I recently attended a training session here at the US Bank Center on what to do if an active shooter entered the building. While it seems unlikely any of us will ever find ourselves in this situation, thinking and preparing could mean the difference between life and death.
Lieutenant Sam Kamkar <www.samkamkar.com> of the Eugene Police Department led the session, and these were his main points:
The number-one goal: survive.
Yes, it sounds obvious. But the focus of the training was to develop a survival mindset in advance of an event occurring, using awareness, preparation and rehearsal. This can help us to react intelligently in a live situation rather than panicking and making mistakes that could get us or others killed. If a shooter is in the area, follow these principals:
This mindset applies when someone is actively shooting with the intent to kill, but not in a robbery or hostage situation, which requires a different set of guidelines.
If you hear gunshots or even think you hear gunshots, immediately take action to protect yourself and survive. Don’t think about it or talk it over, just act. Your actions will depend on your environment, so always be aware of an exit or protective strategy in your surroundings.
Another point: Gunshots sound nothing like they do in movies. They are more like “pop” sounds that can be difficult to track because of the way sound bounces around.
If you think you can quickly exit the building, do so. Break a window, run out a back exit — whatever it takes. And then call 911.
Otherwise, look for a room that can be locked from the inside. It could be your office or a storeroom. Barricade the door, if possible. Turn off the lights and silence your cellphone so the shooter cannot hear it, should it ring.
Last resort: Attempt to take out the shooter by throwing objects or otherwise disabling him. Do it with quick determination; your survival is at stake. Even if you get shot, only 20 percent of gunshot wounds result in death. You may get shot and still be able to tackle the shooter, and others can then assist in further disabling.
Again, the number-one message stressed throughout the training was to tell yourself that you are going to survive, and then do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. Having an active survival mindset prepared in advance will help you deal with the situation better and avoid being crippled by fear or panic.
This video also goes over the concepts that were discussed:
I want to thank the Eugene Police and the US Bank Center for making this training session available. It is not a pleasant subject, but important nonetheless.