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An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms(s) and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Because active shooter situations are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, before law enforcement arrives on the scene, individuals must be prepared both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.
Nevertheless, there are things you can do to prepare for the unexpected. Preparing for such events will reduce the stress that you may feel now, and later, should another emergency arise. Explore the information below to see how you can better prepare yourself for these types of situations.
“If you see something, say something!” It can be difficult to determine when to report someone or something suspicious. People most familiar with a given environment are in the best position to determine whether or not something seems out of the ordinary.
If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises.
Be sure to:
If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you.
Your hiding place should:
To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place, lock the door and blockade with heavy furniture.
If the active shooter is nearby:
If evacuation and hiding out are not possible:
As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:
How to react when law enforcement arrives:
The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons; their main goal is to locate and stop the active shooter. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.
References, Resources and More Information:
On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside a movie theater in Aurora during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring dozens of others.
Terrorist operations usually begin with extensive planning and can happen anytime, anywhere, but you can help detect and prevent terrorism by watching out for suspicious activities and by reporting them to the proper authorities. Be alert for the eight signs of terrorism!
VIDEO: Recognizing the 8 Signs of Terrorism(link is external)
Cover photo courtesy of the DHS and banner photo and photo within text courtesy of the FBI.