Active Shooter, sadly this term is now part of the lexicon of our century.
Would you know what to do in an active shooter crisis?
What if you were shopping at a mall, an active shooter situation occurs, would you know what to do?
Imagine going into a medical facility for an examination; suddenly an active shooter opens fire to settle a vendetta against that type of medical practice, what thoughts would race through your mind?
How about standing in line at your local post office, out of thin air a disgruntled employee goes “postal” and creates an active shooter nightmare, what would your instincts for survival tell you to do?
Are there any rules when an active shooter is in your school, mall, movie theater, mosque or any place a deranged mind could find unsuspecting targets for its criminality?
Thankfully, the Department of Homeland Security, the national Tactical Officers Association and other agencies have developed a protocol for surviving an active shooter encounter. These rules are broken down into three segments: What to do before law enforcement arrives, what to do after help is on the scene, and how to recognize signs of potential workplace violence.
According to the security experts, the first thing you should do is to allow the first law of nature, self -preservation, to take possession of your mind, then “quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life.” If you are visiting a location, identify employees and managers of this facility and follow their lead. Usually, companies have developed active shooter drills, similar to fire drills.Their staff will know where the exits are and where there are safe places to shelter in place.
Next, you must immediately decide three things: Whether you will run, hide or fight.
If you run, it will be helpful to have an escape route and plan in mind. You should leave your belongings behind. You can always get them later or simply donate them to the cause of survival. Also, make a conscience effort to keep your hands visible. This alerts others that you are not the gunman. They will be less likely to tackle you on your way out of the room.
Should you chose to hide as your method of survival, do it in an area out of the villain’s view. Be sure to block the entrance to all doors and lock them if they have locks.
Sometimes a good fight is the best method of survival in active shooter scenarios. Confronting the active shooter should be a last resort strategy after it has been determined that you can not run, you can not hide and your life is in imminent danger. When physically confronting an active shooter attempt to incapacitate them. Throw things at them, attempt to remove the gun from their hands. If possible deliver blows to the kneecap and scrotum of male attackers. Hopefully, this will divert the gunman’s attention long enough for others to join your assault on the assailant.
Only, I repeat, “Only” call 911 when it is safe to place a call! Also, apply this rule to calls made to love ones. It is exceedingly more important to survive an active shooter ordeal and live to tell your family and friends of your heroism; than to tip off your hiding location to the bad guys and end up on the evening news as a casualty of some lunatic’s war. Since most cellular phones can be quickly powered up for emergency use, I would suggest to preserve your location that you turn it off once you have found a safe haven and made your 911 call.
To BE Continued: Part Two will deal with how to respond when law enforcement arrives on the scene
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.