Here's What You Should Do If You're In An Active Shooter Situation

by Stacey Leasca

On Wednesday, two people were killed on the UCLA campus.

Sadly, this incident marks the seventh school shooting in 2016 alone. It is becoming a grim reality that children and young adults from kindergarten to college need to be aware that they may one day face an active shooter situation.

So what should you do if you're in an active shooting?

As Homeland Security describes in its report, "Active Shooter: How To Respond,"

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 firearm(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.

Homeland Security offers a few tips on what to do.

If the active shooter is in your vicinity:

Be aware. The moment you walk into a new place, familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Where are the exits? How will you get there if you have to?

Evacuate if you can. Leave all your belongings and help others if you are capable. Make sure to keep your hands visible and follow all instructions from law enforcement.

If you cannot evacuate, hide. As Homeland Security says,

Your hiding place should: Be out of the active shooter's view, provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed and locked door), not trap you or restrict your options for movement.

Alon Stivi, founder and CEO of Direct Measures International, told Men's Health in 2015,

...Even if you're stuck in that room, you can still take protective measures. People think a lockdown is simply closing the door. That is not sufficient. I tell my students, a lockdown without barricading is self-entrapment.

If the active shooter is in front of you:

As Homeland Security says,

...When your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by: Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her, throwing items and improvising weapons, yelling committing to your actions.

It adds, as a very last resort, try to take the shooter down as "your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her."

How to prepare for the worst:

As Homeland Security notes, it's always good to have a plan. Train students, staff and others on what the plan will be in case of any and all emergencies. Where are the exits? Where is the meeting point after exiting? Who is responsible for what in an emergency?

Read the full report on what to do here and watch the Stivi's techniques on what to do during an active shooting below.

Citations: The Smartest Thing to Do in an Active Shooter Situation (Men's Health)