Active Shooter Situation: Run. Hide. Fight.®
Sometimes, you can do everything right, and the worst possible scenario still happens. If you are hosting an event and an active shooter situation occurs, this is the guidance from the Department of Homeland Security: Run. Hide. Fight.®
During an active shooter situation:
Run! Get out of the area where the shooting is occurring as quickly as you can. Don’t worry about your belongings; leave them behind. Don’t try to be a hero, and don’t look for the shooter. If you can help people escape along the way, do so, but get out of the area whether or not others are following you.
Once you have escaped, call emergency services to let them know as much as you can about the situation, including describing the shooter, where the shooter is on church property, and the weapons the shooter has/is using.
Tell others in the area what is going on in order to prevent them from entering the area where the shooter is.
Hide! If you cannot escape, then hide. Stay in an area where the shooter cannot see you, and where you are covered if shots are fired in your direction, and remain quiet. This includes silencing your phone (including vibrate) and any other devices you may have with you. But, keep your phone on, so that you can communicate with law enforcement silently, if possible, either through text messaging or social media.
If you are in a different room than the shooter, blockade the doors and lock them, close window coverings, and turn the lights off. Though you may want to be near others at this harrowing time, it’s better to hide separately because that makes it more difficult for the shooter.
Do not leave your hiding spot until law enforcement has told you that you may do so.
Fight! This option should be your last resort. The Department of Homeland Security says to “[c]ommit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.” Use whatever is on hand as weapons that you can throw to “distract and disarm the shooter.” Examples include chairs and fire extinguishers. If you must fight, “[b]e prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the shooter.”
After an active shooter event
There can be a lot of confusion directly after the event, and armed law enforcement may do things like push people to the ground or use tear gas to keep people safe. It is also possible that they will not know exactly who or where the shooter is, initially.
Do what you can to keep confusion to a minimum by keeping your hands visible and empty, and taking care of yourself. Follow instructions and stay calm. Don’t make sudden motions or approach officers; just do what they say to do.
Once the situation is under control, and you know that you are safe and uninjured, you may help others. If no medical emergency services are on hand, and you know First Aid and CPR, use your skills. It’s also recommended that wounded people be put on their sides and kept warm, if they are unconscious.
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