Do you know that the U.S. has an average rate of 20 mass shootings a year? While this number is high, one incident alone is reason enough to take initiative and find out what to do, should this dangerous situation happen to you!
Mass Shootings: Run, Hide, or Fight
An ordinary and peaceful day in the office or school can turn into the scariest, most violent day of your life when a madman indiscriminately discharges his firearm on anyone in sight. Over the past few years, mass shootings have happened all too often across the country. More often than not, police are minutes and not seconds away, so you must take action to protect yourself. Trying to get out of harm's way is your number one priority, which is why it's crucial you know what to do in circumstances like this. Below are the best things you can do, regardless of if you choose to run, hide, or fight for your survival.
First Rule, Stay Calm
A calm head is the best tool in a life-and-death situation. If you stay calm, you can think clearly and increase your chances of surviving. You have to be able to visualize your movements in advance, which is why remaining calm is vital.
However, it can be hard to maintain composure during dire scenarios like mass shootings, because our minds are programmed to warn us of dangers and give us a fight-or-flight response. Nonetheless, calmness gives us the ability to exercise good judgment. Moreover, good judgment is one of your weapons in unfamiliar situations.
Run as Fast as You Can
First and foremost, when you find yourself in the middle of a senseless shooting, get out of the place where the disturbance is happening. In these situations, there are those who will choose to stay, because they're just too scared to move. Encourage them to run with you. However, if their indecisiveness is costing you precious time, go ahead and find a hideout yourself.
Run to the nearest emergency exit, window, or other means to get out and always proceed with caution. Bear in mind that most retail stores and restaurants have backdoor exits. When you run, get low and stay low.
Don't worry about rounding up your things; just leave them behind. Looking for your mobile phone or taking your bag can cost valuable seconds and during this situation, every second counts. Once you're out of the line of fire, try to warn others about the danger zone and make sure to call 911 the first chance you get.
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Hide and Secure Your Location
If you can't get out safely, you need a place to hide. Find the closest door that locks. It can be an office or a storeroom. Once you're inside the room, act quickly and quietly to secure your hiding place the best you can. Make sure to lock the door and turn off all the lights.
Once inside, if possible, blockade the door and stay away from windows where the shooter can gain access into the room. If you happen to have your phone with you, put it in silent mode and then call 911 or message somebody for help. Make sure to do this discreetly and not make any unnecessary noise that will lead the shooter to your hiding place.
If you can't find a safe room or closet, try hiding behind large objects that can protect you but do not trap or restrict your options for movement. You'll be safe as long as you're out of the shooter's view.
Your Last Resort is to Fight and Defend Yourself
When you can't run or hide, your last resort is to fight and defend yourself. Whether you are alone or in a group, fight and act with aggression. Look for something that can be used as a weapon such as chairs, lamps, fire extinguishers, and whatnot. At this point, you're in self-defense mode, so anything that can disrupt the shooter's line of sight, breathing, and firearm control will be extremely helpful.
Disarm the shooter and take him down no matter what. If you know martial arts moves to neutralize the assailant, do them. Furthermore, while doing this, create as much noise as possible, so others, especially law enforcers, will know where the shooter is.
When cops arrive, they are extremely focused and ready to take the shooter down. They will observe any aggressive and threatening movements. Therefore, follow their instructions and put your hands where they're visible at all times.
Further, just so you know, the first responder's top priority is to eliminate the threat. Usually, there will be another group assigned to assist the injured and rescue the hostages or afflicted. They'll be on their way as well, but keep in mind they may not be moving as quickly.
Running might be the simplest yet most difficult response when confronted with a sudden attack. Watch this video from Fight SCIENCE and find out the best way to run and avoid gunfire!
Nowadays, you can never be too sure of what will happen. A tranquil scene can become the backdrop of a brutal exhibition in just moments. A common park can turn into a violent playground. Mass shootings happen, but we can survive if we know what to do. The three main things you can do are to run, hide, or fight your way out to safety. It takes a clear mind to make the right judgment on which of these three steps to take, so try to keep calm and study your way out of this life-threatening situation.
Do you have other tips? Share with us in the comments below!
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