Surviving an Active Shooter

The odds finding yourself in an active shooter scenario are slim, but for the victims of these incidents, the odds don’t really matter.  If you are in public when you hear gun fire, it won’t matter if it is workplace violence or an act of terrorism, survival will be your only concern.  Here are some ways that you can improve your odds of surviving an active shooter scenario.

Here are some ways that you can improve your odds of surviving an active shooter scenario.


Do Not be a Bystander

Do not watch the incident unravel, or worse yet, try to capture it on your phone.  If you are not armed and ready to commit to engaging the shooter yourself, then you need to take cover behind something that is capable of stopping bullets, and ultimately to get out of the area.

Secure Your Area

After you have taken cover, escape should be your goal.  In some circumstances, you may only be able to escape the immediate area, such as the room the shooting is taking place in, but not the whole building.  In cases like this, secure the area you have escaped to as well as you can.  Lock the door (if you are in a mall, close the rolling cage doors to the business), turn out the lights so as to make it look like no one is in the room, barricade the door if possible, and silence your phone.  Do everything you can to make the shooter pass up your location and continue on.

Sound the Alarm

Once you are able, call 911 or pull the fire alarm of the building you are in.  Do whatever you can to get law enforcement to respond.  But do not draw undue attention to yourself in doing so, it could be 15 minutes before law enforcement arrives, and when they do they will not likely rush in before securing the greater area.

Defend Yourself

If you are not armed with a firearm yourself, fighting an active shooter is the last resort, but it may be your only option.  Look in your area for anything that you can use as a “force multiplier”.  A fire extinguisher is a good option that is available in most settings.  It will impair the shooters ability to see, to breath, and therefore to effectively use their weapon.


Despite the unlikely nature of an active shooter threat, for many this has become a reality.  Don’t assume that it won’t happen to you, arm yourself, train, and be ready.

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