Run, Fight, Hide is the best advice
As part of an ongoing series of events aimed to educate the Westchase District community about public safety concerns, the District hosted a lunch & learn presentation featuring HPD Senior Community Liaison Stephen Daniel talking about how to survive an active shooter.
Coincidentally, the event was held just hours before an armed gunman opened fire at two separate locations in Lewiston, Maine, killing 18 people.
An active shooter by definition is one that will indiscriminately shoot at anyone. The gunman is aiming to kill as many people as possible. According to Daniel, there were 61 active shooter incidents in 2021. They typically occur at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, houses of worship, medical facilities and public spaces, like grocery stores, malls or the Post Office.
There have been four incidents of an active shooter in Houston in recent years, according to Daniel. “You have to have a survivor mentality to escape an active shooter,” said Daniel. Here are few tips provided by Daniel:
- Have a predetermined escape route.
- Assist others, but don’t delay your escape.
- Trust your eyes, not your ears.
- If you do hear loud noises that sound like gunfire, assume it’s gunfire and respond accordingly. Don’t shrug it off, thinking it could be fireworks.
- Leave your belongings behind, but take something with you (scissors, fire extinguisher, knife) that could be used as a weapon.
- Zig zag as you run and avoid groups of people as you make your escape.
These tactics follow the “Run, Hide, Fight” school of thought advocated by the Houston Police Department.
“Escaping is always the best option,” said Daniel. “Remove any bright colored outerwear. Break the window and jump out if you’re on the second floor or lower.”
If you can’t escape, hide and take cover. “Find a closet, storeroom or classroom in which to hide. Lock and barricade the door but stand aside of it in case the gunman starts shooting through the door,” said Daniel. Also turn out the lights and silence your phone.
As a last resort, be prepared to fight the shooter, said Daniel. “Don’t talk to the gunman if they’ve already started shooting. Improvise weapons. A pair of scissors or a fire extinguisher can be used as a weapon against the shooter. Your vehicle can also be a weapon used against an active shooter,” added Daniel. Act aggressively and be committed to taking the shooter down.
Approximately 80 employees of Westchase District businesses participated in Daniel’s active shooter presentation. Officer Daniel is available to speak to employee groups and organizations. Reach out to him at 713-308-3246 or email Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org. The City of Houston has also produced a video on the topic. It is available online.