One of the questions I am most asked about Run/Hide/Fight pertains to whether the entire school should always try to run or evacuate as a first response to a violent intruder or active shooter. Short answer: No.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) presents Run/Hide/Fight as options, not building-wide action plans. When presenting Run (or evacuate) DHS says to try and evacuate if there is an accessible escape path. A hallway packed with students (and a possibly killer) may not be a path of escape. At a minimum it is never ALWAYS a path of escape and thereby not always the first choice.

During an active shooter attack, some people inside the school will likely need to implement Run. However, a building-wide strategy to Run is only slightly better than a building-wide strategy to Hide (lockdown). Building-wide action steps work for fire (evacuate) or severe weather (shelter in place), but intruder response plans must options.

Run/Hide/Fight are options, not a liner system. During an active shooter event persons in different locations will experience circumstances that require them to implement different actions. For instance, if there is a violent intruder in the cafeteria, Run would be the best response for those in the cafeteria (direct contact). At the same time, the best response for teacher in a classroom (indirect contact) may be to Hide by locking or even barricading the classroom door.

The level of contact with the attacker and the staff member’s location determines the best response.

Contact + Location = Response

One size fits all responses; while convenient for “Experts”, simply do not provide occupants the maximum opportunity to survive. Work with your local law enforcement to determine scenarios and locations where Run makes sense and train together.

Staty safe


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