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Federal officials talk about surviving workplace shooting

7:42 PM, Jan 31, 2013   |    comments
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By Anne Allred

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - When you walk into work every day you're probably thinking about meetings, not murder.

But according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, homicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the workplace.

The Department of Homeland Security says there are three steps that could save your life in the event of an active shooter in the workplace. They are simple and direct guidelines that you can actually remember when you are in the middle of a crisis.

The first step is to run. Before you even call 911, you need to run to your nearest exit. You should have several exit strategies and you should have them planned in advance. Once you are safely out of the building then you should call the authorities.

If the shooter is in the hallway and you cannot escape, the DHS says you must hide. Also plan possible hiding spots in advance.

"You get behind the biggest piece of equipment or find the best hiding place you can," said St. Louis County police spokesperson, Randy Vaughn.

You should turn off your phone so that it won't make any noise including vibration. If it's possible, barricade the door.

"The people that are coming in to take as many lives as they can are not going to spend 15 minutes on one door," Vaughn said.

But if the shooter does come through the door, federal experts say be ready to fight. Think about what you could use to defend yourself or distract the shooter. Vaughn suggested a chair, pen, or your car keys. While a pen doesn't seem like much compared to a gun, Vaughn says the shooter isn't expecting you to think that way.

"He thinks everyone is going to run, everyone's going to hide. A fight, a person who is going to fight him, is going to surprise him and it raises your chances," Vaughn said.

If nothing else, fighting distracts the shooter for a few precious seconds until the police arrive.

Vaughn concluded, "What we're trying to do is raise our chances of survival."


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