These are good questions and ones I will explain below.
It is important to know that the active shooter response kit is not the same as a bail out bag. Each is set up differently and for different purposes.
Both kits are important to doing your job. Sadly, your department probably hasn’t outfitted you with everything you need.
I’ll help sort through the jargon and give you actionable information you can use to start building your gear in the next 10 minutes.
Let’s jump in…
Active Shooter Bag Concept
The term “active shooter” is a bit of a misnomer. What we really mean is “spree killing in progress.”
Spree killers use firearms, cars, knives and other instruments to kill groups of people. All of them require an immediate law enforcement response.
The active shooter bag is a response kit that allows a police officer to effectively carry additional tools into a combat situation where there is a high likelihood of using deadly force.
What kind of gear you carry in this kit will vary from officer to officer, but your kit will be very similar to those of other officers.
In general, you will want additional ammunition for your patrol rifle or shotgun, additional ammunition for your duty handgun, bleeding control gear and a few simple tools to help you in finding the suspect quickly.
We’ve put together an active shooter bag contents checklist article to explain the equipment in detail.
It’s Not a Bail Out Bag
The active shooter response kit is not a bail out bag, though many people use the terms interchangeably.
An active shooter kit is for a single mission: addressing an immediate deadly force threat.
A bail out bag is a more generalized response kit that can help you deal with incidents that may keep you away from your patrol car for an extended period of time. For example, a bail out bag might help you with maintaining a perimeter position or surveillance of a location that is only accessible by foot.
Take a look at our Active Shooter Bag vs. Bail Out Bag article for more information.
Hopefully, I’ve explained what an active shooter bag is.
If you keep in mind that the active shooter kit is for a response to a specific, deadly force situation, that will help guide you in selecting and setting up your gear.
We’ve compared the different options out there and have an article on the best active shooter bag for police.
I don’t want to bury the lede: the best “bag” isn’t a bag at all.
Once you’ve selected your platform, make sure you read our checklist so you pick the right supplies.
Setting up your active shooter response kit is easy to do and will offer you more flexibility if you ever have to respond to a spree killer.