Regular people like you and me can take a stand and make a difference when an active shooter situation occurs.
April 20, 1999
Up until this date, local law enforcement and fire departments worked with their hands and heads in protecting their communities. All the general public had to know was Duck and Cover for emergency situations. Then Columbine happened and Duck and Cover became obsolete.
Recently, I attended an Active Shooter Training led by Deputy Lane of the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department, a division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. As an active shooter response trainer, he shared valuable information on how to be prepared should you find yourself in such an event.
What prompted Deputy Lane’s department to become a national leader in active shooter training for every-day citizens? When two of its officers were first responders at the San Bernardino Terror Attack in December, 2015 and saw firsthand the need for everyone in a community to learn how to be aggressive, form teams and move towards the sound during an active shooter situation.
The average response time for first responders to any emergency situation in the United States is 3 minutes. The average time for an injured person to receive medical treatment is 10-15 minutes. Because time is of essence, average citizens must be willing to be proactive in an active shooter event.
The number one enemy in a live active shooter situation is denial – that it could never happen here. The root causes for denial is normalcy bias (pretending that nothing really happened) and social proof (needing someone of authority to confirm what was seen/heard). Realizing that an active shooter situation is possible anywhere and having a plan of what to do in the case of an event, pushes denial out of the way and makes room for positive choices in an extremely tense environment.
Some additional tips regarding RACE 2 Safety:
**React means to RUN-HIDE-FIGHT. There is no specific order to use; each situation will be different. “Shooters want a body count,” stressed Deputy Lane. “They go to where the masses are.” By running away, it thins out the masses. If you have to hide, hide low to the ground. And if you fight, be 100% dedicated to the cause to live.
**Activate when it is safe to go forward. Cal 9-1-1 and leave the phone open and on silent to aid first responders in finding you.
**Having situational awareness before, during and after an event can be the difference between life and death. My husband prides himself by always sizing up a situation when entering a crowded place like a movie theater or church, knowing where the exits are.
Unfortunately, we live in day and age that active shooters are a real possibility. Having a plan should you find yourself in this situation will bring clarity, confidence, and a cool head as you work to a positive outcome.
For additional information on how to respond to an active shooter, visit the Homeland Security website.