Recently in Raleigh there were loud bangs in the mall and some shoppers literally lost their mind in the scramble to get out of harm’s way. Of course in the end there was no shooter, firearm, shell casings, bullet fragments, or anything to demonstrate a shot was ever fired. Today I will go over what you should do in an active shooter situation should you ever find yourself in one. First and foremost know your surroundings. I would say 99% of us are oblivious as we go about our lives. Almost every building has at least two entrance/exit points and try to locate those as you enter. I know I was sitting at dinner in a new restaurant last week and my first glances were to locate the exit since I knew where I had entered. Once that was accomplished only then I took the time to look at the menu. If there is only one entrance then position yourself where you can easily see it. Now you have taken the first step toward protecting yourself and your family should a situation arise.

The absolute best plan is to adhere to the mantra Run – Hide – Fight. What that means is if you can get out and away you do that first. However there are some things to keep in mind. In the Raleigh melee a young man was not thinking clearly and rather than heading to the right or left continued straight off the parking deck and landed two stories down breaking his jaw and arm. Also do not pull a Rickon. If you are a Game Of Thrones fan you will remember when the young man was told to run away and he chose to run in a straight line rather than taking cover. As you can tell it did not end well for him. Since you know there is an active shooter strive to put walls or other objects between you and the shooter. So run, but run with caution and purpose. Trampling others to get yourself to safety is not good citizenship. Work as a group if necessary to get as far away from the shooter as possible. Be prepared to be engaged by law enforcement and keep your hands in plain sight at all times and obey any and all commands given by law enforcement.

The next one should be easy to understand, simply hide. Take the time to mute the cellphone so it will not give away your position and barricade any doors if in an office or closet. Only hide if you cannot get out and away. Do not make any loud noises and keep quiet as if your life depends on it because it does. Only emerge from hiding when instructed by law enforcement or if the all clear is given.

It should be pointed out that while you are making your exit you should be preparing to hide if necessary and while hiding you should be preparing to fight. If the shooter is coming to you and you cannot run or your hiding place is compromised you must fight and fight with everything you have. Improvise a weapon if you do not have something already. In an office the furniture may be too sturdy to create a club, but a pencil or pen would work as a shank if needed. A fire extinguisher could be your weapon of choice, or perhaps there is a kitchen area with a knife. Anything to stop the shooter and even better if a group attacks at one time. While someone may be hurt or even killed in a group surge on the shooter the threat can be stopped. The time to stop attacking the shooter is when they are no longer a threat to you or others. Until that time gouge, stomp, kick, club, stab, strangle, and anything else you must do to save lives.

Hopefully you will never find yourself in an active shooter situation, but should it happen remember to Run – Hide – Fight.