Active Shooter Event - Are you ready?

Active Shooter Event NYC 04/12/2022

people sitting on the floor in NYC subway, blood in foreground
Armen Armenian/Facebook

Many people who choose to train and carry defensive tools do so with specific scenarios in mind. Often those scenarios are driven to our experiences and exposure to events. We all try to weigh likelihood and high cost situations; most of us are not celebrities with crazy stalkers, or Fortune 500 executives with a high risk of kidnapping. Many focus on defending themselves or family at home, with some considering events outside the home such as in transitional spaces, choke points, and areas with limited visibility. This is perfectly reasonable.

Those events may include a mugging, a possible car jacking, or interrupting a robbery. While those events do happen, have you considered finding yourself in a mass active shooter event? Anywhere there is a collection of people, there is a risk of such a horrific incident.

Details are still emerging, however several different sources are confirming some basic facts regarding an active shooter event that occurred today (04/12/2022) in the NYC subway system. Some things we are aware of is:

1) the attacker chose an area with limited egress for those inside his selected ‘kill zone’;

2) the attacker apparently chose a handgun to use

3) a smoke grenade of some sort appears to have been deployed to initiate the attack

4) reports state that improvised explosive devices, or items that appeared to be such, may have been found on scene

5) the attacker appears to have been wearing an MTA uniform or a bright green safety vest of some kind

6) they reportedly were wearing a gas mask

7) at least 10 people appeared to have been struck with bullets, with 16 injured

8) the attack was initiated at 08:24 am, during peak traffic

So what lessons can we pull even at this early stage? Be aware of your surroundings. Look for what doesn’t belong. Perhaps an MTA worker wearing a gas mask blends in now in this era of COVID, but it might catch your attention. Preplan an escape route no matter where your are, be able to move quickly.

Lastly, how effective would you be in drawing a firearm in such a crowded area even if it were legal to carry such a tool there? Do you really want to be standing there amongst injured people with a gun in your hand as armed police officers rush the scene? There are a lot of considerations here, and with a focus on your first circle of safety around you I would ask you to consider moving beyond just defensive firearms.

The reports state 10 people were shot, with none killed. Take a look at the attached picture; what would be more useful here, a gun or a medical kit with tourniquets? Have you trained to provide medical aid to yourself and others? While having a suitable firearm is useful in many situations, it doesn’t stop there. I was taught years ago that “If you’re going to carry a tool to make holes, you better be able to fix holes”.

Studies have shown that 90% of handgun gunshot victims survive *if they are properly treated during the critical first moments* An adult can bleed out in 90 seconds if their femoral artery is severed. How fast can you retrieve a tourniquet and apply it? Do you know where to apply pressure on the upper femoral or brachial arteries while you prepare and affix a tourniquet? What if you don’t have one, or need more than you carry? These are all valid questions.

While active shooter events are occurring more often, we are constantly surrounded with traumatic injury incidents from vehicle crashes to industrial accidents. Don’t get tunnel vision and focus solely on firearms; often these events happen very quickly and the after injury steps you take can save more lives than engaging an attacker. Consider adding a medical class to your training, even if it’s a basic one hour Stop The Bleed course.

Take care of your First Circle.

Ready to learn more? Take a Stop the Bleed course to be better prepared for traumatic bleeding.