Unfortunately, every year we hear about large scale shootings at a business, schools, or other public places. It typically takes police several minutes to respond to an incident and a lot of people can be killed or injured in that time. There are three things that you can do that may help you survive one of these events: run, hide, or fight.
If you are able to get out of the area safely, do so. Exit as quickly as possible. Your concern should about you and your family’s safety, not others who may not be able to leave. Do not worry about your belongings and leave everything behind. It is only important to exit the area as fast as you can. Once you are safe, call 911 and try to keep others from away from the danger area. When speaking to 911, they will want to know a lot of information, such as how many shooters there are, their physical descriptions, what kind of weapons do they have (handguns, long guns, explosives), and how many innocent people are there.
If you can’t escape, try to get behind a large object that could hide you from the shooter’s view and may provide some protection from the bullets. Ideally, the hiding place should not restrict your movement in case you need to move quickly. If you are in a different room but can’t escape, turn off the lights and shut and lock the door if possible. Be as quiet as you can and silence your cell phone. Shooters typically will not take the time to force open a locked door, especially if they do not believe someone is in there.
If you can’t escape and hiding will not work, the only option is to fight the attackers. You can do this alone, or as a group to incapacitate them as quickly as possible. You should act decisively and with aggression, as you are fighting for your life and that of others. Deadly force would be authorized in this circumstance, as you would be trying to protect yourself or someone else from death or serious bodily injury. Historically, the only proven way these incidents have ended quickly was when another armed person, either a police officer or armed civilian, has confronted and shot the attackers. If you have a firearm or other weapon, use it. If not, use whatever improvised weapons you can find, such as a chair, fire extinguisher, trash can, etc… If there is nothing available, use your bare hands. Fighting back is better than dying.
If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in one of these situations, know that when police arrive, they do not know who is good and who is bad. Do not rush towards them, as you could be perceived as a threat. You should get on the floor and raise your empty hands and listen to their commands. Initially the police will not be evacuating people or tending to the injured as their first priority is to seek out and incapacitate the attackers.