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Active shooters: Tips to stay safe

Active shooter is a topic no one wants to think of but is one everyone should be aware of. Given the current climate an active shooter incident can break out anywhere and anytime: At a movie theatre, a concert, a hotel, at work, even in our schools.

We all patronize businesses and many of us and/or our family members attend schools and universities.

The F.B.I. advises 70% of all active shooter incidents occur in these two places: Businesses and schools. On February 14, 2018, one of the worst mass school shootings occurred at a seemingly "safe" school: Douglas High School. It followed several other recent active shooter incidents in public schools across the United States including in Kentucky and Texas.


There are three well known and general rules on how to respond to an active shooter incident. They are:

1) RUN (if possible)

2) If running is impossible HIDE and remain as quiet as you can. Turn off all cell phones and other electronic devices that could suddenly begin ringing and alert the shooter, and

3) If running or hiding is impossible, FIGHT.

Department of Homeland Security's Advice.

The United States Department of Homeland Security provides the following general guidelines on how to stay safe:

• Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.

• Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit.

• If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door.

• If you are in a hallway, get into a room and secure the door. • As a last resort, attempt to take the active shooter down.

•When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacitate him/her.



For further information, please see the Department of Homeland Security's publication "Active Shooter: How to Respond" here:


Given what has transpired recently, it is advisable that all Americans undergo active shooter training. Unfortunately when faced with an active shooter, victims sometimes simply freeze and this could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Former FBI Special Agent and Chief Operations Officer of the Security Impact Group, an organization that provides customized safety training, Doug Evans explains that if the worst case scenario occurs and an active shooter enters the situation, people will need to fall back on their training.

“Like an athlete who develops muscle memory from regular training to prepare for a major competition — individuals will similarly draw upon their training when it comes to the unthinkable,” states Evans.


The WVPI is focused on violence prevention including mitigating the risk of active shooters.

However, in light of recent and ongoing developments across the United States it is imperative that every American have some idea in advance of what to do if the worst case situation occurs.

The time to begin to figure out what steps to take should never be when an active shooter is present. STAY SAFE. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

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