What to do in active shooter situation

The mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night is a reminder to the rest of the country how quickly a crisis can unfold. 

Officials recommend having a plan.

Before you find yourself in an emergency situation, officials say you should be aware of your surroundings and identify the two nearest exits or escape routes.

When an active shooter is in the area, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends that individuals evacuate immediately. If that is not possible, people should hide. Lastly, if danger is imminent, the department says “take action against the shooter.”

People visiting Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium on Monday evening reflected on their plans of action. 

Fairview resident Rob Rutkowski said, "If you're in a location with a lot of people, you want to be aware of how to get out quickly."

Tim Coughlin, of Erie, said he teaches his two sons about safety. He references the BOLO acronym, which is often used by law enforcement. 

"It stands for ‘Be on the Lookout,’” he said. “When the kids are out in public, we just encourage them to be aware of their surroundings and to be aware of the people that are moving about them."

Rutkowski said it is important to develop a plan, “especially with young children.” 

He said, “I feel like it's harder to get young children out of big events like this. So, I feel like parents with kids, it's probably more important to make sure they're aware of the plan--the kids--and parents, as well.”

Jerry Clark, Ph.D., chairperson the Criminal Justice Program at Gannon University, said found himself observing exits when he an NFL game Sunday night.

"I was at the Brown's game yesterday. And one of the first things I was doing was looking at exits, and who would think that you'd have to think about that at an entertainment event," he said.

Clark, who has nearly three decades of local and federal law enforcement experience, said it is important to avoid panicking.

"You want to panic. And the main thing is you try to remain as calm as you can, but move as quickly as you can,” he said. “And assist anyone, if you possibly could."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also advises that you contact law enforcement as soon as you can safely do so. They say it is important to recall any details or descriptions of the scene or attacker.
 


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