Staying Safe in an Active Shooter Situation

After mass shootings in Ohio and Texas over the weekend, many are searching for answers. How can I keep my family safe? What if this happens to us? No one has all the answers, but our Relevant Radio® show teams are having important conversations to keep you informed and help keep you safe.

“My anxiety level goes up when I’m in a mall or in a theatre or in some other public place because of all these mass shootings. It’s in the back of my mind, well what if it happened here?” said Patrick Madrid, host of The Patrick Madrid Show. As terrible as it is to think about, it’s important to be ready.

Larry, an active shooter trainer from Illinois, trains companies to prevent and be prepared for situations such as this. Madrid asked Larry what practical information he would share with listeners to help them be prepared.

Be vigilant and proactive, Larry said. Look up from your phone so you know what’s going on around you. “Be aware of your surroundings. When you go into a movie theatre, when you go into a Walmart … look for the exit signs. Look for ways in which to get out as quickly as you possibly can.”

He instructed listeners to run, hide, fight. The first course of action is to run. Listen for the direction of the shots and run as far as you can away from the shooter, out of range of their weapon. Second, hide. “Get yourself into a situation where you almost blend in. Be as quiet and as calm as you can possibly be; turn off that cell phone, do not record.”

Lastly, if you’ve run away and hidden (or could not do either of those things), you may need to defend yourself against the shooter. “We don’t want to have to be a part of the problem, but sometimes we’re part of the solution by whether we have to grab something—whether it’s a knife or a fire extinguisher, anything at all as a weapon; a chair. Because if that individual comes close to me and I’m unable to hide, I am going to fight and I’m going to fight back with everything I can possibly give him.”

He also noted that active shooters sometimes use fire alarms to bring potential victims into the open. If you are in an active shooter situation, you hear shots fired and then hear a fire alarm, stay where you are. “It seems counterintuitive to what we’ve been trained all of our years: when you hear a fire alarm to get out of the building. In this particular case when there’s an active shooter present and you’re hunkering down, hold you position at that particular point until you either smell that smoke or see those flames, and then you have to move.”

Lord, please protect us from violence and deliver us from evil. Keep our families and communities safe!

Hear the full segment with Larry:

Read part 1 of the series, El Paso Bishop Reflects on Weekend Violence.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.