Run, Hide, Fight : The Active Shooter Protocol


In light of active shooter incidents around the U.S. in recent years, the active shooter protocol has been closely examined for effectiveness. Run, Hide, Fight is the response tactic to an active shooter that many programs have been endorsing for years. However, as we have seen lately, this may not be the best way to protect oneself in the midst of the action.

The well-known video and action plan was created by the Department of Homeland Security to act as the national protocol in the instance of an active shooter. The plan has three steps, which are to be carried out chronologically based on individual situations, (run, hide, and fight). This technique was added as an extra layer of protection for schools after the original lockdown-only approach failed to protect children in the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. While the U.S. Department of Education decided to implement the strategy in schools, they negate the last phase of the protocol and teach only two steps to kids in grades K-12.


Run, Hide, Fight – Each phase explained …

Run, is most often an individual’s automatic response, but it is still the first phase of the active shooter protocol. The concept of this step is to get as far away from the center of the action as you can. Most schools and offices have a safe zone, where you are taught to meet in an emergency, this should be your destination if you can reach it safely. If the specified location has been compromised, it is recommended to continue running until you can get to safety. During this step of the protocol Humanity Impact’s bulletproof bag offers you a much higher level of protection. While running, the bulletproof shield, located in the unique shield compartment will deter ammunition rated IIIA and under, allowing the runner to face forward and focus on their speed and their destination.


Hide, is the second step. This phase is more commonly associated with school lockdowns. During a lockdown, the doors to classrooms are locked while students hide from sight and remain quiet. For those in a workplace environment, it is recommended to hide under a desk, in a closet, or somewhere away from the shooting. In the video produced by DHS, people are shown hiding in copy rooms and barricading doors so that the shooter can’t enter. In this instance, Humanity Impact’s anti-ballistic bag can be placed over the chest region of the body in order to cover vital organs until law enforcement arrives. While hiding, if its possible call 911 from the safe room, without making noise or drawing attention to yourself. There are apps available to download on your mobile device which offer a one-touch panic button if a phone call is not feasible.


Fight, is the final option and may be the most controversial. In some instances, the only choice one might have is to fight and it’s incredible what people can do when faced with this life or death choice. This step is not taught to grade school students, for obvious reasons. President Obama made it a point to acknowledge that no one wants to imply that young children should face attackers, but the teachers and faculty members in these situations may have to analyze risk and take action in order to protect their students.


Naturally, with all the deaths and injuries associated with school shootings, there is a constant debate regarding whether this is the most effective method of protection and the reality is each phase has its flaws. Running, for example instead of hiding could mean that individuals actually put themselves in the face of danger and become vulnerable. Yet, in the same breath, others believe hiding makes people an easy target, declaring that if the shooter were to gain access to the hiding location there’s no escape. In all actuality, either of these options could leave you with no choice but to fight the attacker, which while heroic, increases the risk by over 50%.


In Conclusion …

Developing a plan A, plan B and plan C is necessary when preparing for any emergency, because unfortunately intense situations are almost never predictable. The best action plan depends on the situation, so we suggest taking workshops or online courses, that teach critical thinking skills as well as calming techniques that will enable you to manage emotions and make reasonable decisions in stressful emergency situations. We hope that no one will find themselves in a dangerous situation where its imperative to employ this protocol, but knowing the information is half the battle and we are here to ignite your pursuit of knowledge.

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