Trying to Survive An Active Shooter

The church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas is the latest instance of an “active shooter” taking innocent lives. Our condolences to all in that small town.

The number of active shooter instances is increasing—from 1 incident in 2000 to 20 in 2015. While the numbers have risen, your chances of being “in the wrong place at the wrong time” are still extremely low. Sadly, once the shooter began his rampage, nothing could have stopped the carnage in Texas.

As we think about what we would do if faced with an active shooter, being prepared for the unthinkable can sometimes make the difference between life and death.

Run. A person with a gun who is intent on shooting as many people as possible chooses victims that are easy targets. If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, keep your head down, try to conceal yourself and exit the area. A shooter will often come in through a main entrance. Look for other exit doors to escape. If you’re able to leave the shooting area, immediately alert others of the danger and call 911.

Hide. Sometimes, running to a storage room, empty classroom or bathroom is the only option. Once inside, lock and barricade the door, turn off the lights, silence your cell phone and move away from the door. Use anything you can to create another layer of protection around you—tables, chairs, shelving—anything that could stop or slow a bullet. Do your best to remain quiet.

Attack. If you are in an exposed area with nowhere to hide, attacking the shooter with improvised weapons is a last resort. Use anything to distract, confuse and disable the shooter.

Most active shooting incidents are over within minutes. When police arrive and it is safe, show your hands and follow instructions.

It is terribly heartbreaking that we have to discuss how to survive an active shooter, but since these deadly shootings are occurring more frequently, we have to prepare ourselves.