5 STEPS to Follow When Involved In an “Active Shooting”

I hope there is never a time when you have to follow any of these 5 Tips…but if you do I hope you remember them and can act on them instinctively. They could save your life or the lives of others.

When people talk about an “active shooting” it can take on a variety of definitions. My definition is simple…“when you are in a location where there is an immediate threat from someone with a firearm (weapon) and they are actively engaged in an attack.” It’s essentially when bullets are either flying or about to be flying around in an area where you could be threatened by this action.

If you are ever in this situation, there are some things I would recommend you do to help you survive. These are in order so the first one listed is the first action I would take and so on through the list. In the end is more aggression than in the beginning…it just happens this way in a difficult situation. Here is what I would recommend for you to consider…

  1. Assess the situation…try to stay as calm and level headed as possible and assess the situation you are in at the moment. Is the attack underway or about to be underway? Where are you located with respect to the attacker? What does the physical environment look like with regard to protection and escape? What are other people doing (not that they are the ones to follow but you should assess the crowd)? There are many other questions such as these but this gives you a start. The key is to do a quick assessment before you take action since this can help you start off with a much better plan/action than just what everyone else is doing.
  2. Look for an Escape Path…the first action I highly recommend is to escape. Avoiding confrontation is the first action you should consider. It’s not only the safest in most cases but it is also the least likely to get the action focused on you specifically by the attacker. If there is a clear path to exit that you believe you can take without notice or before the attacker can fire at you then take it and do it immediately. There is usually a lot of commotion in the initial stages of an attack…this can work in your favor. The attacker is usually confused because there are so many actions happening around them. Take advantage of this confusion and escape.
  3. Hide if you can’t escape…if the options aren’t there for you to escape, then the next best thing is to find an inconspicuous and safe place to hide. During your assessment, you will determine if it is possible to escape and if not then where can you safely hide. There may also be a combination of a partial escape to find a better hiding place. But the goal here is to identify somewhere you could hide out of site.
  4. Barricade…if you find a place to hide then you should also look for ways to barricade or protect your hiding place. Just going into another room isn’t going to do much if the attacker can easily get through the door. Look for objects to barricade your hiding place so that is very difficult, if not impossible, for the attacker to get through. One factor in your favor is that attackers usually go for the path of least resistance. If they believe they can get to someone else easier or that it will take too much effort and time to get to you then they will probably move on to either someone else or their own escape. Make their life as difficult as possible to get to you.
  5. Fight…this should be your last resort. When every other option has been tried or they aren’t possible, then standing your ground and fighting may be your only option for survival. If you are armed, then you have a much better option in this scenario. If there are no other options and the situation has escalated to be a life threatening situation for you or your loved ones, then engaging in the fight until help arrives may be your best/only option. The reason this is your last resort is that it carries with it not only increased danger because the attacker is not going to be focused on you but legal issues now come into play. That is a topic for another discussion but the game changes when you become engaged so this is why it should be your last course of action.

I hope you never have to use any of these 5 steps but if you do, I hope they will be in your mind and you can act accordingly and safely. I highly recommend you run through this scenario hundreds of times in your mind going forward. For example, when you go to the store or the mall or theater or anywhere in public run through these options of what would you do if something happened right now. Training your thinking when there isn’t any danger is a great way to build mind memory so when you might need it your mind has already been trained through these steps.

If you ever have any questions about this process, please give me a call or shoot me an e-mail. I would be happy to talk through any situation with you so you feel more comfortable and confident about this process and your choices. Because in the end, it’s critical in this situation to…Be Prepared. Be Smart. Be Safe.

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