Tel: 630.960.5060
Your "Total" Source For Fire Safety & Security

When Self Defense Meets Fire Safety

August 31, 2019 by Total Fire and Safety

 

Once again active shooting in public places is making headlines and making us consider our self defense options wherever we go. Unfortunately, our safety can be threatened almost anywhere, and self-defense is important. In your workplace or the facilities you manage, it’s important for the people inside to know how to react in the event of an active shooter or other attack.

In the case of an active shooter or other violent attack, potential victims have little or no advance warning.  The sound of gunshots may be the earliest alert you receive, leaving little time to react.  That’s why it is more important that you are prepared with a proactive plan of self defense, so you know how to respond immediately.

For years we were taught to shelter in place and wait for first responders.  But studies have found that this line of defense results in increased casualties.  Recently, offices and buildings have adopted the ALICE response plan.  ALICE is an acronym for the five steps you can take to survive an active shooter attack.  You may or may not use all the steps in the plan, but it’s nice to know that the fire extinguishers we regularly install and service, can actually be used effectively against an attacker in the “C” or “counter” step of ALICE.

So, in the event of an attack, remember ALICE:

  • Alert- Let everyone in the office or the building know what is going on when you hear gunshots, receive a warning or phone message, etc. The faster you communicate, the more lives can be saved.
  • Lockdown- If evacuation is not an option, lock the door, barricade it, and cover windows. Look for alternate escape routes, call 911, but do not open the door. Prepare yourself for the shooter to enter.
  • Inform- Pass on as much information as you can. Who, what, where, when! The more those around you know, the better.
  • Counter- Counter is one of the most dangerous but potential life saving strategies within the ALICE response. To counter is to fight back. Even in schools, there is one weapon, available to all, allowed and required in all buildings, and easy to use at your disposal against a predator. It’s your FIRE EXTINGUISHER!

While any object can become a weapon against the shooter, that five or ten-pound fire extinguisher on the wall can be very powerful. Remember that an armed assailant will not have a free hand to block counterattacks, nor will they be expecting one.  Use your fire extinguisher to throw at the shooter or as a bludgeon when he comes through the door. Even if hitting him over the head does not knock him unconscious, it can buy you time to escape.  You can also pull the pin and deploy the contents which can potentially blind or suffocate the shooter, or at the very least, startle him/her, long enough to disarm or tackle them.

To use a fire extinguisher, remember PASS:

  • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Once the can is empty, keep your grasp and ram the bottom of the can into the attacker’s face or body. Having training on how to correctly use a fire extinguisher ahead of time can ensure that your employees are prepared for more than fighting fires!

If you automatically locate the nearest escape doors when you go into a public place, it’s also a good time to note where the fire extinguishers are located, just in case.

The last letter in the ALICE acronym is “E.”

  • Evacuate- Escaping the danger zone is always the best self defense option in the event of a shooter. Total Fire & Safety offers emergency evacuation and fire safety training so your people are trained to respond in a productive, organized way should an emergency ensue.

Total Fire and Safety is committed to all areas of life safety, including self defense against active shooters. For more information on our training, see our website or give us a call: 630-960-5060.


No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.