The number of active shooter incidents—that is, when someone with a firearm is attempting to kill others in mass numbers—is on the rise. Knowing what to do before, during and after such an attack could save your life and the lives of others.
If you find yourself in an active shooter situation, you will likely have only seconds to make decisions that mean the difference between being a victim and a survivor. Take the time to understand what they are now so you’ll know what to do if the unthinkable happens.
When I interviewed a terrorism and security expert for the Conversations book How to Survive an Active Shooter: What You do Before, During and After an Attack Could Save Your Life, he said you have four basic tactics to choose from:
- Flee. If you can, escape the situation. Run. Get as far away as you can from the shooter.
- Defend. If fleeing isn’t possible or safe, defend yourself. Generally, this means hiding, putting barriers between yourself and the shooter and doing other things to stay safe as you look for opportunities to escape.
- Oppose. If you can’t flee or defend, oppose the shooter by doing things that will distract him so he will stop shooting. Throw things at him. Flash bright lights to temporarily blind him. Keep in mind that techniques to oppose a shooter may also make it possible for you to disable him.
- Defeat. With this tactic, your target is the weapon—you want to defeat the weapon so it can no longer be used to harm people. This is the most dangerous tactic and should be your last resort.
Learn more in How to Survive an Active Shooter: What You do Before, During and After an Attack Could Save Your Life.
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She the author of the novel Choices (A Joyful Cup Story) as well as the nonfiction books Words to Work By: 31 devotions for the workplace based on the Book of Proverbs and Finding Joy in the Morning: You can make it through the night. She is also the co-creator of several coloring books for adults.