While we never hope to be in this situation, the reality is that mass shootings in large public areas are on the rise. The tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas earlier this week is a sober reminder that these situations can happen anytime, anywhere. In reaction to this, while there will be much political debate on gun control and mental health for months to come, (whether anything comes of it is another story) the best thing you can do today is be proactive in learning about what to do to survive a mass shooting, even if you don’t have any training. Knowledge is power.
Our key contributor today is Retired Police Officer, Subject Matter Expert in domestic and international anti-crime techniques and tactics Don Longo, who gives his expertise in outlining five key things you need to do in order to get out of an active shooter situation:
1. Use Situational Awareness:
You know those bland and boring safety demonstrations you have to sit through on a plane or in a movie theater? Don’t dismiss them, pay attention and use that knowledge to your advantage. Any time you enter a space, note the exits and emergency exit locations, as well as any obstacles that may be problematic. Always be aware of what is happening around you, and act upon that information. For example, many concert goers in the Las Vegas mass shooting thought at first that the gunshots were pyrotechnics malfunctioning or fireworks. It wasn’t until country music singer Jason Aldean ran off the stage and victims began to drop while bleeding, that the crowd realized something was amiss. When in doubt, get out.
2. React Immediately to a Threat:
Every second counts in an active shooter event. According to a 2013 report by the U.S. Department of Justice, approximately 70% of Active Shooter incidents ended within 5 minutes. (Although the Las Vegas mass shooting has early reports of the shooting lasting 10-15 minutes) It can take law enforcement an average of 10 minutes to respond, enter, and engage the shooter, with the same report stating that 60% of active shooter incidents ended before police arrived.
As seen in Las Vegas, in a short amount of time, a devastating amount of damage can be amassed. Your best chance at ensuring survival is in your actions. Having the knowledge from using the situational awareness techniques mentioned earlier can help you make the most informed escape route:
If you able to safely escape, do so. Employ tactical moves such as using cover as you make your way to an exit and escaping the “kill zone.” Do not stop moving until you reach a safe place. Many victims in the Las Vegas shooting dropped to the ground to try to avoid gunfire, but unfortunately, due to the lack of cover, they were hit by the gunman’s high vantage point. If you cannot run……
If a safe escape is not possible, find a safe place to hide. If there is not a designated safe room, or cannot reach it, find a room that locks from inside, then lock and barricade the door. Arm yourself with any improvised weapons you can find. Use large protective objects to block yourself from potential gunfire. Most importantly, remain quiet.
This is an absolute last resort, after exhausting the run and hide options. At this point, you need to decide to survive: If you encounter the shooter, your only hope is to fight for your life. Commit to taking them down, with whatever means necessary. Use improvised weapons, aggression, and do not stop until the shooter has been neutralized. Your success hinges on your will to live and a survivor mindset.
Don Longo provides active shooter lectures to the public, including: schools, places of worship, corporations, businesses, entertainment venues, hotels and resorts, libraries, and non-profit organizations. His renowned active shooter lectures go more in depth to cover topics such as:
- How to prepare and plan for an active shooter incident (also known as an Emergency Response Plan or ERP)
- How to recognize indicators of an active shooter before overt action occurs
- Known behaviors of active shooters during an incident
- Actions to take when confronted with an active shooter
- Effective response procedures for escaping, hiding, and fighting
- Proper alert procedures
- Establishing and using Safe Rooms
- Correct responsive actions upon arrival of law enforcement personnel
If you would like more in depth knowledge of how to survive an active shooter situation, you can view Don Longo’s current lecture schedule or request a lecture for your place or work, worship, school, local library, or public space.
About Don Longo
Don Longo is a New York State licensed private investigator, retired and decorated Suffolk County Police Officer, with over 30 years of experience in law enforcement and security. He has trained and worked with members from the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service. His expertise has given him recognition as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in domestic and anti-crime techniques and tactics.
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Request a Lecture from Anti-Crime Tactic and Technique Expert Don Longo to protect yourself and your loved ones from an active shooter situation.