First, it was Columbine. Then Aurora CO, Sandy Hook Elementary, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland and so many more. The unfortunate reality is that we must be proactive in educating and training ourselves, our children, our families and friends on what to do if an active shooter emergency situation occurs. Knowing how to prepare and respond could be the difference between life and death. These tips could save your life. Read them. Learn them. Share Them.
🔥Take an active shooter safety training seminar. Empowerment is built with small steps. Many police departments, college campuses, local government branches and US companies now offer free classes to educate citizens on what to do in an active shooter scenario. You can even find them online!
🔥 Sign up to receive local emergency alerts on your smart phone for your community, work place and college campus. Seconds matter and you want to be alerted as soon as possible if something is going down.
🔥 If you see something, say something. This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many people second guess their gut instinct for fear of being politically incorrect. It’s better to be wrong and politically incorrect, than to be right, not report it and then witness lives lost.
🔥 Always look for alternative exits and things you could hide behind when you ENTER a restaurant, concert venue, classroom, etc. You want to have this escape plan already in your mind in case an active shooting were to occur. Train yourself to do this and it will become second nature.
🔥 Carry bulletproof protection with you everywhere you go. A good option for adults is a bulletproof insert that you can slide in/out of your purse or laptop bag. If you need to run for an exit, you can slide this under your shirt to protect your vital organs or shield your head. Defense Divas® recommends bulletproof backpacks for children and young adults that do not have a removable insert. The reason for this? Children may remove the insert if their book bag gets too heavy or if they can’t fit something into it. You want them protected at all times.
🔥 If you hear something that sounds like a gun shot, then act immediately! You might be shocked to know that the majority of people actually stop, look to each other for confirmation, then dismiss their gut instinct as an over-reaction… until they hear it again. Your escape plan should begin the second you hear anything that sounds like a gun shot.
🔥 Make a plan with your family and discuss what everyone should do if confronted by an active shooter. This includes 1) what they should do if alone and 2) how you will all reconnect if together in a public setting.
HOW TO SURVIVE AN ACTIVE SHOOTER
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has an easy 3 step plan to increase your chances of surviving if you find yourself in the thick of an active shooter crisis.
RUN 🔥 HIDE 🔥 FIGHT
🔥 Run! If you already know where your possible exits are from your preparedness training above, get moving! You have already increased your chance of survival significantly.
- Leave your junk and get moving! Purses and valuables can be replaced, but your life cannot.
- Evacuate whether or not others agree to follow. It’s not uncommon for people to second guess themselves and develop “crowd thinking” when they hear the first shot. You need to do what is necessary to save YOUR life. It’s not the time to be politically correct or a “sheeple”.
- On your way out, warn others you may see not to enter and to call 911.
- When you are safe, call 911. Get yourself together because other’s lives may depend on it, and let the 911 operator know every detail you can remember. They will want to know the location of the emergency, a description of the shooter and where you last saw the active shooter at the location. Provide information about the types of weapons the active shooter is carrying, if you have it.
🔥 Hide! If escape is not possible, find a place to hide that is out of the shooter’s view.
- Lock all access doors if you are in a classroom. Pile up heavy items in front of the door to make it difficult for the shooter to enter.
- Never hide in groups, if possible. If there is nowhere to hide, spread out along the same wall as the door to avoid being in direct line of sight from the doorway.
- Put your cell phone on silent (not vibrate) and be very quiet.
- Communicate with police via text so that your voice is not heard by the active shooter. Take to social media and tag your location if you can’t reach the police by text. Get the word out stat, but be silent in how you do it!
- If you have bulletproof protection with you, now is the time to get it in place to protect your life.
- Stay in place until law enforcement give you the all clear.
🔥 Fight! As an absolute last resort, you may have to fight the active shooter to save your life and the lives of others.
- Take a minute to breathe, focus and commit to your actions whole-heartedly.
- Think outside the box and find make-shift weapons. Scissors, pencils, chairs and fire extinguishers all make alternative self-defense weapons in an emergency.
- Pepper spray is a great weapon to use in order to blind an active shooter.
- You may be in a situation where you can throw items in another direction, to effectively, draw the shooter away from your location. Do so, if beneficial, but be prepared to react immediately if doing so alerts the armed shooter to your location.
- Draw every ounce of aggression and force you have within yourself to act swiftly and effectively at disarming the shooter.
- Band together and ambush the shooter as an armed group. Your life or death goal is to over- power the active shooter.
- Be prepared to cause lethal damage. It may come down to your life or the shooter’s life. You cannot hesitate.
It’s important to remember that law enforcement’s top priority upon arrival is to neutralize the threat. If you or someone you know is injured, they may be passed by until the shooter is down. Only after an active shooter situation has been neutralized, will injured victims be helped.
- Turn wounded people onto their sides if they are unconscious and keep them warm.
- Take care of yourself first, then help others if possible. Make shift tourniquets and pressure should be applied directly to wounds to slow down bleeding out. If possible, raise the gunshot wound part of your body above your heart. This make it more difficult for that body part to receive blood because your heart is pumping the blood against gravity.
- Keep you hands empty and visible to police to avoid an accidental misunderstanding in a very tense situation.
- Please, please, please seek professional counselling if you ever experience this nightmare. PTSD is high after an active shooter trauma.
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