For decades we have been taught to do one thing if we were ever found ourselves in the same building as an active shooting…duck and cover! Yes, this is likely a product of the 50’s when we were told to “duck and cover” in case of a nuclear war. It was an ineffective strategy then and it’s likely an ineffective strategy during an active shooter incident. “Hitting the deck” so to speak makes you a sitting duck and does nothing to mitigate your situation. In fact, curling up into the fetal position gives your mind the impression that you are now a helpless victim and takes away most of your natural fight or flight instincts that are very important in an active shooter scenario. I and other experts recommend the following as an alternate course of action:
- First…Run! – It seems almost comical to have to say, but if at all possible just leave during an active shooter incident. Often in these types of stressful situations our minds go into overload and we take actions that aren’t logical. That is why it’s important to state the obvious…just leave! When running from an active shooter, run in a slightly zig-zag motion and take cover as necessary to re-assess the situation and then run again until you reach safety. Try to run towards alternate exits if you know the building well, because the shooter will likely use the main entrance. When considering your flee from the building, don’t just consider hallways and stairwells. Breaking a window and exiting that way is sometimes a good option, especially on the first floor. However, falls from the second and even third floor of a building are very survivable if you fall correctly. Falling correctly involves jumping out of a window feet first and attempting to land on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent and your arms covering your head.
- Second…Lock Down! – If you cannot run or your instant judgment of the situation tells you it’s too risky to do so, grab a few people and lock yourselves into a room and barricade the door. Do not sit on the opposite side of the room as the door itself, rather to the left and right of the door. If possible, grab a few blunt or heavy objects that you could use as blunt force weapons assuming you don’t have a gun and stand in a readies position with all eyes on the door waiting to attack the shooter if he enters. Again, don’t curl up and accept your fate…rather, make strong eye contact to those with you and whisper determined, forceful messages to those with you, like “we can do this…if he comes in here we are going to mess him up!”
- Third…Fight! – This is a last resort option, but sometimes it’s the only option. Whether the killer makes his way into your locked down area or there is just no-where to run or hide, sometimes we must simply fight someone with a gun. The first and most important tip to fighting is DO NOT HESITATE. Actions leading up to disarming or disabling a killer must be very fast and must not give the attacker ANY time to react. Second, any attack strategy must avoid making sounds and movements that the attacker could potentially see or hear. A killers shooting generally is guided towards sounds and movements, so move as quietly as possible and out of his field of vision. Finally, focus your fight on disarming an attacker…either by neutralizing the weapon or neutralizing the attacker’s body and the best method combines them both. Overwhelming brute force is often the best way to achieve this.
These tips should in no way be considered a replacement for professional training, but it is my hope that they will start you thinking towards a plan for yourself if you ever find yourself in this horrible situation. Sign up for a class and follow some great videos online, such as those from Close Quarters Combat on YouTube.
The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.