How to Survive a School Shooting

I must say, trying to come up with a “witty” opening line for this post was quite difficult. You know, the clever one-liner that is supposed to immediately draw the reader in? Yeah…I’m at a loss. Unfortunately though, with the recent high school shooting in Ohio (our condolences to the victims, their families, and anyone else that has been affected), this seems like a topic that needs to be covered.

So if you find yourself in the midst of a school shooting, here are a few tips that might help you come out alive.

1.) Know the plan. In many cases a policy for a shooting may already be in place, and if you don’t know it you could be putting not only yourself in danger, but also others as well. If the policy is the turn the lights off and crawl under the desks or tables, do it, it’s in place for a reason. Effective communication and protocol are the enemies of a rogue gunman.

2.) Know your surroundings. Being aware of your surrounding might provide you with an escape opportunity you may not have thought of before. Perhaps a window leads to a roof, or there’s a side door you’ve never used because it sets off an alarm. Chances are, alarms may already be going off, so that door might be your new best bet for a clean escape.

3.) Don’t try to reason. If you do find yourself in the same place as the gunman, don’t try to approach them or reason with them. If they come in one door you hustle your ass to another door and get the hell out of there.

4.) Run in a zigzag pattern. Yes, I know, you’ve probably heard this before, but it’s one of the oldest (and most effective) tools in the book. Running in a zigzag pattern greatly decreases the chances of a gunman hitting you with a shot, and even if you are hit, the chances of that shot hitting one of your vital organs is smaller still.

5.) Follow ALL orders of rescue personnel. If the cops say to stay where you are, then stay where you are! This kind of thing is what they do for a living, so let them do their job. For all you know a negotiation could be taking place, and a handful of people running from the building could throw everything off. Listen to law enforcement, they’re there to help you.

Now I know this list seems quite simple when read from your living room computer. After all, number 3: don’t try to reason? Isn’t that common sense? Well, not quite. And while “run in a zigzag pattern” seems like such an easy thing to do, the fact is when you’re being chased by a lunatic with a gun, your sprinting pattern is probably going to be the last thing on your mind.

So most importantly, the most effective way to survive this situation is the prevent it. Report any threats or suspicious behavior that you come across, and if someone seems to be having a hard day, talk to them. You never know, you might be the one person that changes their mind about shooting up their fellow classmates.

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