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Public spaces are gradually beginning to open up again across the States. Unfortunately, this means the risk of active shooters is on the rise as well. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you survive if the worst happens.
See Something, Say Something
The best possible thing you can do for yourself and your peers is to alert everyone to suspicious activity as soon as possible. This way, you can all find somewhere to hide or leave the premises as soon as possible, before anyone has the chance to fire.
Experts suggest that you keep an eye out for the following abnormalities:
- Someone who is loitering in a restricted area or somewhere they’re unauthorized to be
- Individuals who are not wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE), uniforms, or identification (ID) for where they area
- Someone who wanders around as if they are lost
- Someone who asks excessive or “prying” questions about a facility’s security measures, equipment, employees, or protocols
- Individuals who threaten or intimidate others or behave irrationally
- A person who is taking photos or recording videos without permission
- Someone who is posing as a professional but does not know correct meeting locations or protocols
- Abandoned vehicles in strange locations, especially overloaded vehicles
Run and Hide
Once the firing commences, you will need to move as quickly as possible to get yourself to safety. Remember to keep a calm head and be decisive in your actions. Your top priority is to create as much distance as possible between you and the shooter, then find a secure place to shelter in place.
As hectic as this may sound, running and hiding is a crucial part of an active shooter response protocol. Before such a situation occurs, you should have already gotten familiar with the institution’s safety plan and optimal exit points. Apply that information by recalling which locations within the facility are suitable for hiding or leaving at a moment’s notice.
Once you’re in a safe location, heed the following tips as you’re able:
- Call 911 and describe the shooter, their weapons, and the site under attack.
- If you are hiding, text the police instead or put a sign up in a window asking for help.
- Silence or power off all electronics and remain silent.
- Hide alone. Never hide in groups, as too many people may draw attention to your location and make you all an easy target.
Fight, If Necessary
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your hiding spot will keep you in the clear. If all else fails and the shooter spots you, your best chance at surviving is to fight for your life.
You cannot afford to hesitate while defending yourself. You must fully commit to your self-protection and act as aggressively as possible to keep yourself alive. Above, you learned not to hide in groups. Still, you want to keep others nearby, in case you all have to ambush the shooter if one of you is spotted.
If it appears that they’ve caught onto one person’s location, you must all act together and use whatever weapons you have at your disposal. Fire extinguishers, chairs, and scissors are all useful for either disarming or drawing them away from a single victim.
Finding yourself in a situation where an active shooter is threatening your institution is terrifying and overwhelming. With these tips, you can ensure that you and your peers make it out alive.