3 Ways to Respond to Active Shooter Situations

Author: Manny OG

An Active Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims (Department of Homeland Security). Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims.

Over the past few years, the number of active shooter situations have increased immensely. People walk, shop, pray and commute in fear, fear of somebody walking into the vicinity with a firearm and opening fire on random people. The thought of losing oneself or loved ones in incidents like that can be devastating, and this has left many families incomplete and scarred for life. If you do find yourself in such a situation, once you hear a gun shot sound and can be able to tell which direction it’s coming from, leave whatever it is you are doing grab any family member with you and follow these 3 ways;


Evacuate If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to: • Have an escape route and plan in mind

• Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow

• Leave your belongings behind• Help others escape, if possible

• Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be• Keep your hands visible

• Follow the instructions of any police officers

• Do not attempt to move wounded people

• Call the police when you are safe



Hide out If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Your hiding place should:

• Be out of the active shooter’s view

• Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door)

• Not trap you or restrict your options for movementTo prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

• Lock the door

• Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

• Lock the door

• Silence your cell phone and/or pager

• Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)

• Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desks)

• Remain quietIf evacuation and hiding out are not possible:

• Remain calm

• Dial the police, if possible, to alert them to the active shooter’s location

• If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.



Take action against the active shooter As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

• Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her

• Throwing items and improvising weapons

• Yelling

• Committing to your actions


What to Do When Police Arrives

Law enforcement’s purpose is to stop the active shooter as soon as possible. Officers will proceed directly to the area in which the last shots were heard.

• Officers usually arrive in teams of four (4)

• Officers may wear regular patrol uniforms or external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment

• Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, handguns

• Officers may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation

• Officers may shout commands, and may push individuals to the ground for their safetyHow to react when law enforcement arrives:

• Remain calm, and follow officers’ instructions• Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)

• Immediately raise hands and spread fingers

• Keep hands visible at all times

• Avoid making quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety

• Avoid pointing, screaming and/or yelling

• Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating, just proceed in the direction from which officers are entering the premisesInformation to provide to law enforcement or 911 operator:

• Location of the active shooter

• Number of shooters, if more than one

• Physical description of shooter/s

• Number and type of weapons held by the shooter/s

• Number of potential victims at the location

The first officers to arrive at the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.Once you have reached a safe location or an assembly point, you will likely be held in that area by law enforcement until the situation is under control, and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Do not leave until law enforcement authorities have instructed you to do so.