Tip #514: When Faced with an Active Shooter: Run, Hide, Fight!

“In difficult and hopeless situations, the boldest plans are the safest.Titus Livy

I attended a workshop personal safety today. We were taught what to do if someone is actively shooting in our workplace.  As part of the presentation, we were shown the video: Shots Fired-Guidance for Surviving an Active Shooter Situation, created by the Center for Personal Protection and Safety. I was hoping that I could simply provide a link to the entire video, but they only show a trailer on line.

Here are some of the important points that were made during the presentation.

When faced with an active shooter walking through your workplace:

1.   Have a plan.  Ask yourself “what if” questions: “what if a shooter is walking through the door,” “what if I can’t safely run away,” “what if there is nowhere to hide,”etc. And make sure you come up with the answers and practice taking those actions.

2.  Pre-program 911 into your phone. When people are highly stressed, they lose their small motor skills. You may only be able to press one button.

3.   You need to know what your exit options and strategy are.

4.  If you hear a few pops, assume it is shooting and immediately implement your plan. Actual gunshots do not sound like they do on the television.

5.  If it is safe, the first thing to do is to run. Unfortunately, most of us tend to freeze and panic in such situations. That is why it is so important to have a plan and practice it.

6.  Take the stairs. It doesn’t matter if you are on the top floor of a building, the stairs are safer than waiting for the elevator.

7.  As soon as you are far away from the building and safe, dial 911 and provide clear information about your location and the situation. Do not assume that others have already called.

8.  If it is not safe to run, then hide. Go into a room with a locked door, push furniture in front of it, and turn off the lights. Get under your desk and stay quiet. Very often, the shooter will not be looking down and may walk right by you.

9.  Scatter. Do not huddle together. Movement from different sides of a room can distract a shooter and save someone’s life.

10.  Do not just call 911 and sit tight until the police arrive. It will take them time to get there. You need to have a plan regarding what you will do in the interim- and act on that plan.

11.  If the shooter finds you, your only option may be to fight. Throw something at the shooter and then have everyone in the area tackle and hold the shooter down. This needs to be part of the plan, so that everyone is committed to taking down the shooter.

12.  Use something hard (stiletto, pencil) and jab it into something soft (eye, groin, neck). As horrible as this sounds, the truth is that person will kill you if you don’t disarm or kill them.

13.  Keep a survival mindset. Even if you are shot, as long as you are not dead, you have a chance. Don’t give up. You can live through it.

14.  If the shooter is still at large when the police arrive, give them as much information as possible: how many shooters, what they look like, what they are wearing, what type and number of weapons they have, where they are in the building, etc.

15.  When the police arrive, also put your hands in the air. They will not know who the perpetrator is, so everyone will be suspect. If they think you have something in your hands, they will automatically assume and react as if you had a gun.

We hope that this will never happen to us. Unfortunately, it just happened again at Fort Hood and it could happen anywhere, at any time. We need to be prepared. We need to prepare our families and friends, so they know what to do.

These were the key points I took away from the session today. I’m sure there are much more thorough steps identified at sites on the Internet.

May your learning be sweet.


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