Expert: Here’s how to survive a mass shooting

Don't Waste Your Money

From Parkland to Pittsburgh, we all realize that these days a mass shooting can happen anywhere, at any time.

If a shooter walked into your workplace, whether an office building, a school or a movie theater, would you know how to survive?

They’re words we’ve heard too many times: “We have an active shooter. Stand by for further information.”

Jim Hardman is a Desert Storm U.S. Army veteran and former police officer who teaches survival classes.

In an active shooting, he says everyone should know three key words: run hide, or fight.

First: Run

Hardman says wherever you are, always know where the exit is.

“I walk into a store or a new business,” he said, “and ask myself where can I get out?”

Hear gunshots? Hardman says run if you can, without running into gunfire.

“If I decide to run, I move with a purpose,” he said. “I’m not just running through the center or a room to try to get away.”

Second: Hide

Hardman says to look for a spot that might stop bullets.

“I position myself to where I’ve got that filing cabinet, that copier, something that’s heavy.”

Hardman says never try to reason with someone already shooting. Statistics show you cannot stop him at that point.

“Once that active killing starts, that rationalization is out the door.”

Obviously, your best bet is to escape. But if you can’t get out, Hardman says the next thing to do is to start barricading the room you’re in, putting heavy everything at the door to keep the shooter out.

“I might just grab an entire desk assembly, slide it over in front of the door, ” he said.

And he says then look for a way to secure the door with a rope or strap.

Once the door’s barricaded, Hardman says to turn off your cell phone’s ringer, as it will give you away, and make the room dark, but closing shades and lights.

The darkness gives you, not the killer, the element of surprise.

“I turn off the lights and that’s what confronts him when he comes in that door,” he said.

Finally: Fight

If the shooter comes in, Hardman says blind him with a flashlight — even your phone’s light — which gives you a chance to knock down his weapon, as he demonstrated to our camera.

Hardman says if you don’t try to reason with a shooter, never run into the path of bullets, and don’t hide under a brightly lit desk.

You’ve just increased your chance of survival.

Interested in learning more? Many local shooting ranges offer training sessions, as do police departments.

The Department of Homeland Security also offers tips and videos, so you stay safe – and you don’t waste your money.


“Don’t Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”).

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