You can barely get through a couple of weeks without seeing another horrifying news story. Terrorists are making a joke of our country, as shooters take to nightclubs, schools and more. After sitting through yet another piece of news coverage on the latest tragedy, it got me thinking.
What should you actually do, if you find yourself in a situation like this?
Active shooters are becoming increasingly common, which means there's a higher and higher chance that you may find yourself in such a situation.
But that's not the scariest part.
The FBI did a study a couple of years ago, which found that most shooters are done in under two minutes. If you're ever facing a crazy gunman, you're essentially on-your-own, because there's no way law enforcement is going to get to you in time.
That's why it makes sense to prepare, so you can react fast, and keep yourself safe.
Unfortunately, most people tend to freeze when confronted with an emergency. Like a deer in the headlights, it takes time for our brain to process what's actually happening. Plus, we like following the crowd, and if everyone is cowering in fear, as humans we tend to follow suit.
Again, probably not a good idea when there's a maniac with a gun running around.
Run like the dickens
If you hear gunshots or something that sounds like gunshots, you better be ready to react. Our first piece of advice is to run. Get yourself out of the immediate area as fast as possible.
But where do you run to?
One technique we recommend all of our students practice is called situational awareness, which if done right ensures you've always got a plan in mind should the worst occur. If you enter a room, make note of the exits or anything that could provide shelter, before a crisis occurs.
It seems a little morbid, but if you're in the habit of actively mapping out an escape route in every room your enter, should you ever need to evacuate, you won't waste precious seconds trying to figure out what to do. You've already got an idea of where you need to run. This speeds up your reaction time and can give you an edge, and that's all you need to survive.
Staying aware also means paying attention to the people around you. If something seems a little off, like a guy with a backpack forcing their way into a staff entrance of a hotel, keep an eye on them. The quicker you notice something is up, the faster you can react.
When confronted with a shooter, forget your belongings, simply focus on getting yourself and any others away from the danger, as fast as possible. Stop anyone from heading back the wrong way, and once you've reached safety, call 911 and follow the instructions of the officers.
Hunker down and hide
Of course, not every building has an escape route. Perhaps the shooter is in between you and an exit, and there's more danger trying to run than simply staying put.
In this case, you need to hide.
Find somewhere where you're not going to be seen, and there's adequate protection if shots are fired. Ducking into an office and locking the door is a good start, especially if you can put a heavy desk between you and the shooter as well.
If the door doesn't lock do whatever you can to block the shooter from entering, perhaps there's furniture or something you can jam into the door. Don't forget to turn off your phone, the lights, and anything that may attract the shooter to your hiding place.
Once you're secure, call 911 and let the dispatcher know what's happening. If you're not able to talk, simply stay quiet and they'll be able to hear what's going on and respond accordingly.
Fight for your life
This one is a last resort. If your life is in imminent danger, you've got to take swift and immediate action. Now of course, running or hiding is your best option, but if you've not got any other choice, your best bet is to go down fighting.
With this strategy there's always a chance you'll get shot, but that's a risk you've got to take. If you do nothing, history has shown most shooters will kill you anyway. You read that right. Even if you're a sobbing mess on the ground and begging for your life, a shooter intent on mass killing won't hesitate to kill you too.
I know if it were me, I'd much rather go down fighting. Who knows, many people actually survive multiple gunshot wounds, so you could still make it through.
When fighting back be as aggressive as possible, grabbing anything that you can to throw at the shooter to distract them. If there's a group of you attack all at once to overwhelm the shooter. If you can get close enough your first goal is to disarm them, using all of your strength to fight back. Often, even just fighting back is enough of a distraction, that you surprise the gunman enough to get close before they get a chance to shoot. There's many cases where ordinary people have become heroes and saved the day, by not giving up.
Now here's where having a self-defensive weapon can come in handy. Instead of fighting with your fists, get one of our knifecards, and you'll have a foldable pocket knife that you can have ready at a moment's notice. Often, I'm not able to carry my firearm and all times, and having something, anything, on me that I could use to defend myself and fight back, is definitely a good thing.
Once the police arrive
Now once the police turn up, you're not going to want to make any sudden movements. Put down anything that you may be holding, and keep your hands up, with your palms facing outwards.
Whatever you do, don't rush towards the police. They may mistake you for a threat and take action accordingly. Simply follow their instructions, and evacuate the area with all of the other people.
Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is a scary thought. We see shootings on the media all the time, but the good news is, at least statistically speaking, these events are quite rare. If you do however manage to get caught up in one, it's critical you form a plan and take action as fast as possible. The sooner you can react, the higher your chances of getting out alive.