Since 2018 began, there has been over 150 mass shootings that have taken place in the United States, the most recent being the shooting that took place at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. As of today, Americans are more likely to die from a gun violence related incident than any other leading cause of death. Whether you support gun control or not, we must recognize that gun violence has unfortunately become a very real threat to Americans, and the only way to stay safe is to have training and to be prepared.
While there is not a single method that should be used to respond to an active shooter, prior planning will allow you and the people your with, (students, staff, employees, etc.) to choose the best option to handle the situation. Be sure to always pay attention to your surroundings, and do not be afraid to speak up if you see something out of the ordinary.
- Have an evacuation and backup evacuation plan in place
- Provide information and resources of local emergency response agencies to students/employees
- Have trauma kits and first aid kits stored in multiple places
- Put an emergency notification system in place
- Designate safe areas
- Distribute floor plans and make sure all employees/students know where all exits are
No business, school, organization, etc. is immune from gun violence. Active shooter incidents are almost always unpredictable situations that can quickly erupt into chaos. In most mass shootings, there is usually no rhyme or reason to the selection of victims. Having any sort of training could help to save your life. The Department of National Security has laid out three main steps to take when an active shooter is in your vicinity.
Take Action (Run)
- Have an escape route and a backup escape route planned out, and use them if possible
- Leave all belongings behind
- Call 911 and alert authorities when you reach a safe location
- Listen to and follow all directions that are provided by police officers/firemen/first responders
- Take mental notes of the situation to report to First Responders
Hide (If Evacuation Is Not Possible)
- Find a hiding spot that is not in the shooters view
- Lock and blockade doors if possible
- Silence your cellphone immediately
Fight (Last Resort)
- Act aggressively and throw items at the shooter
- Improvise weapons
- Act quickly, hesitation could get you killed
- Call 911 if and when it is safe to do so
When time is of the essence in a survival situation, it is vital to have the right equipment and supplies. While they may not serve a purpose for everyday use, having first responder and trauma kits at the ready could mean the difference between life and death. Being prepared with resources and knowledge can increase your chances of survival. Awareness, preparedness and preparation are your best defense against an unpredictable active shooter situation.