What you should do in an active-shooter situation -- remember 'Run Hide Fight'

  • “Run, Hide, Fight” is a way to remember what to do in an active shooting situation.
  • Law enforcement agencies recommend escaping if you can, hiding if you can’t, and fighting only if you have to.

Active shootings have become all too common in American life.

What should you do if you find yourself in one?

The US Department of Homeland Security advises remembering: “Run, Hide, Fight.”

The phrase is a quick way to remember what to do in an active-shooter situation, in order:

  1. Run if you can. Keep your hands on or above your head so law enforcement see you’re unarmed.
  2. If you’re stuck, hide (also referred to as “sheltering in place”). Stay quiet.
  3. If the shooter finds you, then fight – with whatever you can (from hot coffee to pens).

Experts generally agree that it’s good advice.

“The problem is that there are no one-size-fits-all answers for these questions,” Dr. Matthew D. Sztajnkrycer, an emergency physician at the Mayo Clinic, said in a clinic publication. “No one can tell us how we should or will act under these circumstances. The general concept of ‘run, hide, fight’ is a good one.”

He continued: “The best thing to do, really, is to empower everyone to do what they feel most comfortable doing, without fear of subsequent repercussions or recriminations.”

The “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol originates from a video the City of Houston made in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security:

Ohio State made its own video example of a simulation on campus:

“If running isn’t an option, and hiding isn’t an option, there is one final reaction that you should only use as a last resort if you are confronted by the shooter: fight,” Adam Tabor, a law-enforcement training and accreditation coordinator for Ohio State, said in the video.

“Make no mistake: You can survive an active shooter incident by remembering and planning ahead to take three important steps – run, hide, fight.”

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