Op-Ed: Know What to do in an Active Shooter Situation


Olivia Osipovitch, Contributor

Active shooters have become an unfortunate “norm.” Knowing the right protocol is essential to staying safe if you find yourself in a crisis.

The Westmoreland United Methodist Church recently held a presentation with New York State Police on what to do in an emergency situation. More than 150 people of all ages gathered at the church. State Trooper Brian DeRochie explained a variety of situations that can occur when an active shooter is present.

He emphasized three simple steps: run, hide, fight. This concept is promoted by the Department of Homeland Security.

When there are signs of an active shooter, run away from the person or the shots fired. It is important for people to always survey their surroundings and know where exits are located. Always run away from the sound of gunshots, never toward them. Keep your back facing the wall in the event of an attacker entering a room.  

If you are unable to run from the situation, then find the quickest spot to hide. The worst spots to take cover are under chairs or desks. If an attacker enters the room, you’re actually stuck in that spot and cannot get away from the person. Find the most secluded spot possible to hide in so a shooter does not see you.  

Locking the door is another important tip to keep safe. A shooter knows they only have a few minutes to do damage. If a door is locked then chances are they will move on to another room or location. Barricade the door, too, if possible.

Fighting should be the last thing to do if you are in an active shooter situation. Troopers said you should never want to fight the person that is armed unless you are sure you want to risk your life, but sometimes just dropping a pen or throwing something to at a shooter is enough to distract them and possibly take he or she down.

With everything going on in the world and all the school shootings we have been hearing about, and the March 5 threat here at Utica College, these three steps are crucial to know if an active shooter was to take hold of the campus.

Students found they were not only scared by the UC campus lockdown but also unprepared in what to do during that situation.

You never really think it’s going to happen to your school, until it does. Luckily, it was only a threat, but you never know when it could be the real thing. Taking precautions and being aware of your surroundings are key in our day to day life. Our nation is still reeling from the shooting at a Parkland High School that left 14 students and three teachers dead and injured more than a dozen others. That was considered to be the worst school shooting since the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took the lives of 20 children and six adults.

There have been a staggering amount of school shootings so far this year. These incidents range from mass shootings to accidental discharges of firearms, after-hours fights between adults in a school parking lot and suicides.

UC has hosted multiple training sessions to assist the faculty, staff and students in understanding, identifying, responding to and recovering from terroristic threats or actual active-shooter and other armed-aggressor incidents.

Get informed. Know how to protect yourself.