As innocent people find themselves in situations where armed attackers are harming others and wreaking chaos, many law enforcement agencies are giving the advice of run, hide and fight.
Those who find themselves in a situation where an armed assailant is in the same building, the University of South Carolina Police Department recommended the following:
▪ If someone poses a threat to themselves or others, seek help. If the threat is imminent or the attack has already begun, call 911 and find a safe location. If unable to speak, call 911 and leave the line open so a dispatcher can hear what is going on.
▪ Do not activate fire alarms, as this may endanger others who would be safer remaining in their present location.
▪ If getting away is difficult or impossible, create distance and barriers.
▪ Proceed to a room that can be locked. Close, lock and barricade windows and doors. Turn off the lights. Get down low and do not be visible from the outside. Silence cell phones and remain quiet.
▪ Do not unlock the door or respond to voices unless there is absolute certainty police are on the other side.
▪ If the attacker leaves, proceed immediately to a safer location.
▪ In situations where running and hiding are not possible, be ready for self defense. Do not stand still. Throw objects and use weapons of opportunity, such as fire extinguishers, laptops, chairs, keys and pens. Attack sensitive areas, such as the eyes, throat and groin.
▪ When law enforcement arrives at the scene, civilians should show their hands and follow all commands. Plain clothes officers or officers wearing different colors and styles of uniforms may respond, though a badge or patch are typically visible.
▪ Those who may be holding weapons in self defense should drop them.
Jeff Stensland, USC director of Public Relations, faculty, staff and students at the university have several options to stay safe and education about active shooter situations.
So far this semester, about two dozen training sessions were held through USC’s continuing education program, University 101 classes for freshmen and through various student organizations, Stensland said.
The university community can also sign up for text message alerts, which alerts subscribers to events that require them to seek shelter or evacuate, or follow social media accounts, check the university’s website and watch for campus TV crawlers.
“USC also offers the free RAVE Guardian Safety App, which turns any cell phone into a personalized protection network, connecting with university police during an emergency and giving them important information they need instantly,” Stensland said.