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Why SenseMaking is an Important Element of Active Shooter Response Training

There is no one magic response to an active shooter type attack; you first have to assess and make sense of the situation. This is why the “A” in “AlerT” stands for “assess” and just another way AlerT differs from Run-Hide-Fight, CRASE, or Standard Response Protocol.

How AlerT Uses the OODA Loop to Mitigate Panic during an Active-Shooter type Event

A valuable system to assist in this SenseMaking is the OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act) Loop; sometimes referred to as Boyd’s Cycle after its creator, retired U.S. Air Force Col. John Boyd.

According to Boyd’s theory, SenseMaking during an emergency can be seen as the result of Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) cycles.

The OODA Loop helps in decision-makingObserve

The process begins when you observe something you associate with an active shooter. This is why being alert, or situationally aware, is so critical.


Next, you orient. Think of orientation as gaining perspective. AlerT training on topics such as understanding your operational environment and active shooter survival options help expedite orientation.


Once orientation is gained, it is time to decide. The decision considers factors in information from orientation and AlerT training.


The last step is to act. AlerT training goes beyond Run-Hide-Fight and helps you to understand the strategies behind the lockdown-evade-resist options, and how to prevent and/or overcome panic.

The “loop” part of OODA occurs when the situation changes and the process continues throughout an incident.

What to consider when implementing a preparedness program for your organization

When contemplating the implementation of preparedness programs, leaders should consider the following SenseMaking possibilities:

  • Do nothing and hope nothing happens.
  • Do nothing and it does happen.
  • Do something and nothing happens.
  • Do something and it happens

Looking to update or improve your current active shooter defense training?

Let us help you maximize your efforts and make certain your training program makes sense. Contact us today to learn more about our AlerT active shooter defense training options.



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