Students advised to ‘run, hide, fight’ if a shooter comes to school


Experts say students need to know what to do in an active-shooter situation.

It might scare them to hear about it, but experts point out that children need to prepare for it much like they prepare for other disasters.

There are three main things children need to know: run, hide, and fight. A security expert says if the children are aware, they will have a much better chance of getting away unhurt.

Jeffrey Owens spent more that 30 years in the Honolulu Police Department and is now a security consultant.

Since schools practice fire drills regularly, he says it only makes sense that they do the same for an active shooter “to prepare at least the staff, administrators, the teachers. These are the people that have to know in advance, because when the event occurs, it’s too late to try to come up with your plan.”

Owens says the main things everyone should know are run, hide, and fight. Children should know what options there are to get to safety and be able to hide.

“Turn off the volume on your cell phones. Turn off the lights. Turn off TVs and radios, anything that would attract the assailant’s attention. You want to become invisible,” Owens said.

He says fighting is the last option. Keep in mind the shooter is well armed and prepared. But if you have to fight, it “could mean if you could spray something in his face, disrupt his vision, disrupt his breathing, disrupt his ability to handle something and hold on to the weapon, but it might involve throwing objects at the person, discharging a fire extinguisher at their face.”

When it involves younger children, such as elementary school students, Owens says teachers and other adults have to take charge. It might mean having to yell and scream just to distract the gunman enough so several people can attack him at once.

“The idea is you are fighting for your life, and you’re going to do anything and everything that you can to possibly survive that situation,” Owens said.

Owens adds that a shooter usually shows signs or even tells people ahead of time, so he encourages everyone to take all threats seriously and to have an environment where students and adults are encouraged to report them.

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