Mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas on Sunday are becoming an all-too-common part of American life. That means citizens may have to consider the possibility they may one day find themselves in that terrifying situation.
That doesn’t mean living in fear from moment to moment, but some advance preparation can help you if the unthinkable does happen.
Security expert Steve Kardian told “Inside Edition” the key to surviving a mass shooting is to visualize the situation in advance.
″[Ask yourself,] ‘What would I do if? What would the crisis be?’ Think about it,” he said. “Look for the exits. Think about what you are going to do if it happens, fold it up and put it in your back pocket and enjoy yourself.”
Another tip: If you hear loud explosions, don’t assume they are fireworks. Instead, use that as a signal to put your crisis plan into action.
“Start moving, don’t wait,” Kardian said. “Every second you wait, that is additional shots that are fired, those are additional injuries and people that could be killed. Start moving right away.”
Mass shooters often focus on large groups, he said, so he warns not to run where everyone else is running.
Kardian suggests hiding behind anything that can potentially shield you from gunfire, such as trees, monuments, walls or statues, and then listen for pauses in the shooting.
“That could be a sign that the shooter is reloading.” Kardian said, adding that a person can run 40 to 50 feet during that silence, which could be “the difference between living or dying.”
J. Pete Blair, executive director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, based at Texas State University, is the co-author of the book Active Shooter: Events and Response.
He sums up his technique for surviving a mass shooting as “avoid, deny and defend.”
“Hide is a passive action. As opposed to ‘deny,’ where I try to keep you from getting to me,” Blair told The Washington Post.
Blair believes in setting up obstacles for the shooter, such as locking or barricading a door. Then turn off the lights as well as the ringer on your phone.
One thing not to do, he said, is “play dead.”
“When you play dead, we see time and time again in these situations the shooters continue to shoot people who are down and who they think are dead,” Blair told the paper.
If you’re carrying a concealed handgun, don’t go hunting for the shooter unless it’s a last resort. Blair says other concealed gun carriers or the police might shoot you.
“No one knows who you are,” he said. “The responders are looking for someone with a gun and you match that description.”
In 2012, the FBI produced a video called “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.” that offered lots of tips for surviving a mass shooting.
The main tips in the video, which can be watched below, include running if you can, hiding if you have to, and then ― if all else fails ― fighting the shooter by attempting to incapacitate them, possibly with improvised weapons.