By Y. Hope Osborn, Volunteer Contributor

None of us should have to worry about facing an active shooter situation, but we should be prepared for it. It has become an awful reality in the world today.

The FBI defines an active shooter as an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. “Shooter” implies the use of firearms. The news is full of examples of active shooter situations across the world.

We all hear the stories that proliferate the news. Just this month on June 5 in Orlando, Fla. a person fired in April returned and opened fire on the company’s employees, killing five plus himself. In Mississippi, late in May, a shooter went on a rampage that ended up killing eight people. Memorable to many is the May 2016 shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla. that was the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history, with 50 dead and 53 wounded. I give these examples to show that an active shooter situation can happen suddenly and unexpectedly, and no matter where you are, it is important to be prepared.

In an active shooter situation, you might be overwhelmed with what is happening, and it is hard to remember everything you need to do. Here are a few things that may save your life or the life of someone you know or, even, don’t know.

Choose the best action based on how close you are to the shooter and to exits or ways to call for help.


Escape quickly. Leave belongings behind. Help others as you can, such as alerting others of the danger.


Lock and barricade doors. Silence phones. Keep silent. Cover windows.


As a last resort, do what it takes to stay alive. Work together. Be aggressive. 

Take a few moments to study these so that they may come to mind if you ever must face an active shooter. These moments just might be the difference between life and death.