RICHMOND, Va. – The day after a husband and wife opened fire inside a county office building in California Wednesday killing 14 people, Americans returned to frank and ghastly dialogue about best practice were they in the same situation.
Many people admitted they are not confident how to best handle a situation like the one in San Bernardino – one where attackers suddenly enter a workspace and begin firing.
In San Bernardino, the couple was armed and fired 65 to 75 rounds, police said, killing at least 14 people and wounding at least 21.
Most people interviewed said they would just follow their instincts.
“I’m not sure how you train a person to survive when somebody walks into the room with a gun shooting,” said Aaron Fast, who has never received active shooter training.
Mike Jones with Major Security Consulting and Design, offered advice. The first rule one seemingly of instinct, not training.
“A confident person is a person who survives,” Jones said.
The former law enforcement officer said people can be taught how to survive during an active shooter event.
“Don’t let others who might freeze out of fear hold you back,” Jones said. “Say come on we gotta go, but don’t you stop.”
Jones uses an active shooter video from the Department of Homeland Security to tell people they need to first run.
“If you see a shooter, start zig zagging it’s harder to shoot a target that is running and zig zagging,” Jones said.
If they can’t do that, Jones said they need to hide, lock the door if possible, and turn their phones on silent.
“Don’t forget the brightness of your screen. If a room is dark and a text message comes through then you’ve got a flashlight pointed right at you,” Jones said.
And, if they can’t do any of the above, they need to confront the shooter as a last resort.
“Use everything you can as a weapon, pick up a fire extinguisher, pick up a chair, pick up a rolodex,” Jones said.
Jones said knowing those tips will help all of us think clearly during a terrifying event and possibly save lives.
“When you know these things, you’re empowered; that keeps your fear from overrunning you,” Jones said.