Nobody wants to think that they, or anyone that they know, will ever be on the receiving end of an active shooter but it pays to be prepared.
If you’re not prepared then you won’t be able to remain calm throughout the whole incident which is very important. The chances of this ever happening to you is thankfully very slim but if it does happen, you want to have a plan in mind.
Read on as we share what we believe to be some of the best tips for surviving an active shooter situation.
- 1 Where Are Your Exits?
- 2 Get Down and Take Cover
- 3 Keep Your Arms to Your Side
- 4 Keep Out of the Shooter’s Direct Line of Sight
- 5 When You Have to Engage, Do it When he Reloads
- 6 Go in Fast and Go in Strong
- 7 Build a Stack Team
- 8 Arm Yourself with Anything at Hand
- 9 Distraction is Key
- 10 Be Careful with the Gun
- 11 Playing Dead
- 12 Have a Plan for Your Workplace and Practice it
Where Are Your Exits?
Whenever you enter a building, whether it is a store, restaurant, cinema, or even a library, do a quick scan and take a mental note of where the exits are located.
Get Down and Take Cover
You need to find some form of cover but keep your head about you. When the shooting starts there is going to be a lot of confusion, screaming and people running around. The people doing these things are not going to realise how much their actions are making them a target. Take cover behind anything that you feel will protect you from a bullet.
Keep Your Arms to Your Side
If a bullet hits you in the arm, it is less likely that the bullet will lead to a fatal injury. It would be a very different story if the bullet hits you in the chest from the side. If you are trying to help someone get away from the shooter, keep their head low and position their body away from the shooter. If you can, try to keep from moving until the shooter is reloading his weapon.
Keep Out of the Shooter’s Direct Line of Sight
A good way that I read about was to imagine that the shooter is the center of a clock. It would be better to be at the shooter’s 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock position. This is because the shooter would have to change his position which will reduce his accuracy of shot.
When You Have to Engage, Do it When he Reloads
Sometimes you will have no choice but to engage the shooter. When doing so, charge at them from behind or from the sides and do so as he reloads. Grab the gun, holding it as tight as you possibly can and pull it towards your chest. Once you engage and have a hold then others will join in and help.
Depending on the weapon and shooting experience of the shooter, you should have anywhere between four and seven seconds to engage during reloading. Most of these shooters are not tactically trained and will take longer to reload or they may even drop magazines or their weapon when doing so.
Go in Fast and Go in Strong
The average person can easily cover an area of about 30 feet before an inexperienced shooter can reload his weapon. This gives enough time to engage the shooter if it is needed. To be fair, it IS needed when lives, including your own are at risk. You could probably cover a distance of more than 30 feet very easily but I am using the example of this distance due to the kinds of places that these types of shooter incidents happen.
Build a Stack Team
If you do choose to engage the shooter then you should have a group that will each be given a task to do. This group is known as a stack team. Even law enforcement and military use these kinds of methods when entering buildings. You wouldn’t have a lone policeman enter a building to perform a search or act on a high-risk warrant by themselves.
If you can get two other people to be part of the team, you could attack the weapon while the other two people attack the shooter.
Arm Yourself with Anything at Hand
Even those that are legally allowed to carry a weapon may be prevented from doing so in certain buildings. The good news is that even in those buildings there are everyday items laying around that can be used as a weapon. This could be as simple as a fire extinguisher or even a trolley.
Distraction is Key
You need to distract the shooter so that the stack teams can get to work making their attack. This can be anything from throwing a cup to a wall opposite the stack teams location. As the shooter turns to see what it was, the stack team can make their move.
Be Careful with the Gun
Once a shooter has been disarmed, you need to keep the gun out of reach of the shooter. If anyone knows what they are doing, they should unload and disable the weapon. Whatever you do, never try to walk out of the door with the gun in your hand. The police will not know who the shooter is yet so don’t give them a reason to believe that it’s you.
If you become wounded or have no way to escape the building, your best bet is to lie face down on the ground and play dead. Try to control your breathing so as not to give the shooter a reason to believe that you are alive. This method should only really be used as a very last resort.
Have a Plan for Your Workplace and Practice it
Every workplace, school, church, etc, needs to have a plan in place for how to act during an active shooter incident and it must be practiced on a regular basis. By doing this you can cut out the confusion and you won’t have people just running around because they will all know the safest way to act.
Not everyone has it in them to engage with a shooter and that is OK. What’s important is that you do what you need to do to keep yourself safe. Your primary goal in this kind of situation is to stay alive and get to safety. Choosing to exit a building for safety rather than engaging a shooter does not make you a coward. You can still do your part to help everyone that is still inside by calling law enforcement and giving as much information as possible about the shooter and the weapon they are using.