SPOKANE, Wash. — If you are in an active shooter situation, it is hard to know what you should do. The Spokane Police Department said they often tell people three words: Run, hide, and fight.
“If there is evil or danger out there, don't be there, so let's run. If you can’t get away, let's hide. Let's shelter in place. Let's improve our position wherever we are. And, heaven forbid, if the threat's in my face and I can't escape it, be prepared to fight,” said Spokane Police Lieutenant Shawn Kendall.
There is not one right answer for how to react, but police said having a plan in mind you can fall back on can make all the difference in a moment of chaos and panic.
"Thinking about it now, just be prepared, have that contingency plan in your brain and make sure you know,” Lt. Kendall explained. “Whether you have that conversation with yourself or with your family or your coworkers or your kids, make sure you're developing that plan before you navigate this horrible incident.”
Police have a few suggestions to help you prepare now, in case you ever end up in danger.
Take a training class offered by law enforcement. Classes are offered on everything from self defense to active shooter situations.
Take a first aid class. These classes can help teach the basics of how to help save someone’s life or help save yourself until paramedics arrive.
Have a plan in place now. Spokane Police said having a plan in mind could make the difference between taking action or freezing in a panic.
"We need to be able to act,” Lt. Kendall said. “Everyone kind of counts on other people to make the decisions for them, so let's get a little more self-reliant and be ready individually, to protect ourselves and our loved ones."
It is also difficult to identify the sound of a gunshot versus a firework, especially at an event.
"Let's assume the worst and our ultimate goal is to get out, get away,” Lt. Kendall said. “An active shooter can happen inside, it can happen outside, so identify where it is, where it is coming from, and you go the opposite direction."
If running is not an option, officers said the next best thing to do is to take cover.
"In that particular incident, maybe find cover and understand what cover is versus concealment. Cover will stop a bullet, concealment will hide you,” Lt. Kendall explained.
Police said the best option in some cases is to make yourself smaller by getting down, hiding behind some type of barrier, or low crawling behind an obstacle.
If you end up in an active shooter situation remember these three words: Run. Hide. Fight.
If you can run, run. If you cannot run, hide. If you cannot hide, be prepared to fight.