Run, hide, fight: A Bedford police sergeant’s advice in active shootings

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — In light of all the recent mass shootings around the country, WFXR News spoke to an expert — a police sergeant who trains civilians in active shooter situations — and gathered some tips that will hopefully help you survive just such an encounter.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re even having this conversation, but unfortunately, it is something we need to think about,” said Sgt. Jonathon Chilcott with the Bedford Police Department.

Chilcott trains people in what to do when there’s an active shooter.

“A strategy I like to teach is run, hide, and fight. Run is always going to be your preferred method.”

According to Chilcott, always know multiple exits wherever you are and get out as fast as your can. Once you’re outside, keep running until you’re somewhere safe and call the police.

“Sometimes, unfortunately, we’re not in those situations though, and we’ve got to hide,” said Chilcott.

“You’re going to turn your cell phone off, maybe turn the lights off so it appears no one is in the room. If you can, there’s some furniture in this room. Perhaps barricade the door somehow. If you’ve got a door jam, shove that up underneath the door. Anything that’s going to prevent the shooter from getting to you. He obviously knows the police are on their way, and he’s unfortunately trying to hurt as many people as possible in a short amount of time. If you have to make him work to get to you, that’s always preferred.”

Chilcott says your final option is to fight. He stresses, though, that this should be a last ditch effort, if you’re actually in a room where you encounter a shooter.

“[A fire extinguisher], that would be the first thing I would pick up. Especially if you’ve got another co worker in the room with you, perhaps one person go for the gun and the other person has that blunt object, and you’re trying to incapacitate that shooter somehow and get that firearm away from him.”

He also says once police enter the building, tensions will be high as they search for the shooter with their guns out, so keep your hands in the air and show you’re not a threat.

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