Active Shooter: 4 Life-Saving Survival Steps…

The following is a video transcript.

Active shooter situations are on the rise, and unfortunately, you never know when you might be caught in one. In the workplace, you’re particularly vulnerable because many companies prohibit the possession of firearms, even if you have a permit or a license to carry. Some companies have tighter building security, designated shelter-in-place locations, and active shooter training for their employees. But for the purpose of this video, we’re going to focus on what you, as the individual, can do during an active shooter incident in the workplace.

There are many three-word strategies out there that address what to do during an active shooter incident, like:

  • Run, hide, fight;
  • Move, escape, attack; and
  • Lockdown, evade, fight.

Fundamentally, they’re all saying the same thing. Get out of the building if you can, hide if you can’t get out safely, and fight if you have to. How this plays out during an active shooter event is completely circumstantial. Your use of situational awareness is critical in determining the proper course of action.

Number 1: Know your surroundings

First and foremost, you need to understand your surroundings and should already be familiar with where the exits are in the building. If your company has designated shelter-in-place areas, know where they are. Run may not be your first option, especially if your workplace only has one exit. If the shooter’s outside of that exit, you need to hide and lockdown in a room. You should not try to run unless there’s another safe way out. You should also consider your options for improvised exits, like a chair or table through a window.

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Number 2: Know your capabilities

Another key factor is knowing your physical and mental capabilities. Are you able to run up and down the stairwell if need be? When you hear the gunshots, can you mentally picture where the shooter may be in the building? For some people, running to an exit may not even be an option, so they need to find a safe place to hide. When it comes to hiding, many people think of hiding under their desk.

However, hiding under a desk and waiting it out is not a plan. Go to a room, barricade the door with whatever you can, and turn off the lights. If you’re in a room with others, don’t huddle up together. Spread out and try and arm every person with something that can be thrown, swung, or otherwise used as a weapon.

Number 3: Attack, Disorient and Watch for Opportunities

Most shooters are not expecting resistance, so if the shooter manages to get in the room, do everything you can to attack and disorient them. If the shooter’s distracted even for only a few seconds, that can buy enough time for you or others to attack and overwhelm them and end the whole thing. There are other opportunities to attack as well, like a jammed weapon, a magazine change, or the shooter focusing on other targets, which can be used to your advantage as well.

Again, this is all based on your mental and physical capabilities, as well as the particular circumstances when the shooting begins. Once the shooting starts, don’t hesitate. Quickly evaluate whether you can get to or create any exits that are not in the direction of the shooter. If you have to hide, have a plan on where you will go, how you will secure the room, and what may be available for use as a weapon.

Number 4: Fight

Finally, if you have to fight, fight like your life depends on it, and take advantage of the fact that the shooter probably won’t be expecting it. Your actions and the actions of those around you in the first 60 seconds can make the difference in your survival.

Stay tuned for future episodes where we will explore how to respond in active shooter situations in different locations, and how the presence of your firearm or your family alter how you respond.

Click here to get a free guide “Top 5 Things to Know: To Ensure Your Survival in an Active Shooter Incident.”

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Comment section

18 comments on “Active Shooter: 4 Life-Saving Survival Steps…

  1. Regarding “RUN” as an option. I was shot 2 times in 1983 by a criminal who had an illegally obtained firearm. If you must run, NEVER run in a straight line. Do a zig zag pattern and try as hard as possible to vary your direction, making it difficult for them to get a bead on you. Hiding in an open area is at best a difficult situation. If you have to try and hide, to so in a place that will conceal your whereabouts. Laying flat on the ground with your hands over your head is not going to stop a rifle round from penetrating your body, or your skull. IF you are close enough, and fighting is your only option, at the very least have some self defense skills taught to you to address active shooter scenarios, how to disarm them, up to and including how to terminate them; up close and personal against someone with a gun to your head or your torso, how to gouge out an eyeball or strike and hit the esophageal area to stop their breathing ability, smashing in their nose; how to strip their handgun or rifle from their grasp; how to use items within your grasp as improvised weapons, sand thrown into the eyes, bricks or stones to the side of their head etc. It is your life. Learn how to save it! Train regularly at your firing range, and always carry your firearm, never leave it in your car, your life and the lives of those you love may depend on it!

  2. Excellent video. I’m glad I am a member! Keep up the good work! Thank you!

  3. Thank you for the video. Very informative!

  4. I like these, spooky as they may be. They provide what we have come to know as realistic events, which is so sad. As a child through high school in a rural farm town of Sutherland Springs TEXAS, we ALL had a .22 and a shotgun in our truck rear window, left the truck unlocked, windows down. Nobody would dare think of such a crime. That was a mere 25 years ago.

  5. Good points to remember, I always learn something new.
    I have a six-year-old grandson who I’m always concerned about when we’re out running around.
    I’ve explained what I will ask of him if a situation similar to your video ever arose. I’m pretty tough and calm, can easily pick him up and run or fire my weapon in defense. Can you guys do a video or give any tips on how to defend and manage a child in an active shooter situation when chaos, fear, and emotions come into play?
    Thank you!!

  6. Rich, some really solid advice. Thank you and glad you survived!

  7. Great video. I still believe that allowing cc in the workplace is the way to go. Unfortunately, we have to many anti-gunner putting their feeling over our lives and we are letting them have their way.

  8. As a public school teacher the ONLY option being taught is to hunker down and remain silent. This is excellent and needs to be shown to my school and 1,000 across this country.

  9. I went to one of these classes. A couple of great tips for make-shift weapons were the heel of a ladies high heel shoe (for gouging) and a belt looped to swing and hit with the buckle – that is IF you have to fight. But, first, RUN away if you can – and, yes, ZIG ZAGGING greatly reduces your chances of getting hit. Post the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in FL, many steps have been taken to better secure schools, establish safe hiding zones on campus, and for those teachers/administrators that want to carry, there is a super intense and extended training program they have to pass – yet some school districts still oppose the carrying of a firearm and won’t allow it. Minutes matter…

  10. Stay out of stairwells if you can. I stairs are your only way out. Stay as close to the wall as possible.

  11. @David Hann: I am sorry you are in that situation. Schools need to have as much security as they offer at airports and casinos, i.e., metal detectors, clear school bags, and armed security. To only tell you to hunker down and be quiet is a disservice to you and your peers. I live in a State where teachers are armed, and our schools are very easy to lock down. There are a class of teachers who are School Marshals. They have to pass a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement course of 80 hours. Many school districts in this State have implemented various safe school measures that would be appropriate to defend against an armed intruder. The shooting at Parkland would have been avoided had the officer on duty stepped up and did his job. Inaction leads to deaths. My only suggestion for you, is this: If you are on the first floor of a school, I would suggest that at the first alert of an active shooter, that you lock your classroom door and immediately bust out a window in your classroom, and escape the area as expeditiously as possible. Your job should not come at the cost of your life, or that of your students.

  12. Thank you for this.

  13. Great information. What if a person is armed when the attack occurs. When is the best time to use your weapon? What if the shooter is firing at other people with his back turned to you. Can you legally shoot him in the back? Also, what if the shooter appears to be wearing body armor. Is it better not to shoot or try for a head shot?

  14. Excellent info! Unfortunately, it is still a major battle to get social gatherings to admit to the possibility of an assault and secondly to discuss, identify and walk escape routes, and determine defense strategies and protocol during/following the incident. Very much appreciate your info!

  15. @Chris Corby “What if the shooter is firing at other people with his back turned to you. Can you legally shoot him in the back?”

    This is my own personal opinion. I hope you never ever find yourself in this position. I believe, that based upon reasonableness and the dire necessity of the situation, to stop the violent act of an attacker, and to prevent the imminent risk of life and limb to others, that shooting such a person in the back would be justified. As I said, this is only my opinion as a veteran, a human being and should be construed as a legal opinion. I believe the many witnesses to the situation, including the fact that the person was in the act of murdering others at the time, that a grand jury would not find you committed an illegal act in eliminating the threat that would have continued on had you not acted so, in the defense of others who had no defense of their own, or were trying to escape.

    “Also, what if the shooter appears to be wearing body armor”.

    Wearing body armor, at least in Texas is Illegal. It is a crime to do so. If they are wearing soft armor; that is armor without any kevlar plates in it, it will still cause them pain, and possibly distract them from continuing their murderous rampage. You also have to take into consideration that YOU will now be of interest to the shooter, unless they then try to escape. These are hypotheticals of course.

    If you manage to hit them in their legs and a shot hits the arteries in the back of the legs, the Popliteal Artery, situated in the hollow at the back of the knee, they may bleed out. Another artery is the Femoral Artery, on the inside of the thighs. A shot there can be fatal as well.

    “Is it better not to shoot or try for a head shot?”

    If you are NOT confident in your ability to fire at their head, do not do it, and risk hitting an innocent victim. You will definitely have to live with that for the rest of your life. The scene will be absolutely chaotic, and there will be people yelling and screaming. To be able to cope with all those peripheral distractions, takes a great deal of skill and focus.

    Anything you can do to cause the shooter to stop what they are doing will contribute to saving innocent lives. Know also, that by interjecting yourself into the situation, that you might also be shot. You may survive, or you may lose your life in the process of trying to save others from being murdered in cold blood. As a soldier, it was my duty to serve in any way possible to defend my country and it’s people, up to and including the loss of my life to save others. As a military retiree, I still hold to that ethos.

  16. ERRATA:
    a human being and should be construed as a legal opinion.

    a human being and should N O T be construed as a legal opinion.

    Wearing body armor, at least in Texas is Illegal.
    should say

    Wearing body armor, at least in Texas DURING THE COMMISSION OF A FELONY is Illegal.

    Sorry about those omissions!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Awesome perspective and great advice! Thanks for answering my questions.

  18. @ Chris Corby;

    My privilege. As the late Robin Williams said in Bicentennial Man; “One is glad to be of service”.

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