Three Crisis Management Steps to Use In An Active Threat Situation

Mar 6, 2019 8:00:00 AM / by Frederick Tessari

Did you know, that in the event of an active threat, you can potentially save the life of your co-worker, friend, or family member if you know what to do between the time the threat starts and the arrival of police? The techniques taught in our Ten-Minute Medic course can prepare you to take action and save lives.

Continue to read on to learn crisis management tips you could use in an active threat situation, what an active threat timeline looks like and about a medic class you can take.


Every active threat situation is different so the active threat timeline can vary. In the below situations, it took between seven to nine minutes for officers and medics to respond to the scene:

  • Squirrel Hill Mass Shooting: It took nine minutes for officers and paramedics to respond to the scene.
  • Parkland High School Mass Shooting: It took two minutes and forty-five seconds for the school resource officer to notice the attack; however, he does not act. It took another three to four minutes for more officers to arrive; however, they did not approach the building. The shooting had been over for five minutes before any officers (from a neighboring precinct) rush into the building.
  • Las Vegas Mass Shooting: It took seven minutes for officers to rush the room where the shooter was.

Unfortunately, with any kind of violence, there will be injuries. Between the time the event starts and the police and medics arrive, you have the ability to help save someone’s life. There are three steps you can take to save a life. 

Step 1: Make sure to call the police (if it is your responsibility)

If your company doesn’t already have an emergency action plan (EAP), you should develop one. An EAP is a written document required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This document will discuss employee roles and responsibilities in the event of an active threat like calling the police.

During the call with police, the caller should:

  1. Identify the number of attackers, if there is more than one.

  2. Identify the location of the attacker/s, if possible.

  3. Give a description of the attacker/s, including gender, clothing, weight, height, hair or any other identifiable factors.

  4. Identify any weapons that are being used.

  5. Identify the number of victims there are.

Step 2: Identify if you are safe.

Before you can offer any kind of help, you should identify if you are safe and unharmed.

  • Severely injured: If you are severely injured, you will not be able to help other victims.
  • Injured, but can walk: If emergency responders have arrived, find a medic to help you.
  • Unharmed: If you are unharmed and the area is safe, start identifying any victims that may have life-threatening injuries, such as blood spurting out of a wound, an area that won’t stop bleeding, loss of limbs or an unconscious person.

Step 3: Help

Depending on if there is a trauma kit available, start by finding the source of the bleeding. Open the victim’s clothing so you can view the wound.crisis management

If you have a trauma kit:

  1. Wrap a tourniquet two to three inches above the injured area. If there is a joint around the area, tie the tourniquet above the joint.

  2. Pull the end of the tourniquet as tight as you can until the bleeding stops. There will be a windlass on the tourniquet, secure it.

  3. Write or note down the time you applied the tourniquet.

If you have a trauma kit but do not have a tourniquet, pack the wound with gauze and apply continuous pressure to the wound until a medic arrives.

If you do not have a trauma kit:

  1. Cover or pack the wound (if large) with a clean cloth.

  2. Hold continuous pressure until a medic arrives.


At Active Threat Solutions by Defense in Depth, it is our goal to ensure you have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to maintain a safe environment. However, if an active threat situation occurs, we want to make sure you are ready.

Save a life by enrolling in our ten-minute medic class presented by Alex Shay, former US Army combat medic. This class focuses on the ability to control bleeding until a higher degree of assistance arrives (between 10 minutes) and what you need to do immediately if someone is badly injured.

To contact us about the 10-minute medic class, click below. 


Topics: Emergency Response, emergency action plan, First Aid, crisis management

Frederick Tessari

Written by Frederick Tessari

Frederick Tessari is a former supervisory Deputy United States Marshal. Frederick Tessari has an exceptional law enforcement background having served as a U.S. Marshal in Brooklyn, New York. Frederick has also trained federal officers at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. His specialties include crisis management, investigative research, security management, emergency management, surveillance, active shooter response, corporate security, community outreach, military operations, physical security, force protection, executive protection, security operations and policy analysis.