The Oregonian wrote a poignant story a day before the Sandy Hook Massacre about trying to save ones self during from an "active shooter" situation. They wrote no matter who you talk to – the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA or the local police–the basic message is the same: Run, hide, or--as a last resort--fight.
"You're either going to freeze, or survive," Chris Grollnek, a former SWAT officer for the McKinney Texas Police Department and former U.S. Marine, told the Oregonian. "The best target for an active shooter is somebody that freezes."
Last week, hundreds of shoppers at at Clackamas Town Center in Portland, OR did what law enforcement officials say was the best choice--run from the danger. If running wasn't an option, others found a place to hide, behind a locked or barricaded door. They turned off their cell phones and remained quiet. And while there are no reports of anyone trying perhaps the least palatable response--incapacitate the shooter by arming themselves with whatever was at hand--some people undoubtedly did what experts says is the worst thing: They froze.
Here is what FEMA recommends:
When in a public place such as a mall, theater, school:
* Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers. Have an escape route and plan in mind. Take note of the nearest exits in any facility you visit.
If caught in an active shooter event:
* Evacuate: Find an accessible escape path, evacuate the premises. Warn individuals not to enter area where the active shooter may be. Leave your belongings behind. Help others escape, if possible. Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
* Can't run? Hide out: If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide. Lock the door. Silence your cell phone or pager. Even the vibration setting can give away a hiding position. Hide behind large items and remain quiet.
* If you can't run or hide, take action: As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the shooter.
– FEMA/Countermeasure Consulting Group
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