Run-Hide-Fight! Strategies To Use in an Active Shooter Situation

Run-Hide-Fight! Strategies To Use in an Active Shooter Situation

After the recent August 3rd active shootings, the reality is more salient now than ever: we ALL need to be prepared for this type of scenario. Here, self defense expert, Chad Talbot, provides actionable life safety measures to take to help when it counts.

Chad Talbot has been kept very busy lately — unfortunately. He is a go-to fountain of knowledge for how to protect yourself — and those around you — in an active-shooter situation.

His 911 Academy, based in San Diego, is a disabled-veteran-owned company staffed by current and former U.S. military and special operations instructors from our Armed Forces. These include Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and Force Recon & Rangers. Also on hand are criminal defense attorneys and law-enforcement instructors. The academy’s ultimate goal: to provide a wakeup call.

Chad was a SWCC operator who specialized in providing small-caliber gunfire support on specialized high-tech, high-speed, and low-profile Surface Combatant Craft to secretly infiltrate and ex-filtrate Navy SEALs on Special Operations missions worldwide.

Chad Talbot Chad Talbot

According to a recent webinar by The Institute for Real Estate Management (IREM), there were 280 active aggressor events from 2000 to 2017. In those events, 831 people were killed, and 1520 were injured. Commercial businesses took the brunt of the tragedy, at 45 percent. This was followed by schools (24 percent), outdoors (19 percent) and other miscellaneous places (12 percent).

You all don’t need us to tell you that horrific occurrences like these have not slowed down. The terrible events that occurred in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH just two weeks ago on August 3 highlight that now, more than ever, we need to do everything we can to prepare for active shooter situations. We believe Chad is the right professional to provide us with practical tips for surviving an active shooter incident. His advice is helpful information that as a property manager, you should be passing along to tenants and those who utilize your building so that they are better informed on best ways to protect themselves.

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Here are some of his rules of thumb to pass along:

Run. Hide. Fight.

This rule is something most of us have heard and may sound like common sense, but it’s not always so common in execution, unfortunately. Many victims are taken by surprise in the heat of the moment. They’re not sure what to do, so they freeze. Knowledge is empowerment: run if you can, hide if you can, and fight if need be- in that order. Ultimately, your first goal should be to get out of the situation. Look for any opportunity for a safe escape, and try to take as many people with you on your way out of danger. However, in some situations you may not be able to escape without putting yourself in further danger. In these situations, hide. Realize that if you are hiding, you may have to eventually fight. If you are in a corner and there is no way out, you may not have a choice but to fight.

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Know where the impact is coming from.

If you don’t know where the gunfire is coming from, you may start running aimlessly, in a panic. However justified your running away may seem, you are doing yourself a disservice because your running will help track the shooter’s eye movement (think of a video game). Get down low to the ground, try to stay still if possible, and try to figure out where the gunfire is actually coming from.

This may sound morbid (and it is), but if a victim near you is hit in the left side, that means that the shooter is working from the left side of the area. Move away from the gunfire (in this case, to the right). In other words, escape in the opposite direction.

Use a body as cover.

This is definitely a morbid thought to consider, but it could actually save your life. If the person next to you is shot dead, use them as your cover. You may never want to go to horrible extremes like that, but in these situations, you need to pull something at you in order to protect yourself. Being covered, or lying under a body, may save your life because you may not become a target yourself.

If you’re going to be a target, be a hard one, not a soft one.

Attackers want what are known as “soft targets.” Those are the people who are easy to pick off: if you’re looking at your phone and not looking up, for instance. Be a hard target instead. Even if you are merely walking to your car in a parking lot, look up and be aware of your surroundings. If someone is approaching and you sense foul play, make eye contact with him or her so that you can identify him or her. That may even discourage him or her (although there are no guarantees).

Here’s our recent blog post on how to devise an action plan to address an active shooter.

Use “groupthink.” Attack together.

If you are sitting in a bar and an active shooter makes themselves known, think about what is in your environment that you can use immediately as a weapon. In the case of a bar, it would be the drink you’re holding in your hand. If 30 or 40 people throw their drinks at the shooter, he will be too busy ducking and maybe blinded by the drinks and the glass, which gives you and others the opportunity to tackle him and secure his weapon. In order to reduce active shooter incidents, people must learn to act collectively, as a group. Often in active shooter situations, everybody is “disconnected.” Because everyone is panicking and scrambling, nobody is thinking of working together. Everybody needs to be trained in this kind of groupthink on the spot and to come together to develop an action plan at the same time. Criminals need to realize that society has come up with a plan to effectively deal with active shooter incidents. Come together as a group and attack together, with a plan.

Be aware.

Most people don’t make the active effort to scan their environment to really see what’s going on — or what may be about to go down. Take a momentary pause and look around you. Before you get into your car, walk around it. Check underneath it. If you’re in a seemingly safe area, it may not immediately occur to you to take precautions like this. The technical term for it is “situational awareness:” identify the threat and make an intelligent decision on how you are going to react to that threat. It’s a combat mindset. When your awareness is heightened, your combat awareness is kicked into play.

If you do find yourself in a dangerous situation, be aware of how you can use your surroundings to help you. Chad says, “It’s not just about the weapon, but what’s in your environment and what’s available to you. It’s about how to use your environment to your tactical advantage, whatever that may be.” Now may be the time to educate your tenants on environmental aspects of your site that they may be able to use to their advantage in a worst-case scenario.

Check out our blog post on parking lot safety tips.

This one is directed to you, the property manager: spare no expense when it comes to property surveillance.

On many properties, direct access is all-too-readily available. As a landlord or property manager, your first safety priority should be perimeter security. If you are able to stop an active shooter incident before it happens rather than when it happens, you give yourself and your tenants a fighting chance.

The most ideal situation: gated communities, with 24/7 surveillance and non-negotiable access cards. Many communities don’t have any staff who monitors who can come in and who can’t. A gate guard who waves at visitors as they go by is not doing any good.

Unfortunately, if you encounter an active shooter who is highly motivated, it may be hard to stop them from doing their hateful damage. That’s why you need to make perimeter security a first priority.

Kings III emergency telephones are another way to help connect your tenants to safety in any type of emergency, large and small. Our life safety solutions cover both the expected and unexpected that are part of our modern-world reality. Think of it: a help phone in parking and common areas, stairwells, and building exteriors can mean the difference between life and death. The phone lines are dedicated, which means no dropped calls or lost cell phone signals. Our staff is on the job 24/7/365, with all of your pertinent information at hand, ready to send help and stay with your tenants until help arrives. Our emergency phones are assigned an automatic location ID, saving time and providing accuracy for our operators who don’t have to rely on a panicked caller to know exactly where they are.

Kings III’s operators are trained higher than those in most 911 centers and are able to provide pre-medical instructions until help arrives, if needed. Additionally, we can provide aid to callers in over 175 languages which can prove invaluable.

Find out how Kings III helps property managers with emergency preparedness and emergency response — visit us at

Find out more about 911 Academy.

Read more on the Department of Homeland Security’s advice on active shooter preparedness.

Building Your Emergency Action Plan


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