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What to Do and What Not to Do in Mass Shooting Situations

Personal Tips to Help You Protect Yourself in a Mass Shooting

Since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 that killed 13 people and wounded 20 more, we have heard the term “mass shooting” much more than we should ever have to. Sadly, it has become a part of our reality. The Las Vegas Shooting in 2017 is now classified as the deadliest shooting in U.S. history with 59 killed and 851 people injured. These were innocent people having a great time, listening to some music at an outdoor concert. The most recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, as of the time of this writing, is the ninth most deadly shooting with 17 killed and 17 injured.

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And then on April 5, 2018, it was reported that a mass shooting at Syracuse University was averted when the Nelson gun store owner called police after refusing to sell the former student an AR-15 rifle. It was found by law enforcement that the former student had stockpiled gun accessories and ammunition in his apartment after making threats of committing a mass shooting at the University.

This brings about a VERY good question and that’s what you should or shouldn’t do if you happen to find yourself in a mass shooting situation?

What You Shouldn’t Do

The first thing you shouldn’t do is attempt to overtake the shooter. There may be a good chance that you are unarmed, so trying to take down the shooter could get you killed and/or make them angrier.

You also don’t want to start throwing objects at the shooter. While this can distract them from spraying bullets randomly around the area, it makes you and anyone around you a target. It has been suggested by non-experts in the media that throwing objects at the shooter can distract them. While this can be true to an extent, it doesn’t come without its risks.

If you are in a room and hear gunshots nearby, don’t attempt to run out of the room because that could be what the gunman wants. Instead, lock the door and barricade it. If there is an escape route, take it. Don’t go straight to the desks or tables and hide under them because those are where mass shooters look first.

What You Should Do

As for what you should do, there are many things that can be done. For schools, it’s time to create an emergency action plan if there isn’t already one in place. Many schools are starting to install access control systems or “ACS Security” that require students to scan ID cards before entering. Security guard presence is up, classrooms are being outfitted with door barricade devices, and evacuation plans are being fine-tuned.

It’s good for everyone in every situation to have a plan. Recently, a shooting occurred at YouTube Headquarters, proving, once again, that no workplace is immune. No school is immune, no shopping mall is immune, and even public transportation hubs aren’t immune. That’s why you need to do the following if you find yourself in a mass shooting situation:

  1. Hiding under desks and tables doesn’t work. In school shootings, those that have hidden under desks and tables have been the first to die as shooters walk down rows of desks and fire. Even if jumping out of a second story window is the only option, it increases the chance of survival.
  1. Barricade doors. At Virginia Tech, the students that barricaded a door with everything they had all survived.
  1. Always note entrances and exits when entering a public place. Ask yourself what you will do if there is an attack and create a plan of action.
  1. If someone in your vicinity seems suspicious (such as wearing a winter coat in the middle of summer), vacate the area immediately. Always be aware of your surroundings.
  1. Always face entrances if you can rather than having your back to them.
  1. Move out of the kill zone as soon as you can. It is harder to hit a moving target, but try and exit the area in the most strategic way you can.
  1. If a gunman is shooting from your level, it is beneficial to get down. If the gunman is shooting from an elevated area, don’t get down because it makes you a stationary target. Instead, run toward the nearest exit point. You’re harder to hit if you’re moving.
  1. If you can’t flee the area, hide behind a structure that can most likely stop bullets. Move as soon as you can. Even if the situation is like the Vegas situation where there was no cover and the location of the shooter was unknown, fleeing increases the chances of survival.

Follow these tips and you can increase your chances of survival in a mass shooting situation. The ultimate strategy, however, is always being aware of your surroundings and vacating as soon as something looks or feels strange.

Access Control, Business Protection, and More

If you wish to make your school, business, warehouse, factory, or another commercial establishment safer against mass shooters and other threats, SPS Fire & Security can help. We specialize in commercial security, such as access control systems, and much more so you can protect your facility and everyone in it. Call today at 585-770-0348 for a free estimate.

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