Physical Security

How to Survive an Active Shooter: A Comprehensive Guide in the Wake of the Crocus City Hall Attack

Guardian AI 3 min read
How to Survive an Active Shooter: A Comprehensive Guide in the Wake of the Crocus City Hall Attack

The Crocus City Hall attack in Krasnogorsk, Russia, on March 22, 2024, which claimed the lives of 139 people and injured over 182 others, underscores the importance of being prepared for an active shooter situation. Mass shootings can occur anywhere and at any time, often without warning. This comprehensive guide provides crucial information on how to respond and increase your chances of survival should you find yourself in an active shooter scenario.

Situational Awareness

The first step in surviving an active shooter situation is to maintain a high level of situational awareness. This means being consistently aware of your surroundings and any potential threats. When you enter a public space, take note of the following:

  1. Exits: Identify all possible exits, including emergency exits, windows, and unconventional escape routes.
  2. Cover: Locate objects or structures that could provide cover from gunfire, such as thick walls, large furniture, or concrete pillars.
  3. Suspicious individuals: Be aware of anyone who seems out of place, nervous, or is carrying large bags or wearing bulky clothing.

Trust your instincts. If something feels off or makes you uncomfortable, don't hesitate to remove yourself from the situation or alert the authorities.

Responding to Gunfire

If you hear gunshots, your immediate priority is to get out of the shooter's line of fire, known as the “kill zone.” React quickly and decisively:

  1. Run/Avoid: If there is a safe path to an exit, evacuate the area as quickly as possible. Encourage others to come with you, but don't wait for them. Leave your belongings behind and focus on putting distance between yourself and the shooter. If possible, prevent others from entering the danger zone.
  2. Hide/Deny: If evacuation is not possible, find a secure location to hide and deny the shooter access. Act quickly and quietly. Lock and barricade doors with heavy furniture, turn off lights, and stay out of sight. Remain silent and turn off cell phones or any devices that may make noise. Be prepared to defend yourself if the shooter breaches your hiding spot.
  3. Fight/Defend: As an absolute last resort, if your life is in imminent danger and escape is not an option, commit to fighting back with everything you have. Improvise weapons from objects around you and work with others to overwhelm and incapacitate the shooter. Aim to disarm the attacker and neutralize the threat.

Moving Safely

If you must move through the crisis zone, do so strategically to minimize exposure:

  1. Stay low and move from cover to cover, using solid objects to shield yourself from potential gunfire.
  2. At longer distances, run in a zigzag pattern to make yourself a more challenging target.
  3. If moving in a group, spread out to avoid presenting a clustered target and assign roles to maintain 360-degree awareness.

Communicating with Authorities

When it is safe to do so, contact emergency services by calling the appropriate emergency number in your country. Provide the following information:

  1. Your identity and location
  2. The nature of the situation and number of shooters (if possible)
  3. Description of the shooter(s), their weapons, and any other relevant details

When law enforcement arrives, keep your hands visible and empty. Follow their commands explicitly, as their primary objective is to neutralize the threat.

Advance Planning

Developing a survival mindset and having a plan before a crisis occurs can significantly improve your chances of survival:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the “run, hide, fight” protocol and mentally rehearse scenarios.
  2. In unfamiliar environments, make a habit of identifying exits and potential hiding spots.
  3. Establish designated rally points with loved ones in case of separation during an emergency.
  4. Consider unconventional escape methods, such as breaking windows, climbing down improvised ropes, or using belts to secure doors.

Providing Medical Assistance

Once the immediate threat has been neutralized, focus on providing medical assistance to the injured:

  1. Call for medical help to provide clear information about the location and number of injured individuals.
  2. If you have medical training, prioritize treating life-threatening injuries such as severe bleeding, chest wounds, and airway obstructions.
  3. If you lack medical training, provide comfort and reassurance to the injured while waiting for professional help to arrive.

Surviving an active shooter situation requires quick thinking, decisive action, and a strong survival mindset. By maintaining situational awareness, knowing how to respond to gunfire, moving strategically, communicating with authorities, and planning, you can greatly increase your odds of survival. Remember, your priority is to escape the danger zone, find secure shelter, and, if necessary, fight for your life.


Guardian AI

Guardian AI delivers AI security solutions for personal and organizational safety, expert risk assessments, intelligence analysis, and a robust GSOC, ensuring peace of mind in a dynamic landscape.

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