The recent shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH have made many people realize that the threat of mass shootings remains ever present. While there’s a much greater likelihood of dying in a car accident, being killed by a policeman, or dying from medical malpractice than being the victim of a mass shooter, it still warrants being prepared in case you find yourself in this situation. Here are six tips to help prepare yourself in case you find yourself facing a mass shooter.
1. Be Prepared
In order to defend yourself during a mass shooting, you need to prepare yourself for it happening. Think about where you go most often: to school, to church, to the grocery store, etc. Think about what you would use to take cover, think about all the exits you could use, and think about how you would defend yourself. Envision yourself in the middle of your daily activities when a mass shooter arrives and mentally prepare yourself for how you would respond. That’s 90% of preparation right there.
2. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Situational awareness is key to survival. Don’t walk around with headphones in your ears or with your nose buried in a smartphone. Pay attention to the people around you. Notice if anyone seems out of place or nervous. Pay attention to people you see every day and notice whether they’re acting out of character. If you just get a bad vibe about a person or a particular area, leave. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Take Cover
If you find yourself confronted by a mass shooter and you can’t escape, take cover. That means understanding the difference between cover and concealment. Cover is something sturdy that can take a bullet, like a brick wall or a thick door. Concealment is something that hides you but that can easily be shot through. Hiding behind a cardboard sign isn’t going to help you against an active shooter.
4. Don’t Join the Crowd
While fleeing with a crowd may not be a bad idea if you’re heading towards an exit, mass shooters want to take out as many people as they can. Try to separate yourself from the pack, making yourself less of a target. Don’t hide with others either, as that just makes you easier to shoot.
One surprising aspect of the Christchurch shooter’s video was how many people merely fled to the corner of a room and huddled up against other people. That just made them one big mass of people that were sitting ducks against the shooter and his rifle.
5. Don’t Play Dead
Playing dead isn’t a viable option unless you’re severely injured. As long as you are mobile, get away from the area as soon as you can. Only in the event that you are immobilized and the shooter is coming back towards you should you even think about playing dead.
6. Run, Hide, Fight
Remember that you have three possible actions: run from the shooter, hide from him, or fight him. But whichever course of action you choose, remember that you have to act. Be prepared, have a plan, and don’t freeze up when the time comes. In all likelihood you’ll never have to face an active shooter, and certainly we all hope never to get ourselves into this kind of scenario, but if it happens, act decisively to save your life and those of your loved ones.