LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – If that terrible moment comes and bullets start flying, do you know what to do?
The FBI has made a guide on responding to active shooters and has developed a three-point action plan for anybody caught in such an event: Run, Hide, Fight.
It works like this:
Something has happened. You do not know the details, but you hear gunshots, maybe from the back of the room, maybe from down the hall.
The first thing is to run.
Running makes you harder to hit and clears you of the area. Run to an exit. Know where the exits are; know where the other exits are, even windows and emergency exits. If it is time to run, leave your stuff. Then, run for the exit away from the attacker; get out of there.
Keep running. Now you are outside and well clear. Hands up, empty and palms facing forward. You do not want to have police trying to guess if you have a weapon. If you know something the police want to know, tell them: Is the shooter a man or woman? Is there more than one? What are they wearing? What do they look like?
No place to run? Then hide.
Sometimes, running for the exit puts you in the line of fire. If this is you, do not run for the exit. It is time to hide. An adjoining room you can get inside? Good idea. Get inside. If you see other people more confused than you, point them to the room.
Once inside, close and lock the door. Barricade it with whatever might be available, cabinets, desks, chairs, whatever is handy.
Be ready to fight. If it can be used as a weapon, grab it. Stay out of the entrance to the room you are in. You do not want to be where a bullet can travel. Turn your phone’s ringer off.
No place to run? No place to hide? Time to fight.
This is for the worst case and the absolute last resort: No chance to exit, nowhere to hide. You are not a victim; time to fight.
Just like the people hiding in the room, grab a weapon.
You must get control of their weapon; you must. Getting them on the floor and trapping their hands is all good, but you must first gain control of the weapon. Nothing else matters. You are fighting for your life; this is not the time to fight fair.
If the police enter the area, you will need to communicate.
And if someone needs help and first responders are not available:
If someone with you is bleeding, apply direct pressure on the wound. Medical-grade bandages would be great here, but failing to improvise with a towel or clothing could work. Keep the pressure on the wound.