A LACK OF KNOWLEDGE IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR LOSS OF LIFE.
As someone who is nationally recognized as an expert on the phenomenon of Active Shooter Events, it is with a great sense of humility, responsibility, and urgency that I am calling for a change in the way we address these events. Most of us who are stakeholders in the prevention of and response to active shooter events are well versed with the currently promoted “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy.
While this strategy has merit from the perspective of how to RESPOND once an active shooter event begins, the revelation is that we can do more to PREVENT the event from happening in the first place.
Chris Grollnek, Active Shooter Expert
A PREDICTION THAT BECAME REALITY
And at the time of this writing, there have been 22 states that have been affected by an active shooter incident resulting in 45 children shot and 9 killed in schools alone!
A NEW NATIONAL STANDARD FOR ACTIVE SHOOTER PREVENTION
We must change our approach to be prevention-focused, and we must change it now. It is with the backing of my peers and enthusiastic support from fellow sector experts that I am bringing forth a new
National Standard active Shooter Prevention. This new standard will focus on PREVENTION first, with three main principles that surpass the standards of previous active shooter response training strategies:
- Principle 1 – re-educate the public that PREVENTION is, in fact, possible
- Principle 2 – revamp and evolve RESPONSE strategies based on new learnings from recent events
- Principle 3 – optimize the outcome by providing OPTIONS to our communities
Collectively – these principles comprise the First Preventer PRO Model that will become the new national standard of Active Shooter Prevention!
When lives are threatened, everyone involved including victims, first responders, investigators, researchers, policymakers, etc. walks away with a unique perspective of what happened, why it happened, how it happened, whether it should have happened, and how to prevent it from ever happening again. As you can imagine, gathering and analyzing each of those perspectives to drive reform is both time-consuming and complicated. Quantifying the benefit of that effort is simple, though. With a renewed focus on PREVENTION first, the number of lives saved will be countless, and that is priceless!
I am honored and privileged to be joined by fellow experts who share this vision and have committed to championing the mission to establish a new National Standard of Active Shooter Prevention. Collectively, we represent the First Preventers team – working together towards saving more lives and shifting the narrative from “We never thought it could happen here” to a battle cry of “#NEVERHERE!”
1.) RUN, HIDE, FIGHT – A FLAWED STRATEGY
“Run, Hide, Fight,” is a model the Department of homeland security put together to expand critical thinking around how to save lives threatened by extreme acts of violence. Instead, experts in the fields of prevention and response took the formula and “ran.” Those three simple words, “Run, Hide, Fight”, were modeled from the simplicity of “Stop, Drop, &Roll” – a widely known and used motto to save children’s lives from school fires. The collective “miss” was that we stopped short by placing too much focus on the response framework when we should have been developing an all-encompassing strategy with prevention as the cornerstone. Over the years incidents have continued to multiply, and the level of violence has increased at a rate few could predict. And while the incidents gained traction, the “experts” argued over what constitutes an “expert,” instead of focusing on what needed to change. Unfortunately, this is a fact that few acknowledge it would require a hefty dose of humility and an admission of being incorrect.
POLICE AND CITIZEN RESPONSE AS A PREVENTION STRATEGY
In the aftermath of Columbine and for the past two decades the law enforcement community has invested heavily in security in an attempt to prevent future active shooter events. This is a subtle acknowledgment that the lack of a true prevention strategy is an inherent flaw in the current model. Prevention though is a word that means something entirely different to the police than it does to the everyday citizen and intervention and threat assessment teams. Realizing there needs to be a paradigm shift around the idea of “prevention”, a highly distinguished group of industry experts have identified mechanisms to evolve the “Run, Hide, Fight” model from one that is response-based to prevention-focused. That said, adoption of the revised policy and best practices are often usurped by the need to achieve a level of acceptance on positioning and stance, with “Run, Hide, Fight” widely accepted –this will be an uphill, albeit worthy battle. Let’s face it – “Run, Hide, Fight” has done nothing to prevent active shooter events, and shouldn’t that be the REAL goal?
2.) MOVING AWAY FROM “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT” TO A PROactive MODEL
In 2013 the Department of Homeland Security provided approximately $287,000 to the City of Houston to make and release a video titled: “Run, Hide, Fight.” The theory was that if “Stop, Drop, and Roll” can save children, “Run, Hide, Fight” might save children and others in a different context. Based on evidence-based research though, it is our belief that “Run, Hide, Fight” is no longer an adequate solution as it addresses the threat from a defensive point of weakness and fear through. We need to be on the offensive, and we need to act before the threat commences. With that in mind, we are pleased to introduce the PRO Model – a new National Standard for Active Shooter Prevention.
PREVENTION, RESPONSE, & OPTIONS (P.R.O.)
Many will read these three words and think we have simply pivoted from “Run, Hide, Fight” to “Prevention, Response, and Options.” That is why you must read on.
Nearly everyone prefers preventing incidents, attacks, and tragedies rather than responding to them, yet budgets are mostly focused on First Responders, not First Preventers. Prevention is possible and it is happening with the early adopters of the framework we have identified: organizations who realize their people deserve better training and tools, not words that cultivate fear. We are helping these organizations evolve from the fear-based “Run, Hide, Fight” response model to a proven model of prevention.
First Responders, having specialized training to render aid and stop a bad actor once a threat is engaged, is critical. There is no disputing that we need First Responders. However, when we look at an emergency through the lens of First Responders being the front line, we leave so much on the table regarding protection and prevention. This gap should be filled by First Preventers. Our model and framework for developing leadership in prevention is the cutting edge of security. We have seen this evolution in fire safety, and we are witnessing that same progression in security regarding active shooter events and other acts of domestic terror.
From one organization to the next, there are a variety of needs and a multitude of security-related resources available. With the PRO model, we transcend both Prevention and Response by assessing what Options are available. Our model is multi-directional because we provide these options and help assess what solutions fit best for an organization. The PRO model gives you the best chance for Prevention first and foremost and a better Response when all else fails. These three concepts on their own are just part and parcel of programs in place across the nation and beyond. However, when a model is built from the ground up and combined into a system, the three words become the tenets of an encompassing plan that transcends simple words that are easy to remember, but ineffective in preventing active shooter events.
Let’s take another look at the fire motto brought to bear to save children: “Stop, Drop, Roll.” In describing a method to roll a program out, what better one to view than the one credited for saving children? After all, a child has not died in a school fire in over 50-years. Yet in 50-years, have we not been implementing other options, concepts, strategies, investments, and studies in the prevention of fire? Of course, we have! Fire department funding has been on the rise, training for fire personnel continues to expand, and departments within departments of non-bureaucracy have been introduced and credited with lifesaving initiatives.
Thus, when a model is built from the ground up using research-based data and lessons learned, Prevention, Response, and Options (PRO) become the tenets of an encompassing framework that will help to prevent active shooter events from occurring and result in more lives saved.
Why the Fire Model Works
The comprehensive strategies put forth over a national policy stopped the deaths by fire of children in schools in its tracks. Buildings are being created safer based on a defined “fire code” and are inspected against that code before the fire departments even get involved. They have added alarms, water systems, signs, exercises (fire drills), inspections, training, marshals, more inspectors, visits from on-duty firefighters, hydrant checks, and a lot of community involvement as well. These examples do not even scratch the surface of how broad of a program the fire prevention strategy is in America. The lives lost to create a system of lives saved are remarkable and reasonable. This statement can be regarded as general public sentiment. It’s time to take this strategy and leverage it toward saving more children from a growing pattern of violence. What better way to do it than; “PREVENTION.”
As a group of coveted Active Shooter Prevention, Domestic Terrorism, and Security professionals, we implore you to think about the commonsense approach to this concept. The idea of transcending political boundaries, a common goal of saving lives, the idea of not dividing classes by Constitutionally subjective changes, or even mandating a one size fits all approach. Instead, let this community of experts (more than the top 10-across the domestic terrorism and active shooter spectrum) take the initiative and adjust the programs to save lives.
3.) WHY IS PREVENTION MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER BEFORE?
Duty of Care is a real liability as evidenced by the hundreds of multi-million dollar lawsuits filed in the aftermath of active shooter events, and these numbers are only trending upward. Take for example the following:
- $700M lawsuit filed against MGM following the October 1 massacre in Las Vegas
- $130M settlement with the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigations related to the Parkland massacre in Florida
- $88M settlement with the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Investigations related to the Mother of Emmanuel Church in South Carolina where the federal government acknowledged negligence and lack of action
Preventing Loss of Life & Loved Ones
You really can’t put a value on someone’s life or what they mean to their loved ones. Prevention means that lives will be saved, not lost, futures are not ruined due to post-traumatic stress, and family members are not devastated by the senseless loss of their loved ones. You simply cannot argue the “Return on Prevention” …it is a far better outcome than a lifetime of “Return on Regret.”
Preventing Reputation and Brand Damage
What comes to your mind when someone says the following words: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Parkland, or any other educational institutions that have fallen victim to active shooter incidents? Is it positive or are you instantly taken back to a memory of where you were when you heard the breaking news that yet another educational institution was under attack and children were actively dying at the hands of an active shooter? Preventing these tragedies and the subsequent headlines, lawsuits, cover-ups, and other unwanted incidents is key to protecting years of building your institution’s reputation.
What does PROactive PREVENTING look like?
Preventing incidents and tragedies requires a team of First Preventers to take proactive and timely actions by intervening and/or disrupting individuals of concern from escalating on a pathway of executing their plans (shootings, violence, abuse, suicide, fraud, etc.)
Why are prevention efforts failing again and again?
Lack of action. The right people are not taking action at the right times. Research from over 20 years of incidents and tragedies (mostly failed preventions) exposes dangerous flaws in conventional prevention strategies because they are focused on response. This line of thinking creates gaps, silos, and disconnects that keep resources (First Preventers) from knowing what they need to know, what others know, and outdated prevention tools that are not designed to collect, securely share, assess, and connect the dots to see the bigger picture of pre-incident indicators. Having a prevention-focused strategy allows both internal and external First Preventers to take effective PROactive actions before the incidents occur.
PREVENTING, PRO, AND FIRST PREVENTERS
Research, news stories, lessons learned, and lawsuits reveal how most incidents and tragedies had more than enough pre-incident indicators (fact: 44.3% of active shooters warn of their intentions in advance), more than enough incident reporting opportunities, more than enough policies, more than enough training, more than enough resources, more than enough laws, and more than enough law enforcement officers who could have prevented the tragedy from occurring. So why then is the current model failing? Because it is focused entirely on the WRONG pillar – response – when it should be focused on PREVENTION. This is what the PROmodel sets out to do – focusing on PREVENTION first, requiring an assessment through an entirely different lens than what we’ve been focused on since 2013 when the “Run, Hide, Fight” strategy was broadly adopted. ACTIVE SHOOTER PREVENTION, RESPONSE, OR SAVING LIVES? FIRST PREVENTERSFIRST
FIRST PREVENTERS SERVICES
The First Preventers Team, a collective of the nation’s most coveted active shooter, domestic terrorism, and security experts is available to assist you with ALL of your prevention needs, including Prevention Strategies, Training &Certification, Public Speaking, and Media Consulting /Contribution.
- First Preventers Assessments
- First Preventers Templates
- First Preventers Prevention Platform
- Active Shooter Prevention Assessments
- Physical Security Threat Assessments
TRAINING & CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS
- First Preventers Training Program
- First Preventers Certification
- First Preventers Coaching
- Public & Private Sector Security & Prevention Liaison forActive Shooter Training & Investigations
- Insurance Binder Reduction Training Program
- Training Coordination Services
- Certification Program Grant Coordinator
PUBLIC SPEAKING & ENGAGEMENTS
- First Preventers Pathway to Prevention Seminar
- Public Speaking & Keynotes
- Consultant & Contributor Services
FIRST PREVENTERS “OPTIONS”
There is a multitude of security-related resources available across the organizations currently engaged in Active Shooter Hostile Event Response (ASHER). With the PRO model, we enable effective Prevention and Response by assessing what Options are available. Our model is informed by the reality that threats are multi-directional: each incident represents a unique challenge for the professionals who must deal with it. That is why we have designed a model that provides options and solutions tailored to the specific requirements of the organization that employs it. The PRO model gives you the best chance for Prevention first and foremost, without compromising the effectiveness of your Response when all else fails.
FIRST PREVENTERS – A NON-PROFIT, DIRECT-TO-ACTION ENTITY
We leverage tools and methods that have a proven track record of success, such as Awarety, a Prevention &Connecting the Dots technology platform, and Wingshield, a ballistic apparatus designed and implemented by some of the best and brightest in the world.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
As a non-profit organization, we are actively seeking donations so that we can bring the PRO model to your local community, schools, businesses, and places of worship. Your decision to donate and be a part of this transformative initiative to save lives and prevent tragedies before they happen will enable us to provide our services and expertise free of charge, creating specific and customized prevention and response strategies for at-risk facilities.
We need to raise approximately $50,000 per school district for a three-year plan offered by the FIRSTPREVENTERS team at roughly 50% less than the average cost of similar concepts and tools. We are the only provider with a comprehensive approach, from prevention to response, and tools for both. It is our fundamental belief that no child should be killed because a school district couldn’t afford to implement the fundamental principles and procedures necessary to protect the children.
Let us never allow another child to wake up having to fear whether they will make it home alive from school. Let us never allow another school administrator, staff member, or resource officer to be left with lifelong guilt wondering if they could have done anything differently. And let us never allow another parent left to say “I never thought it would happen here” as they bury their child. Let us instead change that tearful, post-incident narrative to a battle cry of “#NEVERHERE!”.
How do we get to