How to survive an active shooter incident

Learn how to respond to an active shooter incident.

Active Shooter (what to do)
Ten ways to survive an active shooter scenario

An active shooter situation is all over in about 10-15 minutes. Spend time now to
plan what you might do in such an unfortunate event.

Avoiding high risk environments is paramount to your survival, but
it's not practical to live in fear and to avoid society to avoid an
active shooter. Instead, arm yourself with the facts -- both about
shooters and law enforcement who arrive on the scene, so you
know what to do in the event you become in close range of an
active shooter incident. Learn how to respond to an active
shooter incident.

  • Want Navy SEAL insight on how to respond to an active
    shooter? Get your free guide SEAL Survival Guide, Active
    Shooter and Survival Medicine by Cade Courtley, right.

How to Respond to an Active Shooter

The FBI says you have three actions to survive an active
shooter incident:
  1. Run - drop your belongings and escape by any means -
    including fire exits, employee only areas, such as the
    commercial kitchens to avoid being a sitting duck. It's your
    first course of action.
  2. Hide - if evacuation isn't possible, hide! Keep out of site,
    stay quiet, lock and barricade doors with heavy furniture,
    turn off cell phones, radios, TV, turn off lights to evade
    detection, stay away from the doors and out of view of
    windows, and hang on knowing that most situations are over
    in around 12 minutes.
  3. Fight - as a last resort, fight with every Band with others to
    act as aggressively as possible, take the shooter(s) down
    with improvised weapons and a surprise attack if you are
    forced to confrontation

Here's more about how to survive an active shooter...



















The video clip above gives an introduction on what to do to avoid
an active shooter scenario at work. Keep reading to learn more...

Ten ways to survive an active shooter
scenario

#1: Knowledge. Understand the threats, to minimize
your risk.
As they say, knowledge is power.  When you  now the threats,
you'll know better how to avoid them (or at least help mitigate
the risks)  Here are some ideas that will give you a decisive
advantage in avoiding a potential threat:


  • Know where shooters aim. Did you know that active
    shooters aim towards the center of the room? It's better to
    sit at the edge of a café, rather than in the middle. The
    same is true of a theatre -- don't get the best seats in the
    middle. Avoid sitting in the middle of any situation. Having
    this bit of knowledge about an active shooter scenario could
    save your life. When you are at the edge of a the building
    and not the middle, you are also closer to the exits and
    employee entrances, which can lead to exits.

  • Understand that shooters pick victims randomly. Did you
    know shooters in public places often pick victims at random?
    There is no pattern or method to their shooting, shooters are
    indiscriminate. This is why you need to think about where
    shooters aim and to know your escape routes. Your quick
    thinking in making yourself invisible is of key importance.

  • Recognize that shooters are obsessive and highly
    organized killers. Did you know mass shooters want revenge
    over an uncaring world.? They are not enraged, but rather
    cold and calculating in making this obsessive act of control.
    They have a long history of fascination with weaponry and
    warfare and will prepare for their event sometimes by
    wearing dark clothes and having military style bags with
    them. What can you do with this knowledge? The F.B.I. says
    "If you see something, say something."

  • Take advantage of your prepper power. Did you know,
    typically the shooters are not good marksmen and are acting
    from a personality disorder and from a position of suicide
    terrorism? Since generally, they are not good shots, this may
    give you an edge as a prepper, particularly if you have
    combative skills training to disarm them.

#2: Awareness. Be aware of your surroundings and
have a plan.
Situational awareness is a complex set of skills involving
scanning for and detecting danger before it happens.  An
excellent resource is the Ultimate Situational Survival Guide, Self
Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World by Robert Richardson
of
offgridsurvival.com.

This ultimate preppers resource provides real world advice on how
to survive a society filled terrorism and other manmade disasters
to pandemics and natural catastrophes. Essential tactics and step-
by-step instructions for surviving urban disasters, crime, violence
and terrorist attacks, readers will learn the self-reliance
strategies they need to survive in just about any situation.

  • Make a plan. Information about your surroundings will help
    you quickly determine whether the best course of action is to:
  1. Evacuate: If there is an accessible escape route, you
    can attempt to evacuate.
  2. Hide: If there is no opportunity to evacuate, your next
    course of action is to find a place to hide where the
    shooter is less likely to find you. Be sure the hiding
    place does not trap or restrict you or you will be a
    sitting duck.

The movie clip, Bourne Identity, provides an excellent example of
situational awareness. Are you catching the sitelines and looking
for the exits as you enter a buidling? Perhaps you should take
note:


















So what is situational awareness? While you can sum it up as
an overall awareness of your surroundings as a precursor to what
may happen, there is so much more to the topic of situational
awareness. The following is a start to get you thinking:

  • Recognize potential workplace violence indicators. Your
    awareness is imperative to survival. First, know your co-
    workers and their temperaments.  A colleague may express
    many warnings before the event. Here is a full list of warning
    signs of a troubled person in the workplace. Discuss your
    safety concerns with your boss and/or the Human Resources
    department.

  • Quickly assess each individual in which you come into
    contact in public.
    Only when you quickly ascertain that something is amiss, (e.
    g., you hear gun shots or notice unusual activity, such as
    shouting), can you prepare a course of action, including
    escape, evasion or trained combative assault on the shooter.
    Until that juncture, you can take note in the moments before
    an incident by being aware:
  1. Does the person move confidently?
  2. Is she left-handed?
  3. Is the couple in question in love or is the pair awkward
    together?
  4. What kind of shoes is the person wearing? Start from
    the bottom up to identify the suspect.

  • Beyond being aware, do you see anything unusual?
  1. Is there an unlocked bicycle, bag or backpack out of
    place?
  2. Is there an unmarked van?
  3. Is someone purposely distracting?
    If so, danger may be lurking close at hand.

Test your situational awareness now:

















Does the video above make you think? Are you surprised in
yourself? Distraction is a key factor in a highly organized act of
terrorism.

#3: Escape. Know your evacuation route, before
anything happens.
Always identify potential escape routes, particularly when visiting
a building. Part of situational analysis is figuring out an escape
route before anything unusual happens. It takes only a few
seconds to make mental note of all the exits in a room you enter,
and it's important to know your evacuation plan ahead of time,
because if you can get out, do so as your first course of action.
The FBI says:
always try to escape and evacuate even when
others insist on staying!" And, "Encourage others to come, but
don't allow them to slow you down with indecision."

  • Know the difference between cover and concealment:
  1. Cover: Cover will provide a measure of protection from
    gunfire
  2. Concealment: Concealment will hide you from the view
    of the shooter. You must quickly choose the best option.

As you leave the danger zone, law enforcement will be in a
heightened state of awareness and securing the area. For your
safety follow their instructions and help others to do so. Their job
is not to console you, nor is it to aid victims. Their initial job is to
end the conflict. Your cooperation is imperative for resolution to
the scene at hand.

  • Sit by the exits. If you've prepared well, knowing that
    shooters typically aim for the center of a building, then you
    are positioned well for an escape at the exits.

  • Use employee entrances. If you are in a large cafeteria,
    you could head to the kitchen using the employee entrance
    as your escape route.

  • When evacuating be sure to:
  • Leave your stuff behind. Your purse isn't worth your life.
  • Keep your hands visible. If police are on the scene you may
    be considered a suspect and not a victim. If your hand are
    visible and non-threatening, you are in a better position to
    establish yourself.

  • Keep your hands visible as you make your escape! Law
    enforcement typically won't arrive until after the shooting is
    over, which is roughly 10-15 minutes. As you escape the
    scenario, leave your bags and jackets behind with hands
    visible, so that it's clear to law enforcement that you are not
    holding anything which could be a threat. Typically officers
    will arrive in groups of four and you must know that their job
    is not to co

  • Know that police on the scene have the first obligation to
    secure the premises. Their first job is not to help victims,
    nor to comfort you. Keep at a distance so they can do their
    job.

  • Run in a zig-zag pattern. As shooters typically are not good
    marksmen, you can help evade shots by running in a zig zag!

#4: Hide. Make yourself invisible.
When something bad goes down,  and evacuation is not possible
your job is to be invisible. It's possible that the attacker is busy
with other people.

  • Improvise weapons. Not only would you find a back door
    escape, but along the way you might have some hot oil,
    knives, fire extinguishers or other improvised weapons, which
    could be a way to knock down the shooter.

#5: React: Plan for decisive action.
Decisive action is the right action at the right time. Hesitation is
the wrong action at the wrong time. Most of the people who don't
survive an active shooter incident, are the ones who don't react
quickly. Yes, hesitation kills.

Did you know that 45% of active shooter incidents are over before
the police arrive, according to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. That means how you react is of utmost importance.

Don't just sit there and do exactly what the shooter says. Begin
talking with the individual. This may allow for timing.

#6: Have a PreFense Strategy.
"While it's not possible to stop an active shooter from being an
active shooter, it is possible to lower the number of casualties,"
so says
Steve Tarani author of PreFense - The 90% Advantage,
pictured left.  PreFense is a holistic approach to your personal
security and preventing bad things from happening to good
people. It gets a 100% five-star review, and would be a
noteworthy reference guide for the advanced prepper.

#7: Get combative skills training.
Even the most well prepared prepper who is licensed for conceal
and carry may find him or herself in a situation without a weapon
for defense. What then?Your self defense is always your
responsibility! Have some combative skills training under your
belt. It's not enough to have theory, but to actively train. Enough
said.

#8: Have the will to survive.
Finally, always have hope and the will to live, no matter what
arises. Simply believe that you will survive and keep focused on
the will.

#9: Be creative!
Know that anything is possible in your survival -- even having
empathy! While the protocol is first to avoid the situation
entirely, and subsequently to hide or fight, you may be able in a
last resort to survive.

If you are in close range of the attacking individual and danger is
imminent, you may be able to start a dialog of empathy. If so,
share your name! It's much more difficult psychologically for a
shooter to kill someone named Meribeth than it is to kill a woman
to whom is just a random target. Before you shared your name,
you were just a victim. Now you've established a rapport which
may save your life.

For example,
"Hey, hey! I want to help you. My name is Meribeth and I know
you must be hurting inside." This would be totally unexpected
from an individual who is expecting the whole world to be against
him or her.

In a word: empathy! Look at the person in the eye that you are
about to sit next to on a bench, and make friendly before
anything goes down. If the person is wearing all black


#10: Get an active Shooter Casualty Response kit.
After everything is said and done, it's time to help the others
survive. An active shooter event requires fast deployment of key
medical supplies. The active shooter casualty response kit
pictured lower right, delivers the most critical "point of wounding"
supplies to first responders before the arrival of Fire Rescue or
EMS. Ideal preparedness for a total apocalypse, this kit is a fine
addition to the medical supplies of an advanced prepper,
particularly one responsible for the safety and security of a large
group.

You can survive when you remember to:
  1. Avoid the shooter either by running or hiding.
  2. Deny the attacker access to your location.
  3. Defend yourself if discovered.

More information on how to survive an active shooter
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department created a video to
help answer the question "What would you do?" in the event of a
sudden attack by a gunman while at work, at school, or in public.
It's a quick lesson in how to avoid an active shooter:


















Finally, be aware of what to do if and when law enforcement
arrives:
  1. Drop bags or coats prior to exiting.
  2. Raise hands, and spread fingers to keep hands visible
    at all times.  
  3. Avoid makng sudden movements, pointing, yelling or
    screaming.
  4. Do not ask questions while evacuating or approach law
    enforcement.
  5. Listen for and follow all instructions.
  6. Know that law enforcement may push you down for
    safety

And that's how to survive an active shooter scenario!

Happy endings...
The only happy ending to an active shooting situation is to make
it out alive with your family, your friends, and your coworkers.

The best way to avoid an active shooter is two-fold: it's
avoidance and awareness. Always maintain a situational
awareness and avoid certain scenarios. For example, when you
avoid such simple things as the center of a dining establishment
or avoiding the center of a theatre, and instead head to the
corners you will place yourself in a better position should the
unthinkable happen.

Resources...

  • Video: Paul Howe Civilian Response to Active Shooters:
    Paul Howe in this video, reviews in detail what do in a
    civilian first responder situation. He reviews the best weapon
    platforms, medical supplies, exterior contact, room CQB,
    hallways, intersections & shooting through glass. Video,
    pictured at the top left of page,

Related articles...




















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