Hillard Heintze Senior Vice President John Orloff and I were very pleased to speak today with more than 100 medical and healthcare community members in Chicago. In support of our partnership with Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC), we presented and discussed the necessary steps a medical or health facility should undertake to be prepared prior, during and after an active shooter incident.

Active Shooter Events Are Often Over in 5 Minutes or Less

Did you know that most active shooter incidents are over in less than five minutes? That means there is not enough time for first responders to arrive and intervene – so employees need to be able to make life-and-death decisions in a matter of seconds. As with any learned task, training and preparedness are essential, and in this case, can save lives.

Active shooter incidents can occur at any time and anywhere. All staff need to be prepared – mentally and physically – on how to respond such as activating a code alert and implementing RUN-HIDE-FIGHT options for safety.

Just as important, numerous studies have shown that an Active Shooter’s behavior on their pathway to violence often times concerned others prior to the attack. It is critical to have a workplace violence prevention program in place at your organization to recognize and report these behaviors.

Early warning signs might include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Irritability
  • Blaming others
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Withdrawal
  • Substance abuse
  • Accidents
  • Performance decline
  • Physical complaints

Attackers – What You Must Know

Become knowledgeable on common characteristics of active shooters.  This insight can help prepare you for an actual incident.

  1. Attackers have motives fame, law enforcement-assisted suicide, bringing national attention to a perceived problem.
  2. Attackers select targets based on motives and accessibility of the target, or, in some cases, targets.
  3. Attackers have common backgrounds despair, depression, suicidal thoughts, a history of harassing or stalking, major loss or change in life, and in many cases, few arrests for violent crimes.

4 Phases of Critical Training

Developing an active shooter plan is the first step in preparing your employees for an active shooter incident. This critical training focuses on four key components:

  1. The four phases of emergency management
  2. Preventing workplace violence
  3. Recognizing early warning signs
  4. Activating the code alert and implementing RUN-HIDE-FIGHT

Interested in learning more about preparing for an active shooter incident?


An active shooter attack is over in five minutes or less. Would your team be prepared?