Recently in the news, there have been frequent reports of active shooters in schools, malls and other public places. These unsettling reports can help educate and prepare citizens to understand what to do during an active shooter situation. Active shooter situations can be over in a matter of minutes before law enforcement has a chance to arrive. Homeland Security recommends following practices for coping with an active shooter situation:
If there is an accessible escape path, try to evacuate the premises. Be sure to have an escape route and plan in mind. Remember to leave your belongings behind. Help others escape if possible. Evacuate regardless of whether they decide to follow. Stop individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be present. Do not attempt to move the wounded. If you are able to leave the scene, keep your hands visible. Once safe, call 911 and follow the instructions of any police officers.
If evacuation is not possible, attempt to hide in an area where the shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view, provide protection if shots are fired in your vicinity, and doesn’t trap or restrict your ability to escape. Prevent the shooter from entering your hiding place by locking the door and barricade them with heavy objects. If the shooter is near, silence your cell phone and reduce any noise coming from the room. If evacuation and hiding out are not possible, then call 911 to alert law enforcement of the shooter or leave the line open for the dispatcher to hear the situation.
As a very last resort, and only when your life is in impending danger, you should attempt to disrupt or incapacitate the active shooter. Act with extreme aggression by yelling and throwing objects at the shooter. Remember to commit to your actions.
Active shooters should be taken seriously. They present a real danger of showing up in the most unlikely places. At your family’s school, place of work or even stores you shop at. Always be aware of your environment and any possible dangers. Try to map out the best possible plan of escape in case of this event. These precautions may end up saving you and others.