BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With two mass shootings in less than 24 hours over this last weekend, some people find themselves scared. Not just about going out in public- but about what to do if they ever find themselves in an active shooter situation.
WJZ spoke with Dave Hopp, president of Centennial Protection Group and a 28-year retired captain with Maryland State Police.
His company trains people to defend themselves in active shooter situations- on what to look for when you’re out in public and how to defend yourself if you are ever in that situation.
They use the RESIST10 method- which educates people on how to protect themselves in an active shooter situation.
The average time for first responders to get to an active shooter scene is between 12 and 14 minutes, Hopp said, with the national average shooting being around 10 minutes. Hopp said that it’s important for people to learn the tools to stay alive in the first 10 minutes because that’s how long it takes for first responders to get to the scene.
“We have to be our own first responders so we have to do something for about ten minutes,” Hopp added.
Hopp said that it’s important for people to know the following survivor skills in an active shooter situation.
What To Look For:
When out in public, no matter where it is, Hopp said, people should be looking for what isn’t normal or what is out of the ordinary.
“If you’re in a theatre, and it’s summer and someone’s in there with a coat, that’s a possible problem,” He said, “It’s an indicator,”
He noted some things people need to do once the situation begins:
- Situational awareness: Be aware of your surroundings. Look for places you might not normally go to, like a back room of a grocery store you wouldn’t normally be allowed into, a teacher’s entrance in a school, anywhere to get out of the situation.
- Exits: Where can you leave, and quickly? Where are all the exits in a public place you are in and can you escape through them?
- What can you use to barricade yourself? Find objects in the room you’re in to barricade yourself away from the shooter, or throw at them to “interrupt” them, whether that means knocking them down or distracting them so others can apprehend the shooter and their weapon?
If you do run away, he said to run away as fast as you can in a zig-zag pattern. And don’t worry about making sure everyone is together, he said.
“Get out of the scene as fast as you can and we’ll worry about collecting everyone later,” He said.
But ultimately, Hopp said, if you can’t run away, hide or barricade yourself, fighting is the next option to survive.
How To Fight Back:
“In that setting, it’s best if you swarm,” He said. “Aka multiple people going after the assailant using whatever is necessary to beat that person,”
He said those people should go for the groin, eyes, and anything to take them to the ground. People will go low or go toward the legs to take the person to the ground and ultimately cover up the weapon.
But, he added, victims should not take the weapon away and keep it on them- instead- they should cover it up.
“Whoever has the weapon will look like the assailant,” Hopp said.
What To Do After The Shooter’s Been Taken Down:
When first responders do come, they are not going to attend to the wounded just yet. They’re looking for the assailant first.
They ask that those who are running away or hiding on the scene have their fingers spread apart to set them apart as victims- not shooters.
All in all, he said- trust your gut.
“If something doesn’t seem normal, it’s not normal,” Hopp said.