Why We Train for Active Threat Survival

Feb 19, 2019 1:15:14 PM / by Active Threat Solutions by Defense in Depth

On February 15, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, Illinois, a suburb 40-miles outside of Chicago. The attacker, a 15-year employee had just been fired.

When an active threat situation like this occurs, many questions come up, including:

  1. What was the motivation behind this attack?

  2. Were there any warning signs we missed?

  3. Is there anything we could have done to prevent this attack?

  4. Could we have prepared our employees for this type of attack?

"We're assessing if there is anything we could have done or could do in the future," Scott Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, parent company of Henry Pratt Co., said, adding that he was certain there were some shortcomings that would need to be addressed.

At Active Threat Solutions by Defense in Depth, this is why we offer training services for active threat survival. Continue reading to learn more active threats and active threat survival.   


According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Workplace violence can range from verbal threats to physical assaults and homicide. Homicide is currently the fourth leading cause of workplace related injuries and deaths.”

  • Homicide in the workplace accounts for eight percent of overall workplace deaths in men.
  • Homicide in the workplace accounts for 19 percent of overall workplace deaths in women.


In our latest blog, Motivations for Active Threat Attackers, we discussed a 2014 FBI study and its follow-up report that examined actions leading up to the attack and why the attack happened.

In this report, 49 percent of active shooters had grievances related to interpersonal or employment action against the shooter, and in the majority of the cases, at least one of the victims was specifically targeted.

At ATS by DID, we often see warning signs such as threatening behavior, verbal warning of the attack, displaying sadistic behavior and more. Read our in-depth blog about active attacker motivation here.

While it is not wholly clear if the motivation behind the Aurora attack was because the attacker was about to be fired, police are working to figure out why the attacker still had a weapon in his possession and Henry Pratt Co. is wondering what it could have done to prevent the attack.


There are multiple things a company or organization can do to try and prevent an attack, including analyzing risk management processes and developing an in-depth threat analysis and emergency action plan (EAP).

Risk management includes in-house security processes. When thinking about risk management processes and if you have a good process, ask yourself ‘can I answer yes to the below questions?’

  1. Is there a process in place that details how an employee can notify security or human resources if they believe there is a problem?

  2. Do we have a process in place so that management or security can follow-up with the problem and document it?

  3. What does this process look like? Is there a meeting with security, human resources or management? Will security, human resources or management bring in employees involved or other employees to question them? Does law enforcement get involved?

If you can’t answer yes to these questions, or lack a detailed process on the third questions, you may need to rethink your risk management plan.

If you have answered no to these questions, and you don’t have a process set in place, our elite team can help you develop a plan.

A member from our elite team will come to your company and walk you through the building. Executing a walk-through will give you a bird’s eye view of your building’s security and if it’s effective. A walk-through will include looking at:

  • Door locks
  • Passwords
  • Key cards
  • Pathways of escape for employees/customers
  • Security staff

Our team will issue recommendations documenting any weak spots that are perceived and options for improvement.

Additionally, if there is need for our team to execute a threat analysis, they can. A threat analysis analyzes the physical security of the building, asking questions, such as:

  1. What is the process to get into the building?

  2. How far into the facility could an individual get before being stopped?


active threat survival

Before: Before an active threat occurs, a company can give their employees the knowledge to know what to do when faced with a threat to their personal safety, including an active shooter situation. Through our active threat survival program, a company can develop an EAP, which is a document to organize and facilitate employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies.

An effective EAP will include:

  • Evacuation policies
  • Escape procedures with floor plans and safe areas
  • Contact information and individual responsibilities
  • Information regarding local hospitals: name, phone number and distance
  • A notification system to alert employees of an active threat

During: An EAP will also tell employees what to do if the active shooter/threat is in the area, including: run, hide or fight. Read our in-depth blog about EAPs here.

After: After an attack occurs, anyone who has not been severely wounded could help save a life through CPR and AED classes.

ATS by DID offers a 10-minute medic class presented by Alex Shay, former US Army combat medic. This class focuses on how to control bleeding until emergency officials arrive and what should an individual do if the victim is seriously injured.

To learn more about emergency response and post-incident communication, fill out the form below to download our comprehensive Active Threat Training Guidebook.




Our hearts go out to anyone who has been involved in a shooting. We offer these training services in the hopes that your company can equip its employees with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to maintain a safe working environment for everyone.

We understand that this subject can create fear and anxiety. Our team prides itself on presenting progressive tactics in a manner that is not frightening.

We training because we want you and your team to be prepared today to make it home tomorrow.

If anything we have said interests you or you have questions, please do not hesitate to fill out the form below to reach out to our staff.

Topics: Threat Analysis, emergency action plan, active threat

Active Threat Solutions by Defense in Depth

Written by Active Threat Solutions by Defense in Depth

Active Threat Solutions by Defense in Depth was developed to equip individuals with the knowledge and confidence they need that will inspire them to implement crisis solutions in the workplace making them feel safer and more empowered.