The Federal Bureau of Investigation in collaboration with The Department of Homeland Security office of infrastructure protection recently updated policies and information on active shooters and violence in the workplace — specifically for religious institutions. This information includes strategies that can be used to combat potential gun violence situations.
As this conversation continues to evolve and grow, one of the most common strategies used to combat a dangerous situation remains — run, hide, fight.
The strategy’s simplicity is what makes it effective. Other examples like stop, drop and roll or duck and cover have the same effect: a victim will be more likely to recall it in a crisis situation. In addition to being easy to recollect, phrases like run, hide, fight are beneficial in providing options in circumstances where a person might feel they have none.
It's not linear, where first you run, then you hide, then you fight — you do what's best and safest in the situation.
If you see an opportunity for a successful escape of any dangerous situations, take it. Getting away from the shooter or shooters can not only get you to safety but can give you the chance to get help. Leave your things and don’t try to find a large group of people — just evacuate the area. Despite people — especially healthcare workers — wanting to stay and help victims or potential victims, the most important thing you can do for yourself and others is to get out.
Stay out of the shooter’s view and stay quiet. Lock and block the doors and turn off the lights. It’s not only important to avoid being seen, but it’s important to avoid being heard. Turn your phone on silent, or off altogether. If you can communicate, do so silently. Use text message or social media to tag your location and let people know where you are. If you can alert someone to where the shooter is, you can help others keep clear of that area while also helping officers pinpoint the attacker.
There will be times when this is your only option. If a shooter confronts you and you have no escape, fight against the shooter. Use whatever you have at your disposal, whether that be a chair, a fire extinguisher, scissors or a lamp. Even throwing a stack of papers causes an automatic reflex reaction, giving you the few moments you need to get away. You’re not fighting fair, you’re fighting to win and save your life.
While run, hide, fight might not adequately address the reality of every active shooter attack, it provides the victims with a plan to focus on that can save their lives. People often, when confronted with sudden and unexpected violence, tend to freeze.
Visit the Department of Homeland Security to find about more what to do if you find yourself in an active shooting event. how to recognize signs of potential violence around you, and what to expect after an active shooting takes place. Remember: run, hide, fight.