The recent shootings in Tennessee and prior shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. and Little Rock, AR have citizens scared. There used to be an air of security surrounding military bases and their facilities. Heavily armed gates, security measures, and a strong case of situational awareness made it seem as if they were impenetrable. Now, they seem just as targeted as other landmarks. I worked as a civilian contractor at the Navy Yard on September 16, 2013, the day several people lost their lives. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself in an active shooter situation.
Panic is a fairly useless emotion. You can’t think logically, and panic spreads faster than wildfire. A group of panicked people is a lot less efficient than a group of calm people. By remaining calm, you can focus on an escape route, console others, or keep an eye out for suspicious behavior. Panicking can lead to making rash decisions and even forgetting how to do normal, every day things. You might forget how to get out of the building or how to use your phone.
Don’t Be A Hero
Except in life-threatening scenarios, do not engage with an active shooter. You could risk putting yourself and others in more danger if you think that you could easily take down the attacker, or have a better strategy than law enforcement. Officers have years of training and guidance from top leadership calling the shots; allow them to do their job.
Contact Family ASAP
Once you reach safety, contact family members as soon as you can. It can be difficult to understand their extreme worry when you know that you’re in a safe area, but the media can play tricks on their mind. Call at least one person, so they can spread the news, and keep them updated throughout the event.
Once law enforcement arrives and takes charge of the scene, follow orders and do not make their job any more difficult than it is. Until you are cleared, you are seen as a potential threat. Keep your hands visible at all times, avoid quick movements, and agree to any checks or inspections. Once you’re escorted to a safe location, you may be asked questions regarding the situation. Provide law enforcement with any details you can recall, such as physical description of the shooter, how many shooters, what type of weapons, and location of shooting.
Being part of an active shooter situation is terrifying, and there is not much you can do to prepare. By envisioning yourself in the situation, you can walk through these steps to help you in case you are ever caught in this scenario. Remember to remain calm and always follow the orders of law enforcement. Unless you or your family is under a direct threat, do not engage with the shooter.
I will never forget that day on the Navy Yard. Thankfully, I wasn’t in the building where it occurred; but we were under lockdown for the entire day. I could recount the day minute-by-minute. It is forever engrained in my mind. People often stop talking about active shooter cases a few weeks after they happen, but the workers at the Navy Yard are still rebuilding.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.