“Run, Hide, Fight!” How to Respond to an Active Shooter II


Preparing for the Worst: How to Respond to an Active Shooter II

This article assumes you are not armed and not equipped or trained to fight back. This is the information you need to share with kids or people who don’t carry, or to bear in mind if you are visiting an establishment which bans personal firearms (i.e. the places most likely to be targeted.) Importantly, have a plan for any situation and always have an exit plan in your head. 

This summer, deadly terrorist attacks and crimes have taken place across the world and have many wondering how they can be safe even in the United States or Western Europe.

This violence has been conducted with a range of weapons—including a suicide bomb in Ansbach, Germany, a truck in Nice, France, a rifle at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and a pistol in Munich, Germany, last weekend. While most of these are clear cases of terrorism, the investigation is still ongoing in Munich.

Such violence will likely continue and every American should take the time to think about what they would do if they found themselves in danger. Specifically, do you know what you would do if you were in an active shooter situation?

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security recommend the “Run, Hide, Fight” plan. (Video above) When a shooting occurs, it is only natural for many folks to freeze or forget what they should do. “Run, Hide, Fight” provides an easy to remember plan for survival.

First, if you are able to safely get away from the shooter, do so. Once away from the scene, prevent others from going toward the shooter and call 911.

Second, if you can’t safely run away, hide. Barricade doors and turn lights off. Take cover behind large objects and try to be as silent as possible.

Third, and finally, if you cannot safely run or hide, be prepared to fight. Improvise weapons and commit to defending yourself.

Consider how you would use “Run, Hide, Fight” at your place of work or other places you frequent. Importantly, check to see if your work has an active shooter plan that may be different. If no plan exists, ask for your company to create one.



From a policy perspective, the U.S. should also ensure that state and local law enforcement are trained to respond to active shooters as the local police are likely going to be the first to respond to such incidents and stop the shooter. The Department of Homeland Security operates the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, which provide training to local, state, federal, and foreign law enforcement officers on how to respond to a myriad of issues.

Congress should expand the Active Shooter Threat Training Program and corresponding instructor training program to ensure that the first line of response is able to engage the threat and stop further loss of life.

While the best way to stop terrorists is good proactive intelligence and law enforcement work beforehand that prevents them from ever getting to their target, the reality is that terrorists and criminals alike will inevitably succeed and we should all be prepared to respond if we find ourselves in a worst-case situation.



Portrait of David Inserra

David Inserra specializes in cyber and homeland security policy, including protection of critical infrastructure, as policy analyst in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Read his research.

  • dashandra monika

    well according to the decomcrat leaders, once a shooter realizes no one has guns they will put theirs down and peacefully surrender. ahhhhhhh yeah right.

  • radiodickII

    YEA OK


    Final step from my perspective, find the manager, owner, pers responsible for my safety since it happened in an area where they assumed responsibility for me via their rules then, I’ll consider an ass whippin on ’em. Second thought, Naaa, CCW and let the chips fall.

  • BoydSharp

    Amen. Better judged by twelve than carried by six. And if you grab a fire extinguisher forget club. It sprays farther. Maybe blind the shooter. Then rush him.

  • wzrd1

    Odd, I’ve yet to hear any democrat leader say such bullshit.
    But then, you’re the type that chased me away from the GOP after three decades of adult life being a member.

    Break contact, increase distance, create an ambush.
    I don’t care what kind of firearm the nosebleed has, when we’re within a meter of each other and I have a blade, it’s an even contest. No, it’s in my favor. Rifles and shotguns are trivial to bind up at that range, a pistol, a bit more problematic, but not impossible.
    Knife to subclavian, he’s toast. Knife to the kidney, he’s toast. IN both cases, they drop like a wet rag.
    I know, I’ve done it when my weapon got bound up with a tango in Iraq and the wall. No room for my sidearm, but my knife was chest mounted and easily cleared and used.
    Not recommended in that situation of clearing a building, but when you’re in a massive two foot wide hallway, you do what you have to do to see tomorrow.
    And hence, the best defense is a well played offense, removing any potential benefit for the attacker.

    For the record, I’m retired from the military now, but parallel David’s career path.
    Our difference is, I don’t get called upon by paranoia central. I only get DoD and DHS calling me. The rest of the time, I work for a Fortune 200 corporation, providing information security for it and its clients, most being US government agencies.

  • Phillip Lake

    Believe it or not I actually started doing this very thing this weekend. I do carry, but some places you can’t. I also have a good knife. If one person had a knife in the Orlando nightclub countless numbers of lives would have been saved. Check out “Bob Peirce” fight techniques for self preservation not some black belt or crap like that. Pierce is the real thing. Always have some plan of defense going on in your mind. BUT the biggest factor in all of this self preservation against the bad boys: if you put that gun on your hip, or you carry a really good weapon remember this before you leave the house: You damned well better be ready to give up your life for your family but also for total strangers. If you are going to stand up to someone that is hell bent on killing people then you HAVE to be ready to DIE for them. I am old enough that I am not scared so much of dying but how I have to go. If I knew that giving my life would save others then I could walk over with peace. Before you bust a cap on someone TRY to get close in combat if possible. There are five places on the body that are relatively easy to hit and very, very painful is used. That is a whole lot better than killing somebody. God Bless you and stay safe folks.

  • wzrd1

    Well, if I’m preserving specimens for interrogation, I’d start with pelvis shots with a firearm, with a knife, harder to hit areas where major nerves are grouped or a major artery that can be easily enough sealed with a CAT.

    Home defense, it’s dead. I don’t want the motherlover trying to sue me.
    In an active shooter situation, it’s more flexible, in some narrow ways.
    A bit more difficult in a multiple shooter situation, somewhat more difficult in protecting a prisoner in the local environment.

  • dashandra monika

    I am retired military also. 22 years. none other than our beloved (cough cough) vice president said that.

  • Phillip Lake

    Def. right about the home scenario: down on the floor – a clear shot down an open hallway and it’s time for a new paint job. We actually did have a family here in Jackson sue the homeowner because he shot their son in the leg. They said it ruined his chances of ever being able to work a good job (dumb ass judge settled in their favor).

  • Lisa Palmer

    My strategy would be..shoot the %$&$ing terrorists head off! We have an unalienable right to bear arms. In this (intentionally created) climate of Increasing mass killings, the more responsible citizens avail themselves of these rights the safer WE ALL ARE, right? Especially since trained police are 11 times more likely to fatally shoot an innocent person than a civilian is (look it up!) Everyone knows, by the time the authorities show up and assess the situation, a ton of carnage has already been done. Review the fatalities in incidents where armed civilians are present, vs those where the victims must wait for police intervention, and you may find yourself less likely to want to visit public venues that are no carry zones. Places like arizona where open carry prevail are the safest places on earth per capita, and all these fear pimping gun haters know that but have a different agenda! More armed citizens protect us from the larger more sinister and, sadly, more likely danger of tyranny from ones own power crazed overreaching government. (Death by ones own government, the #1 CAUSE OF DEATH IN THE 20th Century.) It can happen anywhere. Wake up and start paying attention and safeguarding your rights!