is engaged by a marksman, an entry of Tactical or Patrol Officers will take place.
You must be aware of the following if this occurs.
Everyone in the building will be considered a suspect until known otherwise.
With this in mind, when the team of officers makes contact with you, do not run towards them (you may draw fire), keep your hands visible and respond immediately to their commands.
Remember that the team will engage with fire, anyone that is armed or moves on the team in what may be perceived an aggressive manner.
The team will be moving rapidly to locate, identify and engage the terrorists.
The team may have to enter without all the needed information on the terrorists, so any perceived threat may be met with force.
The last thing any of us want is to have an innocent wounded or killed by friendly fire.
Unless the team of Officers has a large number of personnel you must be aware that they cannot and will not stay with you or assist injured victims until the threat of continued danger is terminated.
This is a necessary function of their job; they have to stop the terrorist threat now.
This is not heartless or negligent, it is in the best interest of all victims, wounded, uninjured and potential, that the continued danger be terminated so that Emergency Medical Personnel can be safely brought in or victims safely evacuated.
If you are near the terrorists when the team makes entry, there will be rapid movement, possible alarms, explosions, smoke, loud continuous commands to get down and gunfire.
The best thing you can do is drop as low as you can and stay there, with your hands visible until the team commands you to get up (even if the team leaves the area where you are).
When you are commanded to get up place your hands on your heads and do exactly what you are told, remember you will still be considered suspects until you are evacuated and checked out.
The team, when ready will escort you from the building.
If the terrorist(s) are shot by Tactical Unit Marksmen, get down as low as you can and stay put until the entry team comes for you. Do not try to get out of the building on your own.
Bomb & Fire Evacuations
On bomb or fire evacuations, stay away from parking lots and be alert for anything out of the ordinary or suspicious.
The bomb threat or fire alarm may be a way to bring people in proximity of a car bomb or sniper.
This has and is being used by domestic and foreign terrorists to bring their victims into their kill zone.
Stay alert and keep cover assets in mind at these times.
This program is not all-inclusive, but if understood and followed-up with training, it will increase your chances of surviving a hostage / terrorist incident.
Our world is and can be a suddenly violent place! Your Police are doing the best that they can under heavy restrictions to make it as safe as we can.
Your help will make this much more possible and effective.