Three words that could save lives in mass shooting - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Three words that could save lives in mass shooting

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Lt. David Agee of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. (abc3340.com) Lt. David Agee of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. (abc3340.com)
Spencer Collier, Director, Alabama Department of Homeland Security. Spencer Collier, Director, Alabama Department of Homeland Security.
Run when an active shooter is in your vicinity. Run when an active shooter is in your vicinity.
Hide if evacuation is not possible. Hide if evacuation is not possible.
Fight as a last resort, and only if your life is in danger. Fight as a last resort, and only if your life is in danger.
BIRMINGHAM - AL -

In schools, hospitals, even places of worship- shootings can happen anywhere. The state wants citizens to have a plan and be prepared.

Three words may save lives- run, hide, fight. That's the message in a video released by the Alabama Department of Homeland Security. It's the state's response to safety concerns amid the recent shootings and local law enforcement are behind it.

A Connecticut elementary school, a Portland mall even a Birmingham hospital were all work places where shootings took place.

"Anything we can do to increase the chances of surviving a violent encounter is good," said Lt. David Agee of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

A new video released by the Alabama DHS is an attempt to educate citizens.

"I encourage you to be prepared and to remember to run hide fight should this happen to you," says Alabama DHS Director Spencer Collier in the video.

Collier is followed by narration and a simulation of a work place shooting.

"Occasionally, life feels more like an action movie than reality," says the narrator. "The warning signs may vary but the devastation is the same."

Seconds later, the shooter enters the work place in the video and opens fire on unsuspecting employees.

The message is simple and repeated often- run hide fight.

"Just like we have a plan for weather emergencies- if you have a plan in place, it's easier to act on rather then go into panic mode when things happen. Bad things happen quickly," said Lt. Agee.

Agee has seen the video and agrees to run to an exit or escape route if you can. If not, hide before calling 911.

"If you can secure yourself and make that call, you might be able to give us more information as far as the description of the bad guy, the location. All those things are important," he said.

The last resort is to fight.

"Improvise weapons. Disarm him. Commit to taking the shooter down no matter what," says the video's narrator.

Law enforcement undergo their own training for such emergencies and revisit their plans. Even those plans have changed, especially after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

"Rather than setting up a perimeter and waiting for the bad guy to come out, we're going in. We're going to get the bad guy," said Lt. Agee.

Agee says the plan laid out in the video is applicable not just at work but school, church, the mall, any where you go.

Other local law enforcement agencies have posted the video to Facebook and have encouraged people to watch it.

The video was created by Pepperdine University and was published to the Alabama DHS website after the governor tasked the director with developing a plan.

"We have been working for some time on a coordinated effort to prevent and respond to situations such as active shooters," said Governor Bentley in a statement. "This requires not only continued law enforcement training, but also input and preparation among the public. We hope to prevent tragedies from happening. In the event of a tragedy, we are prepared to respond."

The video does show a simulation of a shooting. Parental guidance is suggested. It can be viewed here.

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