Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

How To Survive A Shooting

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While chances are small that you will ever get shot at, unfortunately the possibility is still real.. especially if you go into neighborhoods with high crime rates and increased violence.  BE PREPARED!

Memorial to the September 13 2006 Dawson Colle...

Memorial to the September 13 2006 Dawson College Shooting Rampage (Photo credit: caribb)

If You Are the Intended Target

If someone begins firing a weapon from a distance, increase that distance immediately! Unless someone is trained (and always assume your attacker is trained.. or lucky), they are not likely to hit you with their initial shot.  The more shots they fire, the quicker they will zero in on your current position.

Do not run away in a straight line.  Weave, zig-zag, run behind objects that obscure your position, do anything to keep from presenting a prolonged visible or stationary target.  Get your body around a solid corner as fast as possible and keep running! Stay away from running in front of brightly lit windows, etc, where you will show up like a sore thumb. Also, do not run out into the street where you may be hit by traffic.

Rifles and assault weapons are designed for accuracy at range, or spraying a large number of shots, so increase distance and use cover.  Do not stay put behind a corner as the shooter may decide to pursue you.  As a rule of thumb, if someone is shooting, assume they are in pursuit and run for it.

If you are caught close to the action, get behind solid cover.  Solid Cover is anything heavy and substantial that can keep bullets from passing through it.  A car body and internal components (seats) may possibly stop small caliber ammunition, but not large caliber bullets.  Again, don’t gamble, assume the threat is using high caliber ammunition.  Get behind the heavier steel rims of the wheels, or the solid engine block of a vehicle if possible.

If you can, enter a building and head for the back exit.  Do not stop to look around.  Assume the shooter is on your trail and run like a bat out of hell.

Do not peek around the corner to track your attacker.. IF YOU CAN SEE THEM, THEN THEY CAN SEE YOU!  Use reflections from store windows, or look out from under the vehicle if you’re behind one.  Do what you need to do, but don’t poke any pieces of your body or head out where it can be shot.

Remember, getting shot at in real life is not the same as on television.  When you bleed you become weaker as time passes.  t does not take long to lose consciousness, or even die.  Nor do you know how much ammunition a shooter has, or how many weapons they are carrying.  Counting bullets, or listening for your attacker to reload are not safe indicators you are free to go.

If You Are Not the Primary Target

Get Down, Stay Down – Get as flat as possible IMMEDIATELY!  Do not kneel, or crouch.. DROP.

If you can, get behind a vehicle.  The same rules apply as above.  Get behind the tires, or engine block.  The body of a vehicle will not stop large caliber weapons (and always assume they are using a large caliber weapon).

If you are inside a building, get into another room fast and drop flat, preferably behind a large desk, file cabinet, etc.  Most interior walls are made of dry wall, or other flimsy construction that will not stop bullets.  Staying low and out of sight is your best option.

Up Close And Personal

If you happen to be at ground zero, and a shooter is practically in your face, present as small a target as possible.  Turn sideways, get low, get behind cover, whatever.  The most dangerous range to be near a shooter is between 15 to 30 feet.. statistically.  Un-statistically, any range is unhealthy!  Remember that increasing the distance increases your chances of survival.

If the shooter is outside, stay inside and stay away from doors and windows.  Get low, and behind something solid.

When The Shooting Stops

Do not come out until the shooting stops, or until the authorities have arrived (only if safe to do so).  If you must make a break for it, use the evasion techniques talked about above.  Do NOT approach the authorities when they arrive.  The first wave of officers will be there to search for active shooters, and to secure the area.  Follow their directions and continue past them.  Keep your hands visible at all times.  Shooters have been known to pretend to be innocents to deceive authorities.

Call 911!  Police drop everything and answer calls involving shots fired.  Everyone in the area is probably busy running for cover, freezing in panic, or praying to Jesus, so you  need to call 911 as soon as possible.  Even if you can’t talk to the operator, don’t worry, they will hear the gunshots and begin tracing your location.  Try to give the operator your location, number of shooters, and if there are any victims that you know of.  If you can give a rough description, like color and style clothing the shooter is wearing, that’s great, but don’t poke your head out if you don’t have to.

This is just a rough essay.  If you’re in a situation, you need to keep your head about you and make the best judgement call you can given what you know at the time.

An additional article by Marc MacYoung gives further advice and analysis.. “What Do I Do When Someone IS Shooting At Me?


Written by Silver Sentinel

May 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

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