The Information You Need to Survive an Active Shooter
The Department of Homeland Security defines an “active shooter” as an individual who is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined or populated area. There is no real method to their selection of victims, but studies have shown that 45% of active shootings occur in a place of business followed by schools, government properties and open spaces. Your chances of surviving an active shooter situation are greatly enhanced by mental and physical preparation.
Here’s what you need to know to survive:
1. Run: Your first course of action.
- Have an escape route or plan in mind. Always know where your exits are!
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow. Help others if it is possible and safe to do so.
- Leave belongings behind and do not attempt to move the wounded.
- Prevent others from entering the area of the active shooter.
- Keep your hands visible as you exit an area when law enforcement is present- they may not know who the shooter is yet!
2. Hide: If you can’t run, hide.
- Cover provides protection from gunfire, concealment does not. Always try to seek cover if possible.
- If possible, lock the door or block the entry to your hiding place. Use furniture or whatever means possible.
- Silence your cell phone and the vibrate mode. Any noise can alert the shooter to your hiding place- remain quiet!
3. Fight: If no alternatives exist, you must fight.
- Fight only as a last resort if your life is in imminent danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter with as much physical aggression as possible.
- Improvise weapons or throw items at the shooter- the distraction could give you the chance to run or fight.
- Most importantly, commit to your actions- your life depends on it!
When safe from harm, call 911. Make sure to give the operator the location of the shooter, number of shooters, physical description, number and type of weapons and number of potential victims at the location. Once law enforcement arrives on the scene, follow all their instructions.
Keep your hands raised and your fingers spread until instructed otherwise. Emotions will be high, but avoid any sudden movements, screaming or yelling. People who freeze when confronted with an active shooter are far more likely to be killed or injured than those who act without hesitation.
Decisive action begins with advance preparation so remember Run, Hide or Fight for survival!
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