Hearing gunshots at your office or school is never a good thing. When you hear bullets flying, this means there’s an active shooter situation in the vicinity.
2018 became one of the worst years for school shootings. Incidents ramped up and there were more victims than ever before.
In the worst-case scenario a school shooting happens, prepare yourself. You want to learn what to do in an active shooter situation.
In this guide, we’ll give you everything that you need on how to survive a school shooting. Mastering these tips can help increase your chances of survival:
1. Inside the Mind of a School Shooter
Before we learn how to survive a school shooting, we need to start by understanding the person. We need to know what’s in the mind of a school shooter. This can help you identify any warning signs before the event happens and how they think.
The average school shooter’s psyche tends to be a person with a problematic origin. There are many factors that lead to people becoming shooters themselves.
The vast majority of school shooters are male and tend to be current or recent students of a school. The dominant reason why these people shoot schools is due to anger and rejection. Most times, these people are those who have bullies, harassers or feel rejected in school.
These people feel that there are wrongful judgments against them, especially by authority figures like teachers. School shooters are awkward loners. They retreat to fantasy and are obsessive in their goals.
What Can Lead to School Shooters?
School shooters may also have histories of cruelty at home. They can be cruel to animals or are victims of a disjointed life with their homes and family. They lack the right guidance and mentoring, considering the adults as traitors.
Even if they have problems at home, one of the things that they have plenty of is access to weapons. They will have family members who have firearms at home. This means there is ease of access with concealed or high-powered weaponry.
In their public life, school shooters tend to have little to no outlets of their frustration. Art or social media can become their tools, but that can only do so much for their purposes. With the levels of rejection they get day in and day out, a major event will break them.
2. What to Do in a School Shooting?
Don’t know what to do in an active shooter situation? The philosophy of protecting yourself from a school shooter boils down to three things. These are:
Run, hide and fight should happen in succeeding priorities.
Your top priority is to run away from the source of the shooting itself. Creating distance for yourself and getting out of the vicinity should be your first order of business.
Your second priority is to hide. If there’s no way for you to run, hide in places where people can’t find you. You need a way to buy yourself some time to call the authorities and handle the situation.
The last priority is to fight. If you cant’ run and can’t hide, you would want to give yourself a fighting chance. There is little you can do against a shooter, but disabling the shooter at the first opportunity can be useful.
You can learn what more you can do in school shooting training like one from Fighting Chance Solutions.
3. Run: Evacuate and Exit the Vicinity
Running is the most crucial action that you can do. Knowing how to survive a school shooting relies on your ability to find the nearest exit and run. If there is a way out, run away as fast as you can.
Get out whether you have the approval of others or not. If there are people with you, advise them to flee with you as fast as possible. Make an exit through a window or emergency exit, even at the cost of property damage.
If the shooter is not in your area yet, you want to stay low and get out.
Don’t go to the source of the gunshots. School shooters are there to make as large damage as possible. You can expect indiscriminate firing in all directions.
Once you’re out of the vicinity, call 911 or the nearest police department. Call as many authorities as you can to get people to respond. You can expect people to get hurt, so the best help you can do is make sure there are medics on standby.
4. Hide: How to Survive a School Shooting by Hiding
What if you can’t get out? If there’s no way for you to run, the best thing you can do is hide. This is not, however, like the traditional hiding that you see on TV.
The best spot to hide in a school has some crucial factors.
Reinforcing Your Hiding Spots
One, you can lock it from the inside. A locked door will help discourage a school shooter from going to the area, as it will take effort to penetrate. School shooters can be impatient, so they won’t waste time unless the target is in the locked room.
Two, you want a hiding spot that is unlikely for the shooter to go to. This can be a janitor’s room or in an archives room. Areas, where a student or employee will not go to, are great hiding spots because of their scarcity.
You want to avoid rooms near wide, open spaces and public arteries. You don’t want to stay in rooms where people converge like canteens or teacher’s lounges. If your rooms don’t have locks, use cables and ties to prevent doors from opening.
If you can, do an active form of hiding. This means moving from one secure area to another, with the goal of running way. This is a good way on how to survive a school shooting.
Hiding is always a second option. The top priority is to find ways to exit the vicinity. Destroy windows if you are in the first or second floor.
5. Fighting Back: How to Defend Yourself During a School Shooting
The last option is to fight. Fighting back, however, does not mean challenging the school shooter to a fair one on one fight. You want you and everybody else in the room to be active in attacking once he gets near.
You want to hide in an active position where you can stay low but rise as soon as possible. Arm yourself and be ready once the shooter opens the door.
One of the best recommendations when fighting back is to have items you can use as projectiles. You want hard items that can cause a concussion at the drop of a hat. This includes paperweights, staplers, scissors, mugs, and even letter openers.
Aim for the head. Knowing how to survive a school shooting means finding ways to disable the active shooter. Aiming for the head with a hard object can put them in a daze.
Taking Advantage of an Opportunity
Once you finish aiming for the daze, you and everyone near you have one opportunity. Everyone needs to sack the shooter and pin him down together. This is not a matter for one or two people, but rather for everyone.
Swarm the shooter with as many bodies as there are available. The more people who pin the shooter down, the better.
Try to disarm him first. Pin the shooter’s entire body and remove their firearms. Taking away their firearms means removing their most lethal option available.
Once you disarm, you want to incapacitate the shooter. This is not the time to fight clean or light too. Break some bones if you have to, as this can prevent the shooter from fighting back.
Remember that there’s a real risk when you fight back. If the shooter is attentive enough, they can land a shot without an issue. There is, however, the same risk and, even more, if you don’t fight back.
6. Key Takeaways
First, make sure that you have the proper training and preparation. Understand the layout of your school building and identify active areas that lead outside.
Don’t be a hero. Save yourself first and call authorities to handle the entire situation. Don’t try to confront, make a deal or ask the shooter to stand down.
Where you can, do some survival training. These can help give you a clear mind, especially in these situations. Second-guessing your actions can put you and everyone around you in harm’s way.
Having your mind and body ready to run away can help preserve your life.
Know What to Do in an Active Shooter Situation
Knowing what to do in an active shooter situation is crucial to your survival. Having focus and commitment to everything that you do is a valuable skill in these moments.
If you are looking for more survival tips, you can check out our other guides. We have many different tips and tricks that can help give you a better chance in emergency situations.