Violent Intruder Procedure

1) Purpose

A violent intruder is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, violent intruders use firearms. There is not necessarily a pattern to their violence and such an event may occur in any public or private location, such as a workplace, school or other venues open to the public.

The purpose of this policy is to recognize the potential of a violent intruder threat, however rare, and to advise employees of the County of San Mateo on responding to such an event, should one occur.

2) Scope

This policy pertains to all employees of the County of San Mateo who might be confronted by a violent intruder type event while actively engaged in work for the County of San Mateo or located on property of the county. The suggestions provided here are also applicable to a violent intruder event encountered while off duty and away from work. The goal is to recommend appropriate responses to a violent intruder type event and to offer tools to navigate such a situation.

It should be recognized that during such a catastrophic event, casualties, injuries and trauma is the goal of the violent intruder.

3) Procedure

With the unfortunate increase in active shooter events, various law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Department of Homeland Security, have taken steps to help educate the public on how to increase their chances for survival if faced with an active shooter event. The FBI and DHS have developed a plan called, “Run, Hide, Fight”.

Visit the FBI website https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cirg/active-shooter-and-mass- casualty-incidents/run-hide-fight-video and watch the video. It specifically addresses an active shooter event, but the information is applicable to most violent intruder events.

Another helpful video was created by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program (ALERRT) at Texas State University. Their plan, called “Avoid, Deny, Defend,” is similar in content but equally informative. The link to their video is: http://www.avoiddenydefend.org

If the links do not work, copy and paste them to your browser.

If you are ever find yourself in the middle of a violent intruder event, your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan. The plan does not have to be complicated.

There are things you can do that make a difference: Run. Hide. Fight.

Run: This starts with your state of mind.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Have an exit plan.
  • Move away from the source of the threat as quickly as possible.
  • The more distance and barriers between you and the threat, the better.

Hide: When getting away (Run) is difficult or maybe even impossible.

  • Keep distance between you and the source of the threat.
  • Create barriers to prevent or slow down a threat from getting to you.
  • Turn off lights.
  • Remain out of sight and quiet by hiding behind large objects and silence your phone.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the attacker’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction
  • Not trap or restrict your options for movement

Fight: Because you have the right to defend yourself.

  • If you cannot Run or Hide, be prepared to defend yourself.
  • Be aggressive and committed to your actions
  • Do not fight fairly. THIS IS ABOUT SURVIVAL.

When in a safe location: Call 911

When law enforcement arrives: The first responders on scene are not there to evacuate or tend to the injured. They are well-trained, and are there to stop the violent intruder.

Remember the following guidelines when law enforcement officers contact you:

  • Keep your hands visible at all times
  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Avoid pointing or yelling
  • Know that help for the injured is on the way

Needless to say, a person must use their own discretion during a violent intruder event as to whether they decide to run, hide or fight; however, the FBI and DHS feel run, hide, and fight are the best practices for surviving such an event. The following link will provide you with more detailed information regarding this strategy: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cirg/active-shooter-and-mass-casualty-incidents/run-hide-fight-video

4) Survival Skills

Survival skills are important for navigating dangerous circumstances. The following suggestions are ways to prepare for, understand and survive a traumatic experience.

  • Spend time mentally preparing. Know your surroundings. Consider where a threat might enter or how you could evacuate or hide. Understand how everyday items such as furniture, office equipment and fire extinguishers may be utilized for self- defense. Imagine how an attack might happen. Although potentially stressful, exercising your imagination to prepare for such an event might help when faced with the natural fight-or-flight instinct. Increase your situational awareness to improve your odds for survival.
  • Monitor your breathing. Slow and steady deep breathing aids in stemming panic and keeping calm. This will preserve your fine motor skills, which are hampered by stress.
  • Know that an injury does not necessarily defeat you. Maintain confidence that you will survive and do everything you can to do so. You are more resilient than you think.