How to protect yourself from an active shooter

Kristen Johanson
November 08, 2018 - 2:35 pm
North Miami Police Department and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Police take part in an active shooter drill at North Miami Senior High on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It seems like a mass shooting could happen anytime, anywhere.  

Law enforcement officials actively conduct drills and practices for police officers and emergency personnel, but what can do you do to protect yourself? 

"Your first course of action is to find an escape route," said Melvin Singleton, chief inspector of homeland security for the Philadelphia Police Department.

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If you encounter a situation of chaos and panic, he said to remember these three words: Run. Hide. Fight.

"The natural inclination of any person in that situation is to start running," said Singleton. "The goal is to get to an exit."

But if you can't escape, get cover — behind "something that would stop a bullet, something thick, something hard; doors, anything you can get behind" — and stay absolutely silent.

"The other thing about hiding is that you want to be out of sight, out of sound of the shooter," he added.

But if all else fails, "fight for your life," Singleton said, "by any means available to you."

Most departments across the country offer free threat assessments, he noted, where an officer will walk through a business, school or church and advise what changes — like more lighting or extra alarms or exits — could help prevent tragedies and save lives.