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What would you do in an Active Shooter Situation?

Do you run, hide, fight? Credits: leasepics via Creative Commons

It seems like active shooter situations are occurring every week, and now we have had three in a one week period. An article on NPR discusses the possibility of mass shootings being contagious. According to this NYT article “This year, there have been at least 32 fatal shootings with three or more victims in the United States.”

A mass killing is defined by the Justice Department as three or more killings in a single episode. In addition to the recent mass shootings in Public places, Dayton, El Paso and Gilroy, the number of mass shootings being tracked also includes gang related murders. Assuming you don’t live in a gang infested area and you or a family member are not involved in gang related activity it is much less likely that you will find yourself a victim of that type of mass shooting.

The mass shootings we have come to fear are not related to illegal activity, but those taking place at public venues such as stadium concerts, movie theaters, bars, clubs, work places, churches, and schools. They are occurring more frequently and with no solutions in sight we need to know how to protect ourselves.

What steps would you be take to avoid becoming a victim in an Active Shooter Situation?

  1. Know where the exits are when you enter a building or outdoor venue. Identify at least two in addition to the one you entered. You want to know where safety lies before the shooting starts, or before other emergency evacuation are required.
  2. Run! Hide! Fight! Familiarize yourself with Homeland Security’s recommendations for dealing with an Active Shooter Situation.
  3. Visualize the actions you would take. Visualization is a very effective tool for training your brain to respond with either Flight or Fight rather than Freeze.

What are the odds of you becoming the victim of an Active Shooter? Not to lessen the gravity of these tragedies, but to put the danger into perspective, you have a much greater life time chance of dying from riding in a car, van or truck 1 in 313, or falling 1 in 122 than the 1 in 11,125 chance of dying in an Active Shooter situation, per an article from Business Insider.

If you would like to take a deep dive into everything you need to know about dealing with an active shooter situation, I highly recommend the recent post by Greg Ellifritz Active Killer Advice Compendium. It is worth it.

Educate yourself about the dangers you face. Take a Self-Defense Class and learn to identify and avoid potentially dangerous people, places and situations.

If you are interested in a Personal Safety/Self-Defense Class for you, your family, your child’s high school, college, business, or organization contact me at

Thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students have learned how to improve their personal and situational awareness and to physically defend themselves using a wide variety of Martial Arts techniques.

Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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