After reading advice from numerous sources. I have come up with my own more realistic steps to take. I know the last thing this old sheepdog is going to do is curl up in a corner and wait to die.
1. Escape if you can. Go! Get out of there, even if others are frozen in place. Leave all your belongings BEHIND! I saw a video of a shooter in a school board meeting in Northwest Florida. When the shooter came in waving his gun around and announced his intentions to open fire, people in the audience spent time gathering up their coats and purses before getting out! Help others escape if they will cooperate. Warning: some people will freeze in fear. There is not a whole lot you can do unless you start dragging or carrying them. That’s a negative, UNLESS they are family.
2. Once you are safe, stop others from unknowingly walking into a deadly situation.
3. Call 911 as soon as possible. While you are waiting for 911 to answer, take a deep breath and try to calm yourself. Most 911 operators will answer by saying, “911, what is your emergency, fire or police?” When stressed, most people will talk way too fast and too loud. Talk in short concise sentences, such as, “There is a shooting at University Plaza.” Take a breath. “I saw three of them at the main entrance.” Take a breath. “All are wearing black, with long guns.” Take a deep breath and wait patiently for the operator to ask questions. Waiting five or ten seconds, while she is typing, will feel like forever. If the 911 operator tells you to stay on the phone, cooperate with her if safe to do so. Yes, give your name. The last thing responding officers want to hear is, “The caller refused his name and hung up.”
4. If you cannot escape, try to hide out of the shooter’s view. Barricade the doors with anything heavy you can find. Get behind heavy furniture, such as desks or file cabinets. If possible, keep an escape route open. Use bathrooms as a last resort; you could get trapped. Lock the doors. Wrapping a belt or pants leg around the door closer might slow down someone trying to force their way in. Sometimes janitors will leave a wooden or rubber door stopper; jamb it under your side of the door. Many restrooms will have a janitor’s closet. Look for objects to barricade the door.
5. If none of the above will work due to time or situation, FIGHT! Attempt to disable the shooter. Get mad and defend yourself! What do you have to lose?
6. In a restroom, use toilet tank lids or toilet seats, metal trash cans or mirrors as improvised weapons. You might find good weapons stored in the janitor’s closet, such as mop handles or a heavy bucket. You might find cleaning chemicals to throw into the bad guy’s face. In office areas, use fire extinguishers, chairs, lamps, broken glass from a picture frame, or mirror, heavy vase, broken furniture, scissors or glass ashtray. Spray the bad guy with the fire extinguisher, and then hit him in the face with it. Use hot coffee, full soda cans, hair spray, bug spray, anything heavy; hit him and hit him hard. Don’t stop hitting him until he is unconscious. Your life depends on it.
7. If you have a gun, use it! If you don’t know how, get trained! Just in the last few days I have heard, on national news broadcasts, numerous sheriffs and police chiefs advising citizens to arm themselves. GET TRAINED, by me or some qualified trainer. Get trained beyond just knowing how to shoot a gun. Get trained on knowing when to shoot and when NOT to shoot.
8. If you are evacuating from a crowded theater, church or mall, get away from the center of the hallway. Get next to the wall. You do NOT want to get caught up in the rushing mob of terrified people who might care less if you get trampled. Next to a wall, you will be able to use the wall for support if you get shoved or knocked down. Walls have windows and doors. You might find an escape route. Malls have numerous stores, often with “back doors” that you can escape through. You do NOT want to get caught up in a mob of dozens or even hundreds of people all trying to escape out the same door. Grab hold of small children and carry them if possible. If children are too big to carry, grab the child’s belt rather than trying to hold onto their arm. The same with adults. Grab each of your family members by the belt and hold on for dear life.