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Run, Hide, Fight: Your Guide to Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

In a world where the unthinkable can happen, being prepared is key to survival. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have outlined a simple yet effective strategy for individuals caught in an active shooter situation: Run, Hide, Fight. Let's delve into each action and how you can implement them to increase your chances of survival.

🏃‍♀️ RUN

When gunfire erupts, your first instinct might be to flee, and that's exactly what the "Run" strategy entails. Here's what you need to do:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind: Familiarize yourself with exits and evacuation routes wherever you go.

  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow: Don't wait for consensus. Your safety is paramount.

  • Leave your belongings behind: Material possessions can be replaced; your life cannot.

  • Help others escape, if possible: Extend a helping hand to those who may need assistance.

  • Prevent individuals from entering the area: Warn others of the danger and deter them from entering harm's way.

  • Keep your hands visible when engaging with law enforcement: Avoid any sudden movements that could be mistaken for a threat.

  • Follow the instructions of police officers: They are there to help guide you to safety.

  • Do not attempt to move wounded people: Leave medical assistance to trained professionals.

  • Call 911 when you are safe: Inform authorities of the situation and your location once you've reached safety.


If running is not an option, finding a secure hiding place is your next best bet. Follow these guidelines to increase your chances of survival:

  • Choose a hiding place out of view: Stay low and out of sight of the shooter.

  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction: Seek refuge behind sturdy barriers such as locked doors or heavy furniture.

  • Ensure your hiding place does not restrict movement: You should be able to move freely if needed.

  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture: Create a physical barrier to delay or deter the shooter from entering.

  • Silence your cell phone and turn off noise sources: Eliminate any sounds that could give away your location.

  • Remain quiet: Silence can be your best ally in remaining undetected.

  • Dial 911 if possible: Provide authorities with information about the shooter's location if it's safe to do so.


If all else fails and you find yourself face-to-face with the shooter, it's time to fight for your life. When the shooter is at close range and you cannot flee, your chance of survival is much greater if you try to incapacity him/her. Here's what you can do:

  • Act aggressively: Use any means necessary to incapacitate the shooter and protect yourself and others.

  • Throw items and improvise weapons: Turn everyday objects into tools for defense.

  • Yell: Make noise to attract attention and disorient the shooter.

  • Commit to your actions: Be decisive and resolute in your efforts to neutralize the threat.

Remember, the Run, Hide, Fight strategy is not one-size-fits-all. Assess the situation and apply the most appropriate method for your circumstances. For more information on active shooter preparedness, visit DHS's Active Shooter Preparedness page.

Stay safe, stay vigilant, and always be prepared. Your actions could make all the difference in an active shooter situation.

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