In the wake of the recent Aurora, Colorado, cinema massacre, the US Department of Homeland Security has released a new instructional video on how to survive just such an attack.
The city of Houston prepared the six-minute video, which depicts what at first seems like an ordinary day at the office. Suddenly, a highly-armed man enters the crowded office complex, casually removes his backpack and takes out a gun, which he begins to fire randomly at unsuspecting workers standing nearby. The haunting narration is backed by sobering statistics of recent mass shooting massacres that have taken a high casualty count.
The video hits home that your initial reactions to seeing or hearing the gunman will be key to saving your life in an unimaginable situation. "There are three things you could do to make a difference," the narrator intones, "Run, Hide, Fight". The video advises if you can get away from the area safely, do so as quickly as possible, even if others in the group insist on remaining behind. Encourage others to go with you, but do not let anyone slow you down with their own indecision, as it could cost you your life.
The video reminds us to leave all possessions behind, including purses, handheld devices and money, as they are replaceable, whereas your life is not. Once out of the immediate danger zone, warn others entering the vicinity of what is taking place and contact emergency services.
If you cannot escape the area safely, the video advises people to find a hiding spot, acting quickly and quietly while not drawing attention to yourself. Try your best to keep a handle on your emotions and secure your hiding space as best as possible. Turn off lights and lock all doors if possible, while also silencing the ringer on your cell phone. As news breaks of the shooting on live television, loved ones will be certain to begin calling cell phones, which could reveal your hiding spot. Hide behind large objects and be as quiet as possible.
The video advises, as a last resort and if your life is in immediate danger, to engage the shooter in battle, using any object at hand as a weapon. Anything can be used as a weapon of defense, from a desk stapler to a hot cup of coffee or a fire extinguisher. If there is a large group of people together, they can form a gang to attack the shooter simultaneously, which will disorient him and leave him vulnerable. Commit to your actions once you have begun the attack and maintain momentum, while acting with aggression and screaming loudly.
The video suggests that everyone should have an exit plan and to think about the possibility of such an event taking place at their place of employment, or even in a public place, such as a shopping mall, movie theater or government building. Immediately scan for emergency exits whenever you are in a public place and consider for a moment what you would do if someone should begin shooting at random.
You may view the potentially lifesaving video on YouTube below: