SwiftReach Blog

Best Practices, Tips, Tricks and Strategies for Effective Emergency Management

Not a Drill – 3 Actions to Take During an Active Shooter Situation

Posted by Philip Young - Thursday, July, 12 2018

In today’s world, it’s an unfortunate fact: To be fully prepared, organizations need concrete plans in place for active shooter situations.


The numbers bear that out; the U.S. has already logged 168 mass shootings this year alone, averaging out to 6.7 per week. Startling statistics!

And because no one knows how, when, or where such violence will strike, it behooves businesses, k-12 schools, cities and towns to review formalized emergency response plans for how they should react during an active shooter situation.  

That’s why SwiftReach employees recently participated in staff training on plans of action that can be shared with clients. Our plans go beyond the usual preventative measures, addressing what potential victims should do in an actual emergency involving an active shooter.

Here are some of the tips we learned, based partly on national public service campaign Ready.gov:  

  1. RUN! It may sound obvious, but if you’re confronted with a gunman, the best action you can take is heed your instincts, leave belongings behind, and run as far away as possible. Try to warn and/or help others as you flee (yell “Gunman!”) but don’t let them stop you from leaving. Avoid elevators, but don’t rule out escaping from windows. If a gunman is behind you, run in a zigzag pattern. “If you can get away from that person, that’s the best thing to do,” confirms criminal justice professor Pete Blair in the New York Times.  
  1. HIDE! Find a place to hide, avoiding hiding in groups to impede the shooter. Look for a place that could shield you from gunshots. Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights, then silence your electronic device(s), duck as low as possible and keep very quiet. Communicate silently with law enforcement if possible, but don’t leave your spot until an all-clear has been issued.  
  1. FIGHT! If you can’t escape and are directly confronted with injury or death, fight aggressively. Recruit others when possible, seeking makeshift weapons that could, at minimum, distract or disarm the shooter. Playing dead  is not recommended, says Blair; he notes gunmen have circled back and fired at those laying down.

Did You Know? SwiftReach’s Swift911™ mass notification system helps thousands of clients in local government, education, and enterprise coordinate emergency response, and make decisions quickly when disaster strikes.

When seconds count, you need Swift911™.