Staying safe in an active shooter situation

TYLER - In light of the most recent mass shootings in Gilroy, CA, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas (BBB) felt it appropriate to offer the following tips on how to keep your loved ones safe should you ever be faced with an active shooter situation. It is not an easy topic to consider, but it is one which needs to be discussed and practiced. The tips come from Mark Seguin, founder and CEO of BBB Accredited Business TBG Solutions, Inc.

1. Run

Leave your belongings behind

Put as much distance as possible between you and the shooter

Remember, windows are an escape option

Run outside the building if possible and find protection there

Split up; you are an easier target for a shooter in a group

Keep your hands visible for law enforcement

2. Hide

Hide in closets, bathrooms, or in the ceiling (If the room has ceiling tiles, you can push them up and climb into the attic).

Lock and barricade the door, either by tying the door shut with a belt, cord or rope, piling furniture in front of it, or tying a rope to a piece of furniture which is wider than the door if the door opens outward.

Silence your phone. Keep in mind that your cell phone ringing or vibrating will alert the shooter to your presence. Never assume others will call 9-1-1. Law enforcement needs as much information from as many different perspectives as possible. Only call 9-1-1 if you are sure the shooter isn’t close enough to hear you.

3. Fight … and fight unfair

Many everyday items can be used as improvised weapons in order to distract or incapacitate the shooter. For example, cell phones and laptops can be thrown at the shooter to distract them. Fire extinguishers can be used to shoot in the intruders face as a distraction or to hit them. Even a pot of hot coffee can be used as an effective tool to temporarily incapacitate the shooter.

Have an active shooter kit which includes fire extinguishers, hammers (to use for getting out of a window or to throw at the shooter), rope (to tie doors shut), and long range pepper spray.

Hide behind the door and grab the shooter’s legs as they enter.

Turn off the lights and place obstacles to trip the shooter as they come in.

Be aggressive and commit to your action. If you hesitate, it could mean your life.

When law enforcement arrives, remember to remain calm, drop everything from your hands, keep your fingers spread, and never touch the officers.

The main thing is to have a plan of action for each of the places you frequent, including your own home. It’s important to know and practice what you will do ahead of time. Plan where you will run, where you will hide and how you will fight if needed.

After every public tragedy, people want to help in any way possible, which often means contributing to fundraisers to help the survivors and the families of the victims. Sadly, scammers often take advantage of these moments of vulnerability to deceive donors. Please remember to give wisely by researching donation seeking organizations at

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373 or use BBB Scam Tracker.  

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair andhonest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.

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