In Part 1 of Run-Hide-Fight, we discussed how to assess your available choices in an active shooter situation and why being prepared to run away from danger is your best bet to survive an incident. But how does one properly prepare, and what does a sound escape plan look like?
In this Part 2, we’ll discuss how to create your plan, and you’ll come to understand a key aspect of situational awareness: knowing your exits.
Shots Fired. Are You Ready?
In the event of an active shooter scenario, you’ll need to be prepared to make split second decisions. While the assessment we discussed in Part 1 might influence your choices in the moment, advance planning can make your decision easier and could mean the difference in the survival of you, your friends, family, and colleagues.
What is the most likely point of entry for a shooter? Where are your first, second, or third options for escape? What essentials will you take with you that can aid the situation, like your phone or a small first aid kit? Have you identified a potential rendezvous point in case you’re separated from your group?
Making thoughtful or even material preparations that answer questions like these can help you get ready to run and evacuate the facility if the situation calls for it.
In a familiar environment, like your workplace or local grocery store, identifying your exits is easy. But what about places you’re less familiar with, like a public space or event? That’s where situational awareness comes in.
Where Are Your Outs?
In a familiar environment, like your workplace or local grocery store, identifying your exits is easy, and an excellent way to solidify your escape plan. But what about places you’re less familiar with, like a public space or event? That’s where situational awareness comes in.
Imagine you’re on the highway with the environment around you constantly changing. If something happens, where is your bailout to avoid an accident? By using your mirrors and checking your blind spot, you can develop a course of action should something go wrong like a blown tire, debris in the roadway, or even someone just stopping quickly in front of you.
This is situational awareness, a critical part of active shooter training and a learned skill you can use to devise an escape plan in unfamiliar environments. How many exits are there; which is closest? In an open space, what escape routes are least exposed to a potential shooter? Are security personnel or first aid on site? And so on.
As we’ve said, in an active shooter incident there are precious few moments to spare – identifying a route to safety in advance can help you make the most of them.
Having an escape plan is critical of course, but executing it requires an understanding of how to assess your situation to ensure that your escape plan is safe. Violence is unpredictable and even the best planning may need to be altered. With preparation and practice, you will gain the confidence and assessment skills you need to survive and mitigate the worst outcomes.