While the threat of mass attacks is real, we can take steps to prepare, protect ourselves and help others.
What are Mass Attacks?
Types of Mass Attacks
- Active shooter: Individuals using firearms to cause mass casualties.
- Individuals using a vehicle to cause mass casualties.
- Individuals using homemade bombs to cause mass casualties.
- Other methods of mass attacks may include knives, fires, drones or other weapons.
- Stay Alert. Always be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.
- If you see something, say something to local authorities. That includes suspicious packages, people behaving strangely, or someone using strange communications.
- Observe warning signs. Signs might include unusual or violent communications, expressed anger or intent to cause harm and substance abuse. These warning signs may increase over time.
- Have an exit plan. Identify exits and areas to hide wherever you go, including work, school and special events.
- Learn lifesaving skills. Take trainings such as You Are the Help Until Help Arrives and first aid to assist the wounded before help arrives.
Run to Safety
- Seek safety. Getting away from the attacker is the top priority.
- Leave your belongings behind and get away.
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the attacker, location and weapons.
Cover and Hide
- If you can’t evacuate, cover and hide. Find a place to hide out of view of the attacker and if possible, put a solid barrier between yourself and the threat.
- Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.
- Keep silent.
Defend, Disrupt, Fight
- Fight only as a last resort. When you can’t run or cover, attempt to disrupt the attack or disable the attacker.
- Be aggressive and commit to your actions.
- Recruit others to ambush the attacker with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.
- Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the attacker.
Help the Wounded
- Take care of yourself first and then, if you are able, help the wounded get to safety and provide immediate care.
Be Safe AFTER
When Law Enforcement Arrives
- Remain calm and follow instructions.
- Keep hands visible and empty.
- Report to designated areas to provide information and get help.
- Listen to law enforcement’s messages for information about the situation. Share updates with family and friends.
Consider Seeking Professional Help
- Be mindful of your health. If needed, seek help for you and your family to cope with the trauma.
- RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.® Surviving an Active Shooter Event - English (Video)
- Active Shooter Information Sheet (PDF)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Active Shooter Preparedness Resources (Training, videos, brochures and more for individualized audiences link)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Active Shooter Preparedness Resources Translated