The heinous killing of 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue last weekend is a grim reminder that active shooter events can take place anywhere. The workplace, as we’ve all seen time and time again. Schools, like the one in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a student shot another just this week. Malls and open venues like Las Vegas. And sadly today, even our places of worship. It was only a little more than a year ago—September 24, 2017—that a gunman opened fire at a Nashville, Tennessee church, killing one and injuring seven others. So, how can we better equip ourselves and our organizations for the possibility of such an ever-present threat?
Start by thinking (planning for) worst-case scenario. As horrible as this sounds, if you are prepared for the absolute worst, you will fair much better in any situation. Engage in honest, open dialogue with loved ones, students, co-workers, and others; and just as importantly, plan ahead. FEMA even recommends “mentally rehearsing what to do,” as it can help you react faster and more defensively when every second counts. This includes identifying exits and good places to hide.
Ready.gov, a national public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate against emergencies, including active shooter events, also suggests you:
- Sign up for an active shooter training.
- If you see something, say something to an authority right away.
- Sign up to receive local emergency alerts and register your work and personal contact information with any work sponsored alert system.
- Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
In addition to these recommendations, you might also want to familiarize yourself, your family, and your organization with the emergency response plan(s) of your community, school or place of worship. Also consider taking a basic first aid and CPR class. Learning and practicing first aid skills could ultimately save your life or the lives of others in an emergency (and not just an active shooter event).. Last, but certainly not least, remember the phrase, “Run. Hide. Fight.”
Run – Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority.
Hide – Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet. (Silence your phones!)
Fight – As a last resort, commit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.
On behalf of everyone at BOLDplannning, our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of those who perished at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.