No country experiences the amount of mass shootings that the United States does.
In 2022 so far there have been more than 300 mass shootings (defined as four or more people injured or killed), and we've only just celebrated July 4th.
Our current article is to provide information about what to do in an active shooter situation so that you can be mentally and physically ready.
Preparation for Active Shooter Situations
These are defensive steps you should follow in any situation, not just in preparation for an active shooter.
1. Self Defense Weapons and Products
- Purchase self defense weapons and products that are practical.
- Learn how to use your self defense weapons and get comfortable handling them.
- Carry or wear your self defense weapons with you every day.
2. Situational Awareness
- Be aware of your surroundings and environment.
3. Suspicious Individuals
- Take note of any individuals who may not act or look normal.
4. Exits and Entrances
- Identify the exits and entrances of all places and venues you enter.
Response to an Active Shooter Situation
The typical response for a normal citizen in an active shooter situation is to Run, Hide, Fight, in that order.
- Flee the scene and evacuate the area.
- Identify where the danger, gunshots, or noise is coming from, and move away from it.
- Move/run away from the dangerous scene as quickly and safely as possible.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Help others flee the scene.
- If others do not want to flee, do not stay with them.
- Once you reach law enforcement, put your hands in the air and notify them of any pertinent information.
- If running away is not possible, try to hide in a location that the shooter is less likely to find you.
- Try to find a hiding place that is not easily accessible, in view, or in the path of the shooter.
- Try to find a hiding place with thicker walls and a locked door.
- Close and lock all doors and barricade the door with heavy furniture.
- Turn off lights.
- Silence your phones.
- Turn off all electronics or sources of noise like televisions, speakers, etc.
- Hide behind items and arm yourself with self defense weapons or improvised weapons that are in the location like scissors, fire extinguishers, pens, etc.
- Dial 911 to alert the police to what's happening inside and the location of the shooter.
- If you cannot speak, leave the line open so the dispatcher can hear what's happening.
- Remain calm and ready.
- If you cannot run away, and hiding is not possible, and your life is in imminent danger from the active shooter, you must try to fight, disrupt, and incapacitate the active shooter.
- Act quickly towards the shooter.
- Act aggressively towards the shooter.
- Try to disarm him by targeting his weapon, or try to incapacitate him.
- Use your self defense weapons or improvised weapons in the environment including chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, etc.
- Throw items at the shooter.
- If you're engaged with the shooter, ask others to help.
- Yell, shout, and scream at the shooter while engaging him.
After An Active Shooter Situation
Wait for law enforcement to clear the scene and escort you out of the building so that you are sure there is no active threat.
Meeting Law Enforcement
- Keep your hands in the air and show them your empty hands and open palms.
- Follow officers instructions.
- Do not make any quick or aggressive moves towards law enforcement.
Alerting Law Enforcement
There may be times when you can provide valuable information to law enforcement if it is still an active shooter situation and you've simply been evacuated.
- Location of the active shooter.
- Number of active shooters.
- Physical description of active shooters.
- Weapons that the active shooters were armed with.
- Number of victims and locations of victims.
Active Shooter Situation Conclusion
The active shooter protocol listed above is recommended by many government and law enforcement agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I.
The general summary is:
- Be Prepared: Mentally, physically, and arm yourself with self defense weapons.
- Always Be Vigilant: Situational awareness can help you potentially identify a dangerous situation before it occurs.
- Run Away: If there is a mass shooter situation and you are out of the danger zone, flee the scene.
- Hide: If there is not enough time to run, hide in an inconspicuous, preferably closed area that is out of sight of the shooter.
- Fight: If there is no time to run or hide, fight like your life depends on it, because the active shooter will not show any mercy.
Here are some additional resources regarding active shooter protocol:
- Department of Homeland Security's How To Respond To An Active Shooter: https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_shooter_booklet.pdf
- Defender Ring's Guide to Situational Awareness: https://www.defenderring.com/blogs/news/situational-awareness-how-to-identify-and-predict-dangerous-situations
- F.B.I.'s Active Shooter Video and Resources: https://www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-resources
- Ready.Gov's Protocol for Active Shooter Situations: https://www.ready.gov/public-spaces