Active Shooter Awareness: How to be Prepared

Once again, we see an Active Shooter incident in the news. Putting aside any of the political posturing surrounding these events, let’s take a few moments to review some things we can do on a daily basis to increase our levels of safety for us and our families.

Register emergency exits

First, know how to exit. It doesn’t take much effort to find emergency exits. Whether a theater, or open-air event, take note of the alternative exits. Most people will be rushing to exit the way they came in. This may be viable, but, don’t count on it. The alternate exits may be the best choice. If you aren’t familiar with them, you cannot exercise this choice.

Run. Don’t broadcast.

Secondly, be comfortable with running away. If you see something or hear something that scares you, leave the area. These days too many people watch things unfold, many even trying to get cellphone footage. This is ridiculous. Don’t wait for the events to ramp up. If you see two large groups of angry young people (many mass shootings are the result of gang violence that results in more than one shooting victim, hence the designation) looking to square off in violence, instead of trying to capture this footage, leave the area. In the Pulse Nightclub shooting, people were trying to text and call others from their cell phones when their focus should have been on leaving either through a window, door, or makeshift exit.

Look around

Be in tune with your surroundings. Too often I see people who are completely oblivious to what is going on around them. They do not even acknowledge that there is a dangerous looking or acting party. Or, they see such and don’t leave the area on account of being afraid to stigmatize someone. Leave such social niceties to others. Take just a few moments to look around and take note of people who are acting suspicious.

Make use of your self-defense tool

Finally, if you have the option of lawfully carrying a firearm, I would highly recommend doing so. You will almost certainly never need it. And even in an active shooter event you will almost certainly not need it. You will likely be one of the many, leaving the area. But, in the very rare and extreme chance you need a gun, you may have the rest of your life to wonder why you didn’t bring it.

As a final note, please keep in mind, active shooters are rare events. Don’t let the fear of such an event dictate how you live. Just be prepared in the same way we use seat belts and drive defensively.


About the writer

Mike Lazarus
Military and Law Enforcement Veteran
FBI certified firearm instructor
MP5 and Sub Machine gun instructor
Defensive tactics instructor