Stay ready to stay alive: Expert offers tips on preparing for active shooter

“That can’t happen here,” is a common sentiment after seeing a tragedy unfold on the news. Most likely, the people who have been involved in mass shootings thought the same thing. To protect your loved ones, colleagues or even the strangers at the supermarket, being prepared in the event of a shooting can be the difference between life and death.

Officer Jeremy Way, South East Texas Regional Advisory Council, presented an active attacker course at the Jack Hartel Building on Tuesday, May 23, organized by the Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center. May had many recommendations regarding preparation and emergency actions in an active shooter event.

A few of these lifesaving practices in preparation are:

  • Going to an active shooter training such as the one that occurred on May 23. Also recommended is going to a stop & bleed training class. A few hours of training could save a life.
  • Being aware of your surroundings. In the modern era, many people frequently are looking at their phones instead of being conscious of their whereabouts. Noticing an individual with suspicious behaviors walking around a school campus and telling law enforcement could very well save lives.
  • See something, say something. If you notice something out of the ordinary in your comings and goings, notify someone. It could be as simple as a boy at high school wearing a long, black trench coat in the middle of a hot Texas day, as we saw in the Santa Fe shooting that occurred in 2018. Reportedly, the shooter in this incident wore the same trench coat for three days to hide a shotgun and .38 revolver before carrying out the shooting.
  • Look for possible weapons. May recommends going into your office, home or area you typically frequent and take a few minutes to look around the area and audibly name the possible weapons you could use in an active shooter event. May says that naming out loud will probably feel a little strange, and that your coworkers might look at you a little funny, but that it helps to retain it in your memory.
  • Know your exits – ALL of them. When panic sets in during any life-threatening event, many people just think of the door they came through. In the 2003 fire at The Station nightclub where 100 people died, there were several exits available for escape, but almost 40 people died in the foyer of the main entrance because it was the only exit they remembered.
  • May recommends everyone to carry a tourniquet to be able to administer care in case of a gunshot wound. These compact and affordable tourniquets could be a lifesaving tool in the event of other injuries as well. It’s better to be safe than sorry. May stated that he personally uses North American Rescue’s tourniquets because of the quality and price.
  • Ask your kids if they are aware of their school’s policy in the event of an active shooter. If you notice a problem regarding the drills, reach out to administrators and school board members.

During an active shooter event, Way recommends the following:

  • If a shooter walks into a room you are in and it was unexpected, May recommends not to just duck and hide under a desk. Shooters walk into a room with malicious intent, and will not hesitate to shoot what looks like an empty desk. “I’m not going to sit in this chair and let you shoot me,” says Way.
  • Have one specific person call 911. If you make a blanket statement of “Somebody call 911,” the chances are that people will assume someone else has done it, and then no one will have done it.
  • Run, hide, fight. If you can run safely away from the scene, do so quickly. If there are no options to run, then hide in a discreet location (once again, not under a desk). The final option is to fight the shooter. During Tuesday’s training session, Way and his daughter did a scenario of a shooter walking through a doorway. Typically you can see the end of a rifle before the person, so May said to strike downward on the front of the rifle, knocking the butt off of the shoulder of the attacker. Then you pull the attacker in using the end of the rifle and elbow them as hard as possible in the face, upwards on the nose.

“Fight like hell and don’t allow yourself to be a victim,” he said.


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