How To Survive A Mass Shooting
It’s imperative that you understand how to survive a mass shooting.
Mass shootings have been occurring quite often in the past few years, and it doesn’t look like there’s anything that’s going to slow that down anytime soon.
Common locations for mass shootings to occur are college campuses and universities; however, this situation can happen anywhere at anytime.
Although your chances of being involved in a mass shooting are fairly slim, it could still happen at any time, anywhere. And, as I always say, “Prepare Now, Survive Later!”
Note: Know someone visiting a college/university campus this year? Have them read this blog article to help them stay safe.
It’s crucial that you know how to survive in a mass shooting so that you don’t end up a casualty. And, by learning the steps now, you not only have a higher chance of surviving, but you can also keep a clear head when there’s pure chaos going on around you.
Our job here at Survival Frog is to help prepare you for any and every crisis that could occur. So here’s some tips on…
How To Survive A Mass Shooting
First of all, I want you to watch this video; I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty unsettling and has some graphic content.
BUT, it does give you an accurate perspective of what it would be like to be in the same room/area as an active shooter. And once you realize the magnitude of the situation, the more seriously you’ll prepare.
1 – Recognize The Characteristics of an Active Shooter
Mass shootings have been committed by people from an incredibly diverse range of ages, races, genders and economic statuses; as such, it’s almost impossible to know based on appearance alone whether someone is planning an attack.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to know how to recognize a shooter before a shot is ever fired.
Look for people in the vicinity that appear overly nervous, are constantly scanning the room, are not maintaining eye contact with anyone, and/or are dressed in large, suspicious attire (i.e: wearing a large trench coat in the middle of summer or carrying an overstuffed backpack).
Also look for people with a highly concentrated expression and/or those consistently exhibiting little to no facial expression. Look for people acting in an unstable manner, and trust your gut.
If you see anyone portraying these behaviors, it’s important that you let a manager, official, or the police know. It’s better to be safe than dead, and by doing so you may be saving your own life as well as the lives of all the people around you.
It’s also critical that you get to know the people around you in familiar environments, such as at your office or at your school. Unfortunately, in a majority of cases, at least one close family member/friend saw warning signs of unstable behavior in the soon-to-be shooter, but didn’t speak up or do anything to stop it.
As a result, this person is also, in most cases, not at all surprised when the shooting happens, and ultimately regrets not speaking up when he/she had the chance.
In many cases, soon-to-be active shooters have just experienced a major negative life event, such as losing a close relative/friend, being broken up with, or being fired from a job.
Many shooters have also been bullied in the past, and are looking to get even. Many have also experienced thoughts of suicide, and are typically very interested in violent video games, art, music and other entertainment.
Do what you can to evaluate the people and situations around you, and always report suspicious activity if you’re feeling uneasy about someone around you. This act alone could save many lives (including your own).
2 – Have A Plan Beforehand
It’s said that, on average, active shootings last for around two minutes. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to think, let alone act. If you’re going to react, you need to do it quickly. However, unfortunately, your brain can work against you in the heat of a crisis.
The human brain has what’s called a “normalcy bias,” which often kicks in in crises. Instead of hearing a gunshot, your brain will tell you it was “a car backfiring,” or a “book falling off the shelf.”
Your brain often wants to rationalize these unforeseen circumstances into thinking it’s a predictable normality of life.
Your brain is also wired to follow what others are doing. So, in the event of a mass shooting, you’ll see people cowering or paralyzed in fear and your brain will immediately tell you to follow and act the same way.
As such, you cannot afford to depend on your brain or your instincts when an active shooter is approaching. Instead, you need to constantly have a plan of what to do to override these instincts.
Analyze the environment around you and look for exits, EXIT signs, and escape routes. Look for windows you can break and large, sturdy things you can hide behind.
Also be sure to look out for suspicious characters; if you have a gut feeling that someone/something isn’t right about the situation, trust that instinct and get out while you can.
By planning out your escape route before something happens, you’re less likely to freeze up or to fool yourself into thinking nothing’s wrong. Plus, planning gives you time to analyze what you would do if no escape routes were available, such as hiding behind large objects or finding a defense weapon.
3 – Visualize Your Escape
Before SHTF, you need to make sure you’ve got your escape plan memorized in any/every situation. That’s why it’s important to create an exit strategy in your mind once you’ve entered a room/building.
After you’ve quickly scanned for exit doors, windows, and hiding places, briefly close your eyes and concentrate. See the room in your mind, and imagine yourself following that same escape route.
Be sure to visualize multiple routes in your mind in case something happens and you need an alternate route.
Once an active shooter is in the building, all hell will break loose; however, by visualizing yourself following your planned out escape route and succeeding in the attempt, this will allow your brain to be prepared and work with you to help you survive.
4 – Run
Running should always be your first plan of action if it’s at all possible to do so. Regardless of what others are doing, it’s your job to save yourself and get out of there as soon as you can.
Sure, you should yell at people to follow to try and save as many lives as possible, but if they won’t budge you need to bolt for the nearest exit.
If you’re still in danger of the shooter and you see someone wounded, it is important to keep running.
This will probably go against every instinct you have, but consider this: if you stop to help them and the shooter is in your vicinity, that makes you much more vulnerable to becoming a victim, too.
You being shot/killed (even while trying to help another) ultimately won’t help the situation very much.
While you’re running, be sure to keep your hands open and visible at all times. Policemen and other law enforcement will likely be in the area soon (if they aren’t already), and they’ll be trying to distinguish the attackers from the normal civilians. Don’t give them any reason to question you.
If you’re running within a visible distance from the shooter, try to run in a zig-zag pattern, and duck/cover as you go. Hitting a moving target (especially one making unexpected, random movements) is much harder to hit than a target that’s stopped or one that’s running in a straight line.
After you’ve gotten to a safe spot, do your best to help others that are wounded, and to prevent others (except for law enforcement) from entering the building.
5 – Hide
If running isn’t an option, hiding is the next safest best. Find a nearby office or room to hide in. Immediately lock the door (if you can), and then use whatever you can to barricade the door. You want to use anything and everything you can to make it as hard as possible for the shooter to get in.
Once the door is blocked, turn off the lights and turn your phone on silent (you don’t even want it on vibrate mode).
If you can, call 911 to report the shooter; if you can’t speak, call the police anyway and set your phone on the ground so they can hear what’s going on.
If you can’t find a nearby office/room, try hiding behind large objects that can help shield you from bullets. If possible, also try to find something that will allow you to see the shooter, even if they can’t see you. Also look for closets or bathrooms to hide in.
Shooters are often looking for easy targets and will in many cases pick off as many people as possible until they’re taken down. As such, they may knock on the door or yell and claim that they are the police and that you should come out/let them in.
Before you react, THINK. Don’t open the door unless you’re positive it’s not an attacker, and keep low and quiet even if someone is telling you otherwise. It’s better to be a little paranoid and wait for proof that it’s safe than to become a victim.
6 – Fight
If running and hiding aren’t options, your last resort is to fight. Unfortunately, many shooters will not take pity on you if you cower in fear and beg for your life; therefore, it’s best to take the risk and to fight the attacker.
Gunmen often assume that, because they have a gun, everyone will therefore cower in fear and will do whatever they say. As such, they likely won’t be expecting anyone to rush at them and attack.
The highest chance you have at fighting off an shooter is to attack as a group. Most people will initially be afraid to move; but, if you act confidently and yell for help, others are likely to follow you. Remember: courage is contagious.
Your first goal when attacking is to get the gun away from the shooter, and then use it to control them. They can do way less harm to others if you’ve got the weapon.
Being trained in hand-to-hand combat is a huge asset when it comes to fighting off an attacker. However, even if you aren’t a black belt you can still inflict damage by knowing some basic moves, like how to punch, duck and defend yourself correctly.
When you’re preparing to fight off the gunman, it’s also important to grab whatever you can to defend yourself and inflict as much pain as you can.
It’s obviously ideal to be armed in this situation, but if you’re not, you can grab a coffee mug, fire extinguisher, belt, umbrella, pen, chair…anything that can be used as a weapon. You can also shine a flashlight into the shooter’s eyes to blind them.
Once you have the weapon, hit them as hard and as quickly as you possibly can.