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What to Do in an Active Shooter Situation

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

Recently, an active shooter standoff inside a popular King Street restaurant in Charleston left one person dead. It was a grim reminder of the carnage that occurred at Mother Emmanuel Church only two years ago that tragically claimed the lives of nine people. While active shooter situations are not a common occurrence, they have increased over the past several years. While every dangerous situation is certainly different, here is some general advice that may help you decide what to do in an active shooter situation.

What To Do In An Active Shooter Situation

An active shooter situation is one in which an individual person kills or attempts to kill others in a public location. According to the latest statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were 40 active shooter incidents spread out over 26 states between 2014 and 2015, resulting in 92 people killed and 139 injured.

These incidents have occurred at office buildings, movie theatres, night clubs, and schools. Some shooters target a particular group of people while others are purely random acts, making it all the more important for the general public to be prepared. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) advises that there are two options for what to do in an active shooter situation: evacuate and hide.

EVACUATE: It is always a smart move to know where emergency exits are in any public place.

  • Do not waste time trying to grab your purse, coat, or other belongings.
  • Stay focused on your escape route.
  • Help others as you can, but keep going if they refuse to follow along.
  • Warn anyone you pass against entering the area where the shooter is.
  • Keep your hands visible once you reach the exit.
  • Follow all police instructions.

HIDE: In the event you find yourself trapped and unable to evacuate, hiding is your next best option.

  • Choose a place that is out of the shooter’s view and can provide protection against gun blasts.
  • Avoid anywhere that could restrict your movements or leave you trapped.
  • If in a separate room from the shooter, lock, and blockade the door.
  • Remain quiet, shut off the ringer on your cell phone and mute all other sources of noise, such as radios or televisions.
  • Call 911. If the shooter is nearby, do not speak, but simply leave the line open.

You should only attempt to confront the shooter as a means of last resort. The DHS advises that in this type of desperate situation, use as much strength and aggression as you can muster. In addition, it is advised that you should try to improvise a weapon or look for items you can throw at the shooter.

At Anastopoulo Law Firm Your Safety Is Our Number One Concern

We cannot always protect ourselves or others against all accidents and injuries, but knowing what to do in an active shooter situation can increase your odds of surviving. At Anastopoulo Law Firm your health and safety are our number one concerns. When situations occur impacting you or those you love, call or contact our South Carolina injury attorneys to request a consultation at our Charleston office or at one of our locations throughout the state.


North Charleston, SC

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North Charleston, SC 29406
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Phone: (843) 202-4511

Charleston, SC

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Charleston, SC 29403
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Phone: (843) 202-4357

Columbia, SC

1201 Main Street Ste. 1100
Columbia, SC 29201
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Phone: (803) 205-2595

Myrtle Beach, SC

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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
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Phone: (843) 202-4776

Florence, SC

150 W. Evans Street
Florence, SC 29501
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Phone: (843) 202-4791

Greenville, SC

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Greenville, SC 29601
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Phone: (864) 207-4042

Wilmington, NC

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Wilmington, NC 28405
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Phone: (910) 294-3242

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Charlotte, NC 28202
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