Active Shooters rarely have an exit strategy; they expect to die (suicide or suicide by cop) or be captured. Because the attack will be their first and last act of extreme violence, they will exhibit behavioral and physical PAINs immediately before the attack. An apt description of these PAINs is First Timer’s Syndrome. Good situational awareness will help you observe actions that slightly deviate from baseline operations and may pose danger.

Physical PAINs (image below on right) include appearance and dress. Behavioral PAINs (below on left) include overt actions and more subtle gestures. It’s important to note that these PAINs are almost always consistent with perfectly innocent explanations and do not automatically indicate danger. When the behavior is carefully and prudently explored and the person is determined not to be a danger, our intuition learns how to better distinguish future threats.

Active Shooter Pre-Attack INdicators

SafePlans Active Shooter PAINs

SafePlans Active Shooter PAINs

It is your intuition, training and experience that help you determine if the situation poses no threat; if further investigation is needed or if immediate response is required. In the very rare instances when immediate action is required, your mindset early observation will improve your response.

This post is extracted from a cover article featured in Campus Safety Magazine.  Please contact SafePlans for the entire piece or to learn more about SafePlans’ Active Killer Defense training and Prepared with SafePlans preparedness programs.


About the author:
Brad Spicer is the founder of SafePlans, a leading provider of all-hazards preparedness solutions; including a DHS designated anti-terrorism technologyand national active shooter prevention and survival program.