It’s a sad but true reality – active shootings. While we can debate how we got to this place, what’s most helpful right now is learning how you can be prepared to save you and your family’s life.
Imagine you’re out at the mall, department store, or park. You’re going about your day and checking off lists, watching your kids play or enjoying time in a movie. Suddenly you hear what sounds like firecrackers but followed by screaming and panic. Your reality just changed. You’re in an active shooter situation.
What do you do next?
Three options for dealing with an active shooter situation:
- Try to escape the area as quickly as possible. When you go into an area, be aware of at least two exit routes and have an escape plan in mind.
- Be committed to escaping regardless if others refuse to get out
- Help others escape if possible
- Keep your hands up and visible if you encounter law enforcement
- Call 911 when you are in a safe area
- If you can’t escape, find a location where the active shooter is less likely to find you
- Your hiding place should be out of view
- Provide protection from gunfire if possible (brick, concrete, cinder block wall)
- Use an office or room with a locked door. Use heavy furniture or office equipment to block the door.
If the active shooter is nearby,
- Turn off the lights
- Silence your cell phone or any other source of noise (TV, radio, etc.)
- Be silent
If possible, call 911 and alert the dispatcher where the shooter’s location is. If you cannot talk, leave the line open to allow the dispatcher to listen.
Remember, you may have to hide for hours until law enforcement secures the threat.
- As a last resort, only fight when you cannot hide and your life and/or your family are in imminent danger.
- Act as aggressively as possible and fully commit to your actions
- Improvise weapons using items around you (fire extinguishers, chairs, etc.)
Law enforcement that arrives first on the scene have the primary job of eliminating the threat, it is unfortunately not to render help. They must stay focused on the situation and work to end the threat as soon as possible.
Help will come as more first responders arrive. It’s an unfortunate reality that we are faced with these situations but being aware of your surroundings and having a plan of action will help you survive. Take a look at this video made by the City of Houston, TX that reviews that same 3 tips for active shooter survival.
Active Shooter Safety Resources: