Anyone who has watched the news recently has heard of an “act of mass violence.” Workplace shootings, school shootings, and other active shooter incidents are acts of mass violence. While there are many other ways to commit mass violence, the use of firearms is, by far, the more popular choice for assailants. An active shooter in an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, there is no patter or method to their selection of victims; however, some active shooters have carefully orchestrated their attack to maximize casualties and fatalities. Situations involving acts of mass violence are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Often lasting little over 15 minutes, law enforcement activity is commonly required to stop assailants. Before law enforcement arrives, individuals must be prepared mentally and physically to handle an active shooter incident.
In 2012, the City of Houston released a preparedness video aimed at preventing the loss of life from active shooter incidents. The video, Run, Hide, Fight, educated viewers on how to be best protected and survive an active shooter incident in the workplace. The lessons taught in the video are effective in any active shooter incident. The video can be viewed here : RUN, HIDE, FIGHT Video
RUN – Escape from the Attacker
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to escape the area.
- Have an escape route and plan in mind
- Escape regardless of whether others follow
- Leave your property behind
- Help others escape, if possible
- Prevent others from entering areas where the assailant may be
- Keep your hands visible so that you are not mistaken as the attacker
- Follow the instruction of law enforcement officials
- Call 911 when you are safe
If you cannot escape safety, you must find a place to hide where you are not likely to be found by the attacker.
- Be out of the active shooter’s view
- Hide behind objects that can provide protection from shot fired in your direction
- Never trap yourself in an area that restricts escape or movement
- If you are hiding in a room, lock the door and use heavy furniture to prevent forcible entry
- Silence your cell phone and other devices
- Turn off sources of noise, such as radios or televisions
- Stay quiet
If you are confronted by the attacker and cannot escape or hide, you must fight to survive. Fighting for survival is a final effort, but may be necessary when all else fails. Utilize any objects nearby as weapons and swing with force.