By Caden Wilson
Mass shootings are not a new threat to the American public. However, a string of shootings from Las Vegas, to Parkland, to just a few minutes north in Mt. Pleasant have initiated new conversation about how to respond to these tragic events. In an active-shooter situation, it is important to know what to do.
According to the Alma College Student handbook:
“An active shooter can strike anytime, and the events are unpredictable and rapidly changing. Most active shooter situations only last 10-15 minutes. “
Following the 2016 Orlando Pulse Club shooting, Washington Post writer Joel Achenbach published an article detailing the steps to take durring a mass shooting.
Primarily, the first action of someone in the vicinity of an active-shooter situation is to run. It is imperative that you put both distance and hard-cover obstacles between yourself and a shooter. Never run in a straight line or through an open area unless no other option is available to you.
Do not hesitate or stop to take anything with you. Things can easily be replaced. If you have your cell phone on hand, make sure you are a safe distance away from the situation before calling 911. Do not attempt to contact friends or family until it is safe for you to do so.
The student handbook states the following as information that will be vital to relay to first responders:
*Last known location of the shooter
*Number of shooters
*Physical description of shooter(s)
*Number and type of weapons held by shooters
*Number and location of potential victims
*If law enforcement officials arrive on the scene, make sure your hands are clearly visible. In an active-shooter situation, law enforcement officials are looking for individuals holding weapons.
If you are unable to run, an active approach may be key to your safety.
“When you go somewhere, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where if you get found, you don’t have any options,” said J. Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, at the Texas State University in an interview with the Washington Post.
If you cannot safely exit the vicinity, lock the doors and barricade the entrance to your location. This can be done with desks, chairs, and any other things found in the area. Damage to property does not matter as long as you make yourself safe.
After you have secured the entrance to your location, it is imperative that you silence your phone, turn off any lights, and be as quiet as possible. As soon as it is safe to do so, call 911.
Remember, this is a last resort. You should never hide in a confined space or area with one entrance or exit unless there is no other option.
Fighting against an active shooter should be considered as a last resort or when your life is in immediate danger. The student handbook states to strike the shooter with any objects nearby or to attempt to incapacitate him by throwing anything on hand.
The first action of emergency responders will be to stop the shooter and to help anyone affected second. Remain calm and follow all instructions they may give. Keep your hands visible and don’t make sudden movements.
For more information, review the emergency information on the college website: