Surviving a mass shooting: Quick thinking can save your life

We've heard many of you say after the Las Vegas shooting - "can you go anywhere in a crowd anymore?" 5 On Your Side wanted to get answers about how to react, not to scare you, but to help if you're ever caught in a similar situation. News.

The sad reality is mass shootings like the one in Las Vegas can happen anywhere at any time. That’s why experts say you have to be prepared.

“Statistically these events are rare. But they are becoming increasingly common,” said Dr. Larry Barton, Ph.D. He’s a Distinguished Professor of Public Safety at the University of Central Florida and an instructor at the FBI Academy.

“We've studied now 70 different active shooter situations around the world and one of the things that we've learned is that the people who survived acted very quickly,” said Barton.

He points to a video from the Department of Homeland Security which gives options that can be applied to active shooter situations.

“Those three options are pretty simple: run, hide or fight.”

Barton says every scenario is different and in the Las Vegas case, running may have been the only option for many.

“If you run it's best to zig-zag. Don't be in a predictable line of fire because you have to assume that the gunman is prepared.”

Barton also says sometimes it's best to follow your gut instead of listening to others around you. Here's a perfect example: some concert-goers can be heard on video yelling to a crowd of people who were running from the scene, “It's fireworks. It's fireworks. Stop, it's fireworks.”

“If you're ever in this situation, wherever you are, play to your intuition. It's a gift you were given,” said Barton.

In emergencies, it's easy to get caught up in the chaos. But regardless of the decision you make, Barton says anything is better than not reacting at all.

“There's a scientific term called milling. There's a sense of disbelief, this can't be happening. And that's easy to fall into that. And then, of course, you become a potential victim.”

Dr. Barton also says it's a good idea any time you go out to take note of your surroundings. Know where the exits are and how you would reach them in case of any kind of emergency.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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