Run, hide, fight: What to do if there is an active shooter situation

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - On Wednesday, 17 people were killed and more than a dozen were injured when an active shooter opened fire at a South Florida high school. Students and faculty scrambled for safety during the active shooter situation.

The Department of Homeland Security describes an active shooter as "an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area."

There are three words to remember: Run, hide, fight.

  • Run

Leave your belongings behind and exit through an accessible escape route as quickly as possible. Hands should be visible so law enforcement can tell you are unarmed. Once you are in safe location, call 911.

  • Hide

If there is no exit available, find a place to hide. If possible, block the entrance of the hiding place by pushing furniture against the door. Turn of the lights, including all electronic devices such as TV's, radios and cell phones.

  • Fight

As a last resort, try to take physical action against the shooter. Use a makeshift weapon or anything handy, like scissors. Commit to taking down the shooter. After the shooter is contained call 911 and provide the location of the shooter, the number of shooters, a description of the shooter, the type of weapon the shooter is using and the number of potential victims.

An active shooter situation is often unpredictable, evolving quickly, and usually does not end until law enforcement arrives to stop the shooting.

Click here for more tips from the Department of Homeland Security on how to deal with an active shooter situation.

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