In the world we live in today, shootings have become a common concern for just about anyone. With the number of shootings steadily rising each year, more and more civilians are concerned about what to do if they find themselves in this scary situation. So, what should you do if there is an active shooter? Here are a few key suggestions for civilians need to know.

  • Stay aware

It is a sad fact of the world we live in that leaving the house leaves you vulnerable to becoming another statistic in a shooting. From schools and offices to movie theaters and concerts, nowhere is really safe from a mass shooting. It is important to stay aware no matter where you go and be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior or individuals. Remember, if you see something that feels wrong or out of place, speak up before its too late. You should also be aware of any exit signs or escape routes in any building you enter so you can always be ready to formulate a quick response and get out as soon as possible should something happen.

  • Assess the current situation

You are in public somewhere and you hear the loud popping sound of gunfire. In these situations, fear gives way to panic and panic creates a situation of people running without thinking of where they are running to for the most part. While you want to get as far away from the sound of gun fire as possible, you want to make sure you are running to something like a hiding place or an exit to get out of the building. You should make haste, but you should also assess the situation and make a plan.

  • Make a plan

Let's use the example of a movie theater as our location. If you are in a theater enjoying a movie and hear gunshots that aren't coming from the silver screen, do you have a plan? Once you assess the situation and gather some information regarding the proximity of the shooter and your options, it is time to make a plan. The plan might be making your way to the exit located in your theater, barricading the door with the trashcans, taking cover on the floor, or making a run for it for a better hiding spot somewhere else until you can get to the exit. Whatever the options are, you need a plan.

  • Communicate

When making your plan for how you intend to either escape or wait it out, you should communicate with others. Communication in this type of scenario includes working with others to barricade yourselves or hide from the shooter in a shared location or sharing your escape route with others. A mass shooting can be a traumatic situation for most people not regularly exposed to gunfire so the more you work together the better it will be for everyone involved. Communication also means communicating with the authorities. At the first sound of gunfire, you want to notify the authorities of the location and any known information about the shooter.

  • Don't try to be a hero

This one might get some debate but hear us out here. While you may have purchased a firearm and taken the time to get your concealed carry permit, and you may even have your gun on you that day, there are a few reasons to think twice before trying to save the day. Here, if you aren't trained in this type of situation as a trained professional, the odds may not be entirely in your favor. You should also consider the type of firearm. The odds of you getting in a clean shot enough to disable the shooter with your one-shot-at-a-time revolver when he is most likely working with a semi-automatic firing machine capable of producing 45 shots per minute is slim to none for most concealed carry owners. You should also consider the lives of those around you. If you are in a hiding spot with other civilians, and you open fire and miss, you are putting those lives in imminent danger because now the shooter will shoot in that direction or area. It is best to just run or hide and wait it out for the police to arrive rather than return fire unless you have absolutely no other choice.