Run. Hide. Fight.: Surviving an Active Shooter Event
By Katlin Swisher
From 2000-2013, 160 active shooter situations occurred in the U.S., killing 486 individuals and wounding 557 others. An active shooter is defined as an individual who is actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a public place, regardless of the number of individuals wounded or killed. Through its Run. Hide. Fight. program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has established a nationwide active shooter prevention effort by educating law enforcement departments and citizens on how to respond in these crises.
“Our primary goal is to help people be aware of what their response should be in this type of situation and what actions to take,” says Brad Orsini, FBI special agent and crisis management coordinator for the FBI’s Pittsburgh Division, which covers all of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. “We encourage participants to have a survivalist mindset and commit to some type of action or response.”
In addition to continuing education courses for law enforcement professionals, the FBI offers training in crisis management and critical responses to active shooter incidents in local communities. They partner with local law enforcement to conduct trainings at schools, athletic venues, businesses and large commercialized areas like shopping malls. Numerous trainings have occurred at West Virginia locations this year, including the FBI Citizens Academy and the Huntington Mall, and with law enforcement professionals from Granville, Fairmont and Wheeling.
Depending on the crisis, the FBI encourages individuals to commit to one of three actions:
- Run. Leave everything behind to evacuate while helping others escape—if possible—or prevent others from entering the area.
- Hide. Lock or block yourself in a safe place outside of the shooter’s view.
- Fight. Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
The last step is encouraged as a last resort. Individuals are also encouraged to silence their cell phones and call 911 during all of these steps.
Run. Hide. Fight. training recognizes that individuals who are trained to respond will be anxious and afraid, but they will have the ability to recall their training and commit to act. On the contrary, untrained individuals will experience feelings of panic, disbelief, denial and helplessness, which could prevent them from taking any action.
“We want to help people build their confidence in these types of situations and be accountable to act,” says Orsini.
Run. Hide. Fight. is a response to an FBI study of active shooter incidents from 2000-2013. The study showed that active shooter incidents have increased, on average, by 156 percent from the first seven years of the study, when there was an average of 6.4 active shootings, to the last seven years, with an average of 16.4 active shootings. Forty-six percent of the incidents occurred in areas of commerce and 24 percent in education-related areas. However, 13.1 percent of the incidents ended after unarmed citizens successfully restrained the shooter.
To learn more about this program and how to prepare yourself and your employees for a potential incident, schedule a presentation by contacting Orsini at Bradley.Orsini@ic.fbi.gov.