‘Run. Hide. Fight.’ Unfortunate sign of times
by Jack Mcneely
Mar 24, 2013 | 1132 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack Mcneely
Jack Mcneely
There’s a new sign of the times towering over Old U.S. 78 these days. A billboard located near the entrance of Home Depot and facing eastbound traffic promotes a statewide “Active Shooter Protocol.”

“Run. Hide. Fight.”

The billboards are the latest addition to a statewide advertising campaign to promote tips if you find yourself in an active shooting situation while at work, school, mall or in any other public place.

I remember as a youngster being taught the fire safety tip of “stop, drop and roll.” But I never imagined back in the ‘70s and ‘80s that we would graduate to an active shooter protocol.

However, it is not surprising today, especially after the deadly theater shooting in Colorado and elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last year. It seems like every time we pick up a newspaper or tune in to the evening news, we read or hear about an active shooter in a public place.

Officials with the Homeland Security say there are billboards in most major cities in the state of Alabama. They are funded by a $50,000 federal grant and will be in place until July.

Following are tips Homeland Security experts recommend if you find yourself in an active shooter event:


Awareness and preparation are important. Take time to understand your surroundings and environment before an emergency occurs. Ask yourself, “What if?” questions and develop a plan.


Make a decision, trusting your instincts, to take action to protect yourself and survive the situation. You generally will have three options:

•Run: Can you safely escape?

•Hide: Is there a good place to hide?

•Fight: Will you take out the shooter?


•If you can, and you deem it safe, get out and get to a safe place.

•You will have to rely partially on instinct.

•Leave belongings behind, but take your cell phone if it is handy.


•Find a hidden location.

•Find protection behind furniture if possible.

•Find a room that locks if you can.

•If possible, close and lock the outside door to the room. Blockade the door with furniture or other heavy objects.

•Close the blinds, turn off the lights, remain quiet, silence cell phones, spread out away from other individuals, and move behind available cover.
Stay on the floor, away from doors or windows, and do not peek out to see what may be happening.

•Make a plan with others in the room about what you will do if the shooter enters. Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others.

•Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.

•If possible and safe to do so, report the location of the assailant.


•Drop to the ground immediately, face down as flat as possible. If within 15-20 feet of a safe place or cover, duck and run to it.

•Move or crawl away from gunfire, trying to utilize any obstructions between you and the gunfire. Remember that many objects of cover may conceal you from sight, but may not be bulletproof.

•When you reach a place of relative safety, stay down and do not move. Do not peek or raise your head in an effort to see what may be happening.

•Wait and listen for directions from Public Safety and/law enforcement personnel.


•An individual must use his/her own discretion about when he or she must engage a shooter for survival.

•Make a plan as to how you will survive the situation.

•Make a total commitment to action and act as a team with others if possible.

•Do whatever is necessary to survive the situation.


•Warn others.

•Help others escape.

•Keep others away from the danger area.

•Help the injured.

•Help others stay calm.


•Call 9-1-1 to report the appropriate authorities. Do not assume that someone else has reported the incident. Be persistent; phones may be jammed.

•Calmly identify yourself and your exact location. Remain calm and answer the dispatcher’s questions. The dispatcher is trained to obtain the necessary and required information for an appropriate emergency response.

•If safe to do so, stop and take time to get a good description of the criminal. Note height, weight, sex, race, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, and his/her name, if known.

If the suspect is entering a vehicle, note the license plate number, make and model, color, and outstanding characteristics.

All of this takes only a few seconds and is of the utmost help to the responding officers.

Additional information about the new statewide active shooter protocol and video can be found at: http://dhs.alabama.gov/activeshooter.aspx.

Let’s hope we never need it.

Jack McNeely is publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.