HOUSTON — Unfortunately, we're used to hearing about mass shooting situations throughout the U.S.
But this weekend was especially painful as we mourned more than three dozen people killed in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
The anxiety that sets in during the aftermath of a mass shooting is enough to paralyze you in fear.
People like Marisa Echavarria wrote on Facebook, "Sadly, I often think about it when I'm sitting in church. Yesterday, as I was praying for the victims of the weekend's shootings, the thought that we should have a security guard at the doors of my church crossed my mind."
"It’s scary. It’s uncomfortable. It’s actually awful," said Rania Mankarious who is the CEO of Crime Stoppers Houston. "But we’ve got to do it and again, it’s not that we’re afraid to go out. It should not cripple what we do. But thinking through strategies to stay safe is not a negative, it’s a positive that will ultimately help us."
From looking for exits in a building to sharing your location with family members, many of you have devised strategies and plans on what you'd do during a mass shooting event.
In July 2012, with funding from the Department of Homeland Security, the City of Houston created an instructional video.
Ready Houston, the emergency management team for the City of Houston, uploaded the video on YouTube. It's been viewed more than 8 million times.
The video is a guiding light for organizations, communities and schools throughout the country. Seven years later, the advice to: Run. Hide. Fight. is still the best action plan during an active shooter situation.
Emergency managers, like Mankarious, who oversee action plans in schools, recommend you watch the video with your family or share the three key points, if your kids are too young for the content.
"We’ve got to have a strategy. We’ve got to have a plan," said Mankarious. "The chances are very low. But there’s nothing wrong with being prepared. And it doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing anything we want to do."
THE THREE THINGS YOU SHOULD DO DURING AN ACTIVE SHOOTER EVENT:
- Have an escape route and plan in mind.
- Leave your belongings behind.
- Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
- Help others escape, if possible.
- Do not attempt to move wounded people.
- Prevent others from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
- Keep your hands visible.
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safe.
- Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view.
- Lock the door or block the entry to your hiding place.
- Silence your cell phone (including the vibration) and remain quiet.
- Fight as a last resort and only when your life is in immediate danger.
- Attempt to incapacitate the shooter.
- Act with as much physical aggression as possible.
- Improvise weapons or throw items at the active shooter.
- Commit to your actions…your life depends on it.