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How To Prepare For A Gunman In The Office, School, Shopping Mall

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An image from Houston's training video (credit: YouTube)

An image from Houston’s training video (credit: YouTube)

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DENVER (CBS4)- It’s the situation you hope you never find yourself in– a gunman storms your office, the shopping mall or your child’s classroom.

The City of Houston made a video titled “Run-Hide-Fight.” It’s a how-to guide if a shooter opens fire at the office and other situations. The training video is being used across the country and in Colorado.

“There’s a chance that it could happen here. Right here today, and so we better be prepared,” said Arvada Police Sgt. AJ DeAndrea.

DeAndrea said the video is extremely realistic in detail. There are three steps that everyone can take away from the video:

- Run
- Hide
- Fight

DeAndrea said that with “Run” you should know the layout of your office and where the exits are. Make sure you have a safe path to escape and don’t be afraid to break a window to get away.

If that’s not an option the next step is “Hide.”

“Hiding isn’t just hiding under the desk, but barricade the door, close the blinds, create a barrier between you and the gunman,” DeAndrea said.

The last resort, is to “Fight.”

“It’s your life so anything is game. Fight talks about improvised weapons. Grabbing things in this office that we can use to defend yourself,” DeAndrea said.

DeAndrea is an expert when it comes to active shooter situations. He’s the only SWAT team member in the country to respond to three school shootings; Columbine High School, Platte Canyon High School and the shooting at Arvada’s Youth With a Mission Christian training center.

He says that three step checklist of Run-Hide-Fight should be in the back of everyone’s mind.

“I think most people are unprepared. I think we have that attitude that it’s not going to happen here,” said DeAndrea.

Active shooter training isn’t just happening in offices but also schools. Students as young as 3 or 4 are learning about potential dangers.

“For years we’ve taught our kids what to do when they’re on fire … what about when they are under fire,” said John McDonald, head of security for JeffCo Public Schools.

Since the Columbine shooting in April 1999, security protocol has been completely revamped. The program adopted by JeffCo Public Schools is called the “Standard Response Protocol,” which is a uniform lockdown response to emergencies including active shooters.

The program is championed by the father of Emily Keyes, the victim of the Platte Canyon shooting.

McDonald said they go into every classroom in every school in the district to have conversations with all students and staff. They also practice lockdown drills several times a year. Even preschoolers learn about the process.

“I figure if we start them off at 3 and 4, by the time they are 8 and 9 they’re rock stars,” said McDonald.

DeAndrea said people need to be prepared.

“The world is not a scary place, it’s an uncertain place. And we need to prepare for those uncertainties,” he said.

Additional Resources

Homeland Security Course: dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness

Watch the Run-Hide-Fight video below:

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