What law enforcement says to do in active shooter event


(NewsNation) — Deadly weekend attacks across the country from Buffalo, New York to Orange County, California serve as reminders of the growing presence of gun violence in America.

In 2020, the gun homicide rate reached the highest level in two decades, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. Active shooter incidents identified by the FBI have doubled from 20 in 2016 to 40 in 2020.

If you find yourself in a situation where there is an active shooter, which the FBI defines as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area,” it’s important to know there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

The FBI’s recommended strategy for this scenario is based on three instructions: run, hide, fight.


When there’s an active shooter nearby, it’s important to quickly but cautiously evacuate the area. Running makes you a much harder target to hit. As you’re evacuating, you should try to be mindful of alternate exits — including windows and emergency exits.

Above all, don’t hesitate because every second matters. Most active shooter events are over within five minutes. Don’t bother taking your belongings; your life is worth more than any property. Don’t stop running until you’re in a safe location.

When you encounter police, raise your empty hands so they are visible. Listen carefully to police and follow their instructions.

“People need to move,” Steve Smith, CEO of Guardian Defense Plan, said on “Rush Hour.” “They need to move to an evacuation or a place they could isolate in and barricade those doors to get away from that assailant.”


As the FBI notes in the video above, “if there is no safe escape route, find a safe hiding place.” The Department of Homeland Security suggests you “hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.”

If possible, find a place you can lock yourself inside and barricade the door. Silence your cellphone (which includes turning off vibrations) and prepare a defense plan in case the shooter finds you.


“As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter,” writes the DHS. The department suggests finding available objects to throw or use as improvised weapons.

As the FBI says in the video above, “use teamwork and surprise, a coordinated ambush can incapacitate an attacker.” And remember: Your life is on the line, so don’t fight fair.

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