Attacks happen where we work, where we learn, where we worship, where we serve, and where we play.
WHAT IS A 'SOFT TARGET'?
There is no single agreed upon definition of a soft target. However, they are commonly defined as locations that are easily accessible to large numbers of people and have limited security or protective measures. This includes venues like schools, sports venues, hotels, and shopping malls.
Active Shooter situations are top of mind when thinking of active threat. The Department of Homeland Security defines active shooter as "an individual who is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases active shooters use firearm(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims". There have been hundreds of active shooters incidents at soft targets. Two recent events include the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016 and the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas in 2017.
Bombings are another example of active threats against soft targets. One well known example is the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, where three individuals were killed and dozens more were injured.
Vehicle Ramming refers to using a vehicle (often heavy trucks) to drive into a crowd of people. These attacks require no specialized training, only access to a vehicle. They may target pre-planned events such as the attack after a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, France in 2016. But they can occur on an ordinary day, for example, when in 2017 a pickup truck was driven down a bike path in New York City.
Attacks with edged weapons, like knives, are increasing in frequency. A recent example is the attack at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota where an assailant injured 10 people in 2016. Edged weapon incidents are often used in conjunction with other types of attacks, like vehicle ramming. This was seen in the incident at Ohio State University in 2016 where the perpetrator drove a vehicle onto the sidewalk and then began attacking passersby with a butcher knife.
Chemical attacks are not top of mind when considering attacks on soft targets. However, these attacks have been carried out on both small (the targeted attack of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, England in 2018) and larger scales (Sarin gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan in 1995).
Preparedness Without Paranoia®
Preparedness without Paranoia® provides education and training for individuals to gain a heightened situational awareness and understanding of today's multidimensional threat environment, recognize telltale signs of an evolving threat, and become empowered to take effective action without hesitation. By replacing confusion with clarity, we mitigate the unseen costs of what has become a national crisis-immeasurable health, social, and economic consequences. The approach is non-tactical by design. It is complementary to the tactical concepts and operations employed by first responders; those brave men and women who deliberately run towards danger, not away.
We developed an approach that integrates education, engagement, and empowerment we call Preparedness Without Paranoia® which is applicable from the classroom to the boardroom.
Active Threat Readiness Training
This training is designed to educate individuals on the nature of threats and to help prepare them in case an ordinary day becomes extraordinary. It is broken down into four modules, based on the core Resiliency cycle. The modules are Awareness, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
The ability to recognize both potential threats and warning signs displayed by individuals who may commit acts of violence.
Comprehensive planning and rehearsal for threats posed by fire, natural disasters, active shooters, or other instances of violence.
A series of actions taken by organizations and individuals in response to an ongoing active threat with the intent of saving lives and ending the threat.
A range of actions after an event including medical care, changes in work environments, change in response planning, temporary relocation during restoration, and organizational and community support in the process of healing.