When an active shooter incident occurs, the response recommended by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – and utilized during the recent incident at the Ohio State University – is Run Hide Fight. The Tweet from Ohio State’s Emergency Management team left many asking what exactly Run Hide Fight means.

While it may seem self explanatory, it is important that you fully understand the nuances behind Run Hide Fight to remain as safe as possible during an active shooter situation. The Department of Homeland Security outlines its Run Hide Fight recommendation as follows:

  1. Run
    • Have an escape route and plan in mind
    • Leave your belongings behind
    • Keep your hands visible
  2. Hide
    • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
    • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors
    • Silence your cell phone and/or pager
  3. Fight
    • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
    • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
    • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the shooter

It is important to note that these three steps shouldn’t always be done in succession. If you can run, run. If you can’t, try and hide. And if neither run or hide are an option, fight. Emergency managers and security professionals need to make sure people understand Run Hide Fight prior to an incident to ensure everyone is fully prepared and understands what they need to do during an active shooter situation.

For more on Run Hide Fight, check out the following video from the Department of Homeland Security:

To learn more about active shooter preparedness and response, Steven M. Crimando, Principal, Behavioral Science Applications, expands on run hide fight in his detailed account on how you can prepare for and respond to active shooter situations, “The Evolution in Risk and Response: Next Generation Active Shooter Preparedness,” which you can access for free here.