Responding During an Active Shooter Incident

 Responding During an Active Shooter Incident

Active shooter incidents usually evolve very quickly and are unpredictable. They often look for “soft targets” – ones in which the shooter will not encounter a lot of resistance. They are not interested in negotiations, hostages, or even care about their own survival. All they care about is being remembered for killing as many people as they can before law enforcement arrives on the scene.

Today we are going to take a look at three things:

  • How to respond during an incident.
  • When your child’s school becomes a target.
  • Components of an active shooter drill.

How to Respond During an Incident

Above all else, the most important thing that you can do during an active shooter incident is to remain calm and not panic. A clear head allows for clear thinking. When it comes to protecting yourself, you have three options:

  • Get Out – whenever possible, this is the best option. Identify your route quickly and keep your hands in sight at all times.
  • Hide – using anything available and block entry to your hiding place. Put your phone on silent, keep quiet and wait it out.
  • Fight – should only be used as a last resort. Use anything possible, move quick and try to incapacitate the shooter.

As soon as you possibly can, call 999 (911 if US), and do exactly as they tell you. When they arrive at the scene keep your hands up and in plain sight being sure not to make any sudden movements that could mean an officer mistaking you as the shooter. Leave the premises, the way that the officers entered.

When on the phone to the operator, you will be asked a series of questions that you must try to answer as accurately as possible. They will want to know how many shooters are present as well as the locations, descriptions, weapons used, and if there are any victims.

When your child’s school becomes a target

Most schools will never encounter an active shooter but it does happen so it is important that you understand how to react.

Make Sure Your Child Understands What an Active Shooter Is

It is important that you discuss with your children and make them aware of what an active shooter is. Teach them how to identify one and what to do should they see one at school. This may not be a nice thing to be having to discuss with your child but it is much better to be prepared.

Situational Awareness

Your child will have mere seconds to react should an active shooter enter their school. For younger children, you can help them develop their situational awareness by making a game out of it. Make it seem more like a fire drill so they won’t be scared. For instance, you can have them identify all the exits, doors, windows, etc. the next time you go to a store. Teach your child to develop mental maps everywhere they go so they know what to do whenever they are in a school shooting.

Run, Hide, Fight

Your child needs to understand when it is the right time to either run, hide, or fight. They need to know when to run and to never call attention to themselves. This takes children out of the situation faster than anything else, but only if the shooter doesn’t see them.

If it is impossible for your child to run to safety, they must know how to effectively hide from the shooter. Whenever possible, running or hiding is the better options but teaching your children self-defense is a must. There will be times when your kids have to fight back to survive. During these times, your child needs to know to stay calm, assess their options, and strike as quickly as possible to avoid any serious injuries.

Components of an active shooter drill

If you regularly tune in to any form of media you will know that active shooter incidents are on the rise. You can lessen the potential for panic and ensure the best possible outcome by regularly participating in active shooter drills. This can be broken down as follows:


When taking part in drills, you should be able to:

  • Recognize what gunfire sounds like
  • Take on a survival mindset
  • Identify escape routes
  • Respond quickly to “run, hide, or fight”
  • Know when and where 999 (911 if US) should be called
  • Know what to do when law enforcement arrives

These kinds of drills should be done on a regular basis and be as hands on as possible. Make the situation as real as you can so that all thoughts and emotions are just as they would be should a real incident occur.

Don’t wait until after a real incident takes place to start preparing, the time is now.

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