Active Shooter, two words people pray will never be said at a location or event they are attending. I feel like you can’t turn on the television or open a newspaper today without seeing a story about an active shooter, also referred to as a “mass shooting.” What makes these senseless and tragic situations even worse is how they are being politicized. Politicians and those with an agenda use the event for personal gain or to move a narrative forward.

Many people feel powerless during active shooter events, but that does not have to be true. You can and should do things in response to these kinds of deadly encounters. This three-part series will address what you should do if faced with an active shooter situation.

Escape

The first course of action for almost every person faced with this deadly encounter is to ESCAPE. RUN, RUN, RUN! There is nothing cowardly about running. Remember, your ultimate goal should be to escape the active shooter and run to a safe location. Another thing to consider is that you could be the key to the event ending quickly.

By escaping immediately, you can call 911 and tell first responders about where you are and what you saw. Think of it this way, when you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant always tells you to place your oxygen mask on before helping others, even a child. You know that if you do not have a supply of oxygen, you may pass out, and then you cannot help anyone else. That is the same principle for escaping and calling 911. Once you are safe, you can help others by providing responding professionals with specific information about the active shooter.

Please remember that when you are escaping an active shooter, do not stop to collect personal property. Doing so will create unnecessary delays. You should also not waste time trying to convince others to run with you. Tell them to run and keep moving. The time you spend trying to convince someone to run may give the shooter time to acquire you as the next target of opportunity.

Get out and run to safety. Once you are safe, immediately call 911 and ensure help is on the way and informed about what you saw and heard.