nbhd watch by Stef Juan

What to Do When You Find Yourself in a Live Shooter Situation

The three golden rules: Escape, Evade, Eliminate. Spread the word.

It’s only been a few days since the horrific incident at Resorts World Manila where a lone gunman attacked innocent people in the mall, set fire on some casino tables, fired some shots, and later killed himself. We are still reeling from the news of the 37 people who have died from smoke inhalation and 54 people reported injured. Unlike the United States, which had 477 mass shootings in 2016 alone, we as a country are not used to civilians walking into a public place and start shooting at people.

However, as recent events have taught us, it can still happen. But while this is in no way encouraging you to stay in your homes in fear or paranoia, it helps to be alert and more aware of your surroundings. We asked security expert and disaster preparedness expert Noel Ison, founder of Alpha 3 Crisis Management, what we are supposed to do to get out alive when caught in a situation like that of Resorts World.Alp

“Run, hide, fight,” he replied promptly. “What I refer to as the three Es: Escape, Evade, Eliminate.” He points out too, that knowing what to do beforehand, and knowing what to look for, is something that you and your family can start training for right now.

shooter---escape#1: ESCAPE

Locate the shooter. Look or listen to where the shots are coming from. How many shooters are there, and which ones are of the immediate threat to you? Get away from them, but don’t run into the other shooters. Run away from the shooter(s) and toward an exit. But, when running away, make sure you keep your head down and run in a crouch (it’s not that hard, unless you have a bad knee or back, but your knee and back would be the least of your concerns). Open areas might make you a target, so be careful when crossing them. Stay away from walls because bullets often travel within six inches from a wall.

Prep Tip: Always know your possible exits as soon as you enter an area. Figure out what you can use as cover.

shooter---evade#2: EVADE

If you can’t escape, get inside a room and barricade the door. Make it look like the room is empty. Turn off the lights and be very quiet. Keep the kids quiet and turn your cell phone on silent mode. Be ready to fight in case the shooter enters the room. You’re already cornered and have nothing to lose.

Prep tip: Take note of the rooms you can hide in and barricade. Determine what weapons you can bring with you. Know how to silence phones quickly.

shooter---eliminate#3: ELIMINATE

Fighting is your last resort, but when you do have to fight, do so decisively and do not hesitate. It wouldn’t be likely that the shooter is interested in negotiations. Use weapons, improvise if you have to. Team up with others if possible, you all would want to get out of there alive. And if you’re not able to eliminate the shooter, fight enough to get away.

Prep tip: Train your mind to be decisive and not hesitate. Look for weapons or what could be used as weapons, for example: Fire extinguishers can be used as clubs or shot as smoke screens.

shooter---fireIn case there is smoke, like at Resorts World: CRAWL away from the shooting. There is usually clean space within two feet from the floor. Before opening the doors, feel the doorknobs using the back of your hand. This will keep you from gripping the doorknob in case there’s an electric current on the door caused by live wires that came loose and are touching the door (it does happen in fire), and also, if it’s hot there could be fire on the other side of the door, or a back draft waiting to happen.

Prep tip: Know your exit route ahead of time and plot how to go through it in the dark (as the case during a fire and when there’s smoke). Feeling the wall usually helps, and knowing how many doors and corners along the exit route.

In all the stages of your response, remember these:

1. Once safe and out of the line of fire, call the Philippines Emergency Hotline 911 ASAP.
2. Constantly observe the situation. How many shooters, where are they, and where are they moving to?
3. Keep on trying to find a way out.
4. Once you get out, keep your hands up. Make sure you show the Law Enforcement Authorities your hands and that you are not a threat. Follow their instructions. Remember that they may have no idea yet who the bad guys are, so as far as they are concerned, you could be a bad guy. You don’t want to be the one who escaped only to be gunned down by the good guys.

Art by Mags Ocampo

Stef Juan
is a hoarder of books, yarns (wool, cotton, and rigmaroles), and sundry information about anything. She likes learning and listening to purveyors of said sundry information, and hanging out with fluffy animals. She juggles words and stories for a living as a freelance writer.
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