The first step in surviving an active shooter is recognizing that no one is more responsible for your safety then you are. It is your responsibility to learn the steps you need to take to save your own life in the event you’re ever in such a tragedy.
First responders are incapable of being everywhere at the same time. And as the events in Parkland have clearly shown, some first responders may simply refuse to take any kind of action to protect others that endangers themselves.
You must prepare yourself mentally to survive and develop a plan of action to take. Examine your daily life and places you visit each day. Look for the exits in every building you enter, making a mental note of their locations if you need to use one of them.
If something happened while you were at work, what actions would you take? How could you get out of the area depending on the location of an attacker? What things are around that you could use as improvised weapons? Something else you should consider is, what are some things near you that could stop a bullet? A backpack or briefcase of books has the potential of stopping many types of calibers and saving your life. Hiding behind a bookshelf or heavy piece of furniture may also work.
The technique taught by most organizations is run, hide and fight. This is good advice but there are limits that cannot be ignored. If you are able to get out of the area then you should. If you cannot leave then try to hide, silencing your cellphone so it doesn’t alert an attacker to your location. And the last option is to fight for your life.
Unless you are certain of the direction of the attacker you may run directly into him. Gun fire can echo causing someone to think there are multiple shooters or that it is coming from a different direction than it actually is. This thought process is heightened by the reality of being in an extremely stressful situation and may lead to bad judgments.
Self-defense training is very important also for anyone who wants to protect themselves. The training you get should go beyond one single discipline. For example, getting firearms training is great but what happens if you are in a building where carrying is not an option? What do you do if you’re in a crowd of people where there is a great risk of hitting an innocent bystander if you use your firearm to protect yourself?
Beyond firearms training, another program I support but am not affiliated with is the ALICE Training Institute which works to help organizations and individuals learn techniques that can save their lives. Expand your training to include multiple things if you want to be truly effective.
There is no single thing we can do to ensure these tragedies will never happen again. Your personal security should be made from levels of various techniques and strategies to keep yourself safe. After developing your plan and getting the training and tools necessary, do not neglect regular practice of your plan in the event you ever need to use it.