- What is an Active Threat?
Active threats are acts of violence that happen in public spaces, including workplaces and schools. They can include terrorism and mass shootings. The Red Cross estimates an active threat situation happens in the U.S. every two to three weeks. While they are increasing in frequency, you are still far more likely to suffer injury as a result of a home fire, a disaster that occurs every 8 minutes.
- Why are you launching this campaign now?
Active threats are part of our reality, with an event happening every two or three weeks. Even though this is a difficult and uncomfortable subject to talk about, thinking about and planning for your response to an active threat can save lives. It is an accepted fact that “your body cannot go where your mind has not been.” Preparedness is an important part of readying your body to take action should you find yourself in an active threat situation.
- What does it mean to be prepared?
The two most important things you can do are be aware of your environment and participate in a training that will prepare you to respond if you should find yourself involved in an active threat. Active threat training includes information on recognizing when an event is happening, preparing yourself to respond, and training on basic first aid and bleeding control to help provide immediate aid and assist in recovery.
- How does thinking about active threats and talking about preparing for them help?
Preparedness starts by first recognizing an event could occur. When you recognize that possibility, it allows your mind to start thinking about what you would do if you found yourself in that situation. It is important to talk about this issue with your family. Consider creating a preparedness plan with your family, and talking about identifying exits with your kids. This is the same mental training the Red Cross teaches in preparing for any other disaster – natural or man made. While we hope this never happens to you, we know if you are aware of your surroundings and have a plan, you will be more likely to survive.
- What should I do if I find myself in the middle of an active threat?
Your responsibility is to get yourself to safety first. The actions we encourage people to take are run, hide or fight. We encourage you to take the action that will best protect your personal physical safety. When you are physically safe, you should alert law enforcement and others.
- What can I do now?
As an individual, we want you to start talking about preparing for active threats with your family, co-workers and friends. The more people talk about preparedness, the more likely they are to do something to get ready to respond. We have prepared resources to help Individuals, Families and Businesses guide that conversation and get prepared.
- How can I find training?
The Red Cross has put together a set of materials based on widely accepted best practices supported by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. In addition, you can take a free Red Cross hands-only CPR class that includes information on bleeding control and tourniquet use. Law enforcement agencies, private safety consultants and other organizations also offer active threat training.
- I’m not comfortable intervening.
We understand preparing for disasters can be uncomfortable. However, we know talking about active threats and taking small steps towards preparedness can be empowering. We want you to know there is something you can do to increase your chances of survival, and learn valuable skills like CPR and bleeding control that apply in many situations.
- I’ve spotted something that concerns me. What should I do?
Trust your gut. If something looks suspicions report it to police. This applies to both everyday life and online behavior. If you see something, say something. If something is concerning you at your workplace, house of worship or school, ask the leadership of the organization what the correct reporting process is. If they do not have a plan in place, the Red Cross Active Threat training is available for them.
- Isn’t it the job of law enforcement to handle these situations?
The professional response to an active threat is the purview of law enforcement. However, every individual and organization has a responsibility to be adequately prepared to respond and recover should it occur near them.
It is our collective responsibility to be empowered to save lives. In the case of an active threat, the police department and paramedics will respond immediately. Since most incidents are over in 5 minutes or less, lay responders play a crucial role in saving lives before law enforcement can respond to the situation.
- How do I know if my workplace has a plan to deal with active threats?
Often HR, Safety or Risk Management departments lead the charge in creating Emergency Action Plans (EAP). You can initiate a conversation with your manager or a leader from one of these departments about your company’s plan. If your company does not have a plan, our website includes information on how to create one and receive training.
- Do most public buildings and venues have a plan to deal with active threats?
We believe every business, public building and workplace should both have a bleeding control kit and have the majority of people trained to use it. We are working to ensure that publicly accessible, high traffic locations in our community have access to the materials and training necessary to be prepared for active threats. If you want to know if an organization has a response plan, contact them directly and ask the question. If they do not, encourage them to visit the Save a Life Denver website for information on training that is available to help them prepare.
- I am upset by this information. It’s scary.
You are not alone. Talking about the reality of an active threat can be very emotional. Preparedness reduces anxiety and provides peace of mind. Disaster Mental Health is an essential part of Red Cross service provision across the disaster cycle of preparedness, response and recovery. Using their professional knowledge and skills, Disaster Mental Health workers provide approved disaster mental health interventions that focus on basic care, support and crisis management for individuals experiencing disaster-related stress. These services are provided to both disaster survivors and Red Cross disaster workers on local, regional and national-level operations.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Save a Live Denver and Active Threat Preparedness
If you have questions about Save a Life Denver, please contact us.