Active Shooter killings are a tragic, unpredictable reality. And one that’s becoming more common.
Since 2006, the U.S. has averaged an active shooter event with 4 or more deaths every 2.9 months. Even though the number of Active Shooter events has been increasing, your odds of being involved in one are still very slim. But just like fire drills and earthquake preparedness, making a plan in advance can make all the difference. If you do find yourself in the middle of a senseless attack, the “why” doesn’t matter. What matters is surviving.
On average, 20 mass shootings take place in the U.S. every year.
Killers usually choose their victims at random. They look for easy targets. So the harder you are to see, or to hit, the safer you are. When an attack starts, if you can find a way out of the location, do so…Get out.
If you can stay calm and think clearly, even in the middle of a life-anddeath event, you improve your chances of making it out. Visualize your movements in advance.
Use cover — something that will stop a bullet — and concealment — something that at least keeps you out of sight.
Use any available means to get out, including emergency exits or windows. Most restaurants and retail locations will also have exits in the back, through kitchens or stock rooms.
Even in the best cases, police are minutes, not seconds, away. You must take action to protect yourself.
If you can help others without putting yourself in unnecessary danger, do so.
If you can’t move safely to an exit, get to a room or a confined area you can lock down. Then secure the location.
Secure your location.
Drywall won’t stop a bullet, but there are steps to take to stay safe. Lock or barricade the doors, turn off the lights, move away from any windows, and silence your cell phone.
A modern emergency bag can include a first aid kit, gloves, emergency plans for the building, and casualty cards to alert first responders to any wounded victims.
Most Active Shooter situations are over in 10-15 minutes.
Law enforcement’s first responsibility when entering an active shooter situation is to stop the suspect, not to render aid to the victims. Medical teams will enter the scene as soon as the suspect is no longer a threat or is confirmed in another location.
Silence any cell phones, and remain quiet. Do not alert the shooter to your presence.
If you cannot escape the location, and you can’t shelter in place, you may have to defend yourself as a last resort.
Almost anything can be turned into a improvised weapon. Look for something that can disrupt the shooter’s ability to see, breathe, or control their weapon.
When law enforcement arrives, they are going to be in a heightened state of readiness and awareness, looking for any aggressive movements. So keep your hands visible, and follow any commands you are given.
Especially in developing situations, engaging law enforcement — running toward them, reaching for them, even to thank them — could put people at risk.