Recently, we have seen an ongoing plethora of Active Shooter incidents in our country. These events have occurred locally, nationally and internationally in diverse settings resulting in mass fatalities. The recent church shootings in Texas and the massive shootings in Las Vegas has devastated families, friends and loved ones throughout our community. It is important that we are aware of the similarities of the perpetrators of these violent acts.
Often go to locations where potential victims are close at hand, such as schools, shopping malls and workplaces. They are usually very familiar with the location;
Assault people with whom they come in contact – quickly wounding multiple targets;
May have a plan of attack and may be prepared for confrontation with law enforcement;
Typically continue their attack despite the arrival of emergency responders;
May be suicidal, having decided to die in the course of their actions. Escape is usually not a priority.
Wherever the location, everyone should know how to respond when encountering an active shooter incident. Below are a few suggestions for consideration:
Run – If there is an accessible escape path, try to evacuate the premises.
Hide – If evacuation is impossible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. The safest place for you to be is insider a secure room.
Fight – As a last resort, and only if your life in in imminent danger, try to disrupt or incapacitate the active shooter by: Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her; throwing items and improvising weapons (scissors, fire extinguisher); and yelling.
Together, we can prevent active shooter incidents by supporting a respectful environment and being aware of signs of potential violence and taking corrective actions.
Source: Department of Homeland Security preparedness material, Active Shooter: How to Respond. Quick Series Publishing.