In August, we were honored that over 5,000 Floridians participated in our FREE online webinars. The featured topic we covered this month was How to Survive an Active Shooter Encounter! For those unable to participate in one of these free webinars, we wanted to provide some basic strategies and advice should you ever find yourself in an active shooter situation.
Train, Train, Train!
Training and Planning save lives. First, let’s talk about training. In an active shooter encounter, your actions and the actions of your co-workers or classmates will greatly affect the likelihood of survival. You cannot do it alone. Talk to your office or business administrators about setting up training sessions for the staff. Speak with school administration about providing training to the staff and students at your school. This is a subject that most do not like to talk about, and there may be some resistance, but be insistent. Your life and the lives of those around you may depend on it. Get as much training as you believe your life and the lives of your loved ones is worth!
By all means, share our newsletter with your friends and family and Invite others to attend our webinars. They are absolutely FREE! Yes, our sponsors will spend about 10 minutes speaking to attendees about their organizations, but there is never an obligation to “buy” anything or “join” anything.
Planning is Key!
Planning is also crucial to survival. Whether you are at work, home, in a restaurant, the mall, a movie theater or any where else, constantly playing the “what-if” game can save your life and the lives of your loved ones. In each new surrounding, think to yourself, what-if a gunman opened fire. Look around in each location you enter. Know where the exits are, not just the closest exit, but all exits because the closest one may be blocked by the attacker or attackers. Consider all possible options for escape? Are there windows you could break to create a new way out? If so, what is available near you to break the window? This mental preparation is also key to your survival.
Run! Hide! Fight!
There are many “three-word strategies” used to describe what your plan should be if you find yourself in an active shooter encounter: “Run, Hide, Fight”, “Avoid, Deny, Defend”, and “Alert, Lockdown, Engage” are three examples of these strategies. Ultimately, no matter which of the three-word strategies you prefer, they are all teaching the same thing. Your first and best option is to run away and escape the situation if possible. If it is not possible, hiding is the next best option. Fighting is the last resort. We will explore each of these further below.
Run – If it is safe to do so, get out. Even if you are an armed concealed weapon license holder, the law does not impose a duty on you to save other people. You are not required to go looking for the bad guy and engage. The best chance of survival you have is to get away from the situation. This does not mean just getting out of the building where the shooting is occurring. Get away. Far away from the shooting. Once it is safe, call the police and let them respond and resolve the matter. Do not return to the scene to find out what happened. If you hear the shots, but cannot see the shooter, run away from the sounds of gunfire. If you can see the shooter but are at a distance, evacuate quickly away from the threat while trying to conceal yourself.
Hide – If you are so close that movement will expose you to direct threat; seek cover and prepare to act if you must. There are important things to consider when hiding. First, you must know the difference between cover and concealment. Concealment is just that. An object that will conceal the fact that you are there. Concealment provides little if any actual protection against a bullet. An example of concealment is hiding under a desk. A bullet that is shot in the direction of the desk will almost certainly go through the thin wooden facia concealing the persons legs sitting behind the desk, but it does a great job of concealing your location from a passerby. Cover not only conceals but provides greater levels of protection. An example of cover would be a concrete pillar or steel beam supporting a heavy structure or the upper level of a multi-story building. When considering your hiding spot, you should also give thought to not only a location that will provide cover, but one that you can react from. If you are discovered curled up under a desk, you have virtually no opportunity to defend yourself. However, if discovered standing behind a steel support beam ready to strike, you may be able to gain the upper hand against the assailant.
Fight – If you are face to face with the bad guy, whether they have come into the room in which you have sought shelter or simply begun firing in a place that you were located, it is time to attack. Remember this is a fight for your life. The active shooter has already shown a disregard for life and has the goal of taking as many lives as possible. This is not the time for a fair fight. ABSOLUTE OVERWHELMING VICIOUS BRUTAL FURY is what you should unleash. No half measures. Smash, bite, spit, choke, aim for the throat, the groin, the head, or face. Use anything you can find in the environment, chairs, blunt or heavy objects, sharp objects such as scissors anything that can give you an advantage. If you are in a room with multiple people, quietly organize everyone so everyone is ready to attack the moment the shooter comes through the door. It is likely that people will get hurt, but if everyone just stands there it is likely that everyone will be killed.
Attend one of our FREE webinars!
Our webinars go into much greater detail on the strategies you can use to survive an active shooter encounter. We also discuss with you the laws that will act to protect you if you must defend yourself, or others and those laws that protect good samaritans rendering aid at the scene of an emergency such as an active shooter situation. Finally, we discuss proper interactions with the police after a shooting event. No advice can be guaranteed to save a life, but the strategies we teach are accepted throughout the law enforcement community as those which give the best odds of survival. To learn more, please attend one of our upcoming Surviving an Active Shooter Webinars.
Please contact us if you would like to schedule an event for your organization or business or would like to join us in presenting these life saving webinars.
Finally, thank you to our partners in these events, which have included all of the following organizations:
DISCLAIMER: This article is NOT intended to be legal advice. Consult with a highly qualified Florida firearm attorney who can provide advice based on your circumstances. Any law cited on the website of Katz & Phillips, P.A. – The Firearm Firm is Florida Law unless otherwise stated. Please check with an attorney licensed in your state if outside of Florida.