How to plan for an active shooter attack

FOX 7 talked to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, or ALERRT, Center at Texas State, One of the largest active shooter defense training programs in the United States, to find out what people can do if they are involved in an active shooter event.

ALERRT trains law enforcement and civilians how to best prepare in case they are targeted in an attack.

The most important thing they tell people to remember is to trust their gut. And if something seems out of place, remove themselves from the situation before becoming a victim.
It is all too familiar to hear about a mass shooting somewhere in the United States.

"We've seen, since 2000, there's been an uptick in the number of active shooter events that we've seen. And that's kind of plateaued out, so in the last five years, we've seen an average of 18 attacks per year," said Pete Blair Executive Director of ALERRT.

When there's one shooting, there's usually another just around the corner.  

"There's been some research recently that's come out on mass shootings that suggests the contagion effect, that says when you see one shooting, your risk of seeing another for a period of time has increased," said Blair.  

Blair said because shootings are more common, it's important to plan for them. ALERRT trains civilians to have three courses of action.

"If you can get out of there and get away from the attacker safely, we want you to do that as your primary and first choice. Get out of the building," said Blair.  

If there is no way to get out of the danger zone, Blair suggests moving on to plan B.

"Then we want you to deny access to your position from the attacker. So keep that guy from getting in the room with you. Close the door, lock it, barricade the door," he said.

Blair said as a last resort, stand up and fight.

"In a situation where someone is trying to kill you, you have a legal right to defend yourself," said Blair.  

The best thing to do in any situation is to have a plan. Blair said in a movie theater, people often choose seats without a clear exit strategy.
"I try to get right in the middle of the theater if I can, like right in the center," said El Paso resident Andres Diaz.  

"I sit in the center and I sit a little bit behind, because if someone's going to try and get a shot, they may be at the front of the theater and make themselves the center of attention, so I'm further back," Larry Stein who was visiting Austin from Oklahoma said.

Blair said a better plan is not to sit in the center of a theater.

"Well, that gives you the fewest options for getting out if there is a problem. So you might choose to sit on the edge of a row, or something like that, that would give you a better chance to flee," Blair said.

Nicole Greene with the Austin chapter of Mom's Demand Action said this latest shooting is just one more example of why America needs stricter gun laws.

"Our elected officials have been asking for thoughts and prayers, but that's not enough. Now it's time to take action. It's time to close loopholes that allow dangerous folks to get guns," said Greene.

Greene said countries with more gun control tend to have fewer gun deaths.

"It's time for us to feel safe when we go to see a movie, when we walk with our kids around the mall, when they go to school, when we go to church," said Greene.  
But some people FOX 7 talked to said they actually feel safer with a gun in their possession.

"They need to go and realize that getting a concealed carry permit is the best insurance policy and I only carry because I can't carry a police officer on my back and they're probably 20 minutes away," Stein said.

Blair said being a victim in an active shooter attack is less likely than getting struck by lightning. People in Austin tell FOX 7 they won't let this latest shooting keep them away from the big screen.

"We can't let something like that affect how we live our lives," said Undrae Fairley who moved to Austin 15 years ago.
Blair said in any situation people should try to have an escape plan, know their nearest exits and call 911 once they get to a safe area.

Click here to read an ALERRT informational flyer.