Emerging Threats

How to Survive a Workplace Shooting



How to Survive a Workplace Shooting

5 Tips from a Safety Expert

The recent shooting in San Bernadino has brought the threat of a workplace shooting to the front of many people's minds.

For most of us, our office or workplace has never been a place where we feel unsafe. A workplace shooting is an unlikely scenario, but it's still one you need to be prepared for. The worst can happen when and where you least expect it.

In the following video, a safety expert explains several steps you can take to survive in case of a shooting like the one in San Bernadino. Here are a few of his tips:

  1. Build a barricade around the door
  2. Set off fire alarms and sprinklers — anything to cause commotion and bring attention to the situation
  3. Tie a belt around the door hinge to keep it form being opened
  4. If a gunman breaks through the door, fight back
  5. Use anything you can get your hands on as a weapon (such as a fire extinguisher or scissors)

Watch the video below, and share your own shooting survival tips in the comments.

Want more tips? Check out these related articles from our website:

Surviving a Hostage Situation or Terrorist Attack

How to Defend Yourself Without a Gun

Self Defense Tips for Women


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  1. J T

    January 29, 2016 at 12:40 PM

    Drawing your own weapon and fighting back is good in an ideal situation. But in the confusion what do you think will happen when the next guy with his gun or a cop comes onto the scene and see YOU with a gun? They will think you are a bad guy as well and probably start taking shots at YOU ! Let’s hope the none of us ever has to make that call.

    • Irish-7

      September 4, 2019 at 12:05 AM

      I think about that lately, as I recently submitted security recommendations to counter “Active Shooter” incidents at my church. I am lobbying for establishing armed security teams for every service. My advice was “the agents can be known or unknown to the congregation, but they MUST KNOW EACH OTHER to avoid fratricide”.

  2. Robert Tingler

    January 29, 2016 at 2:55 PM

    I would like to have seen someone try to open the door that is supposed to be blocked by putting a belt on the hinge portion of the door opener assist. I predict that the belt will be forced back to the point where the two bars are hinged and then it will just fall to the floor. If the belt idea can be made to work, a new video should be presented that demonstrates how to accomplish the goal of keeping the door closed.

  3. Mark

    January 29, 2016 at 8:52 PM

    As a federal employee (non LEO), I’m a “voluntary victim” since my employer bans even the most basic of tools (screwdrivers, battery operated power tools, hammers, hand saws, etc.) from being brought into the office, much less firearms, tasers, pepper spray, or anything else that might be considered a weapon. I’m not even allowed to have a firearm in my personal vehicle if the vehicle is on the property. I say it in jest, but I’m surprised that they have not banned scissors and require us to use a paper cutter instead.
    A fire extinguisher can also be used as a weapon. They are made to put dry powder, CO2, or halon on a fire from a safe distance. That would be my choice if the shooter broke through the barricade, and I had the drop on him/her. Halon binds with oxygen, denying it to the fire. It can do the same to oxygen going into the lungs. Dry chemical powder extinguishers can blind and cause respiratory distress.
    The canister can then be used as a blunt force weapon.
    I know it’s not perfect, but it’d be my first choice rather than scissors.
    The massed rushing of the shooter (and reducing him/her to a bloody paste) has become a favored, almost ingrained, response of folks in countries that have had to deal with terrorism for extended periods of time.

    • Henry Teja

      September 4, 2019 at 6:30 AM

      There are plastic knives that are razor sharp & very concealable. There are also ballistic pens, which looks & operates as a pen but also is a self protect weapon which can be used to stab assailants in the throat & back of the neck, eyes, ears, even under the arms in the armpit ares towards the chest which will come close to major upper organs. One last thing to remember, the collar bones located just below the rig of the shoulders & towards the neck above the chest, if you hit that area even with the side of an office stapler you will snap those bones (only takes 6-8lbs of pressure) thereby disabling the assailant from using his arms! Then you can subdue him/her & bind them for authorities to take charge of them! The key is not to hesitate. Yes you may be injured or possibly killed but it better to die free people than a slave to anyone!

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  6. Jim

    September 3, 2019 at 11:49 AM

    You need to remake the video where the belt is being applied to the door hydraulic opener. You don’t want to strap the belt at the hinged joint, but at the ends of the pivot arms for maximum counter torque in holding the door shut. Then when the jerk is trying to push the door open, then spray him with a mouthfull of dry chemical with the fire extinguisher!

  7. Steve Whitten

    September 4, 2019 at 5:37 PM

    I personally knew one of the Virginia Beach “victims” in Jr high and High school. Unless she made a 180 with her personality; she 1) bullied the shooter, and everyone else she thought “inferior” relentlessly: as in every day and all
    day. When you have made yourself the prime target of a workplace shooter, YOU ARE GOING TO BE KILLED. Was the shooting incident entirely her fault? of course not; but the contribution of the bully cannot be overlooked either.

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