In part one of this series, I discussed the first thing you should do if you find yourself confronted with an “Active Shooter” event, also referred to as a mass shooting. I wrote that the first thing you should do is ESCAPE! I explained how this benefits everyone involved, especially you.
Unfortunately, running may not be an option that is available to you. Perhaps you work in a facility with limited points of exit, and your current location precludes you from running out of the building safely. If you cannot run, then I highly recommend you HIDE! Find a room that you will be able to control entry to. Look for a room with a door that can be locked. It would also be great to find a room with an out-swing door, instead of an in-swing. This means the door opens away from the room instead of into the room. An easy way to identify an out-swing door is by the hinges. The hinges of the out-swing door will be on the outside of the room it secures.
Once inside the room, lock the door, turn off the lights, and close the blinds, if applicable. It is also a good idea to use items to barricade the door whenever possible. You want to ensure you cannot be readily seen from outside of the room, and that access to the room is more difficult for the shooter. If possible, find a secondary hiding location within the room; such as a closet, inside a cabinet, or perhaps beside or behind some larger office equipment. The goal is to hide you from the offender who manages to breach the door and conducts a quick visual scan of the room for potential targets.
When you hide, remain as silent as possible. Be sure to turn off the sound and vibrate functions of your cellular phone. Remember, a vibrating cell phone can often be heard as clearly as a ringing phone. Remain as calm as you can and focus on your breathing. Make the conscious effort to breathe in and out slowly. Consider counting to 4 when breathing in, holding your breath for a count of 3 or 4, breathing out for a count of 4. Breathing correctly will help keep you calm and lower your heart rate.
Remember, if you can’t escape, HIDE!
If you can’t hide or if your hiding location has been compromised, you have to be ready. I will cover this in the third and final part of this series.