By: Ben Weatherwax
Recent mass shootings have caused a panic and a rise of activism amongst young people across the country, who are uniting to have their voices heard. One thing that seems to be overlooked is training students on what to do if there is an emergency involving an active shooter on school grounds. The Department of Homeland Security suggests a three step plan of action when dealing with a shooter. Their method is, “run, hide, fight.” This simple process, if more commonly known, could save countless lives if there is ever an emergency on our school campus, or anywhere you encounter a dangerous situation.
Saratoga Springs High School has a “See something, say something” policy. By actively being aware of your surroundings and reporting suspicious behavior to security or administration, you may be able to prevent the need to follow the suggested steps for surviving a traumatic event.
In the event of an emergency, specifically a shooting, the first recommendation is to get down, find cover, and assess where the shooting is occuring. Once you know where the shots are coming from, if you can safely run away, take the opportunity to do so. Acting before assessing the situation may put you at increased risk. For example, you might find yourself running toward the shooter or into the shooter’s line of sight.
If you assess that it is unsafe to run away, the next best option is to hide in a place outside of the shooter’s line of sight. If possible, find a room with a lock and use it. If a locked door is unavailable, barricade the door as well as you can. Hide out of sight and call 911 as soon as it is safe to do so. After calling, silence or turn off your cell phone so that it will not make noise and jeopardize your hidden location. While hiding, scan your surroundings for anything you can use as a weapon, if you end up needing to fight.
In the worst case scenario, you may need to attack the shooter. Use whatever you can as a weapon, and if possible, attack in a group if you are hiding with other people. Aim your attack at the head, or other soft, sensitive parts of the body. Pushing the gun away is a smart idea. Attack to kill. Don’t hesitate; he is trying to kill you.
There are many courses available to take, teaching how to disarm an active shooter, including numerous youtube tutorials. You can also ask any military member or police officer to demonstrate, as disarming is part of their training and their job is to help us create a safer community.