by Joe Alton, M.D.
The Active Shooter Event: Staying Alive
USA -(AmmoLand.com)- Have a Plan
A person without a plan of action follows the herd. If fifty people around you drop to the floor, your natural tendency is to do the same.
Cowering in fear under a table in plain view of the shooter isn't a recipe for a good outcome. By having a plan, you will have a better chance of getting out of there in one piece.
Know Your Surroundings
With an active shooter, what you do in the first few seconds may determine your final outcome. Give yourself a head start by always knowing what's happening around you. We call this situational awareness. Know where exits are. Know where the gunshots are coming from. Know who appears nervous or suspicious in your immediate area.
Run, Hide, and Fight
If you find yourself in the middle of a terrorist event, you should remember these three words: Run, Hide, Fight. Just as “Stop, Drop, and Roll” can save the life of someone on fire, “Run, Hide, Fight” might save the life of someone under fire. This is the order of the actions that you should be taking in an active shooter scenario.
Most people will hide as their first course of action. You, however, should run away from the direction of gunfire as soon as you hear it, leaving through those exits you've been mentally marking. This will make it less likely you and the shooter will cross paths. Forget about collecting your stuff, it will only slow you down and, face it, it's just stuff.
In a building, hiding under a table in the same room as the shooter is a death sentence. Get into another room, preferably one with a door you can lock. If there is no lock, put together a barrier with desks and chairs. Turn off the lights, silence your cell phone, and stay quiet behind an additional barrier like a table or in a closet. If you can quietly alert authorities, do so.
Don't respond to voice commands unless you're sure the danger is over; sometimes the gunman will try to lure you out of a safe place.
If you're in the line of sight of the shooter, run away at an angle or zig zag to make yourself a more difficult target. I know it's not a natural action you'd think of doing, but most shooters aren't marksmen and will miss a moving target.
What if you can't run, and there is no reasonable hiding place? You just might have to fight yourself out of there. This strategy isn't always doomed to failure.
[AmmoLand Editors Note: The best option is to carry a firearm, concealed carry or open carry, nothing slows down or stops an attacker than a good guy shooting back at them. An armed fight should be your first choice.]
You still might be able to subdue an attacker even if unarmed. Three young and unarmed men were able to do it to a shooter on a train in Paris. It's a last resort, but it can end without a fatality as it did there. If you don't fight, the shooter will have a clear shot to your head and death is likely. If you fight, it might just be harder to be hit with a fatal shot.
Of course, it would be great if you knew martial arts, but any type of aggression against the gunman would disrupt their “flow” and possibly put you at an advantage. If you can, approach him from the side or rear, and go for his weapon. If you have help, all should attack at the same time from different directions while hurling objects that he has to dodge. This guy is probably not James Bond: he'll be disconcerted and not be able to handle multiple threats at once.
Needing a plan for active shooter situations is galling to some but, it's part of life in the New Normal. Those with a plan will have a better chance to survive this event and many other disasters in the uncertain future.
More from Dr. Alton – YouTube Speaking Clip: Your Rights vs Public Safety
About Dr. Joe Alton:
Joe Alton, M.D. (www.doomandbloom.net/ ) is a disaster preparedness expert, member of the Wilderness Medical Society, and NY Times/Amazon bestselling author of the Survival Medicine Handbook and other books. Dr. Alton has also written the just-released and timely “The Zika Virus Handbook“. Dr. Alton is a well known speaker and host of The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Hour syndicated podcast.