El Paso Attorney On Best Ideas To Survive An Active Shooting

emergency fire exit sign

It’s a terrifying trend we’re seeing across the United States: active shooters. The motive that leads someone to commit such a horrific act remains a mystery. What we do know is that mass shooters are becoming a growing threat to public safety.

One particular incident that made national headlines happened right here in El Paso in August. Twenty-two people lost their lives. Another 26 sustained serious wounds after a 21-year-old Dallas-area resident opened fire at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall. Another active shooter in Midland and Odessa took the lives of seven people and injured another 21 after a routine traffic stop.

Unfortunately, we don’t know when the next mass shooter will strike. Law enforcement does their best to identify suspects and stop them before they have the chance to harm anyone. In one case, police successfully halted a potential shooter who was a student at North Carolina University.

Many mass shooters are seemingly “normal” people on the surface that often slip under the radar, however. Furthermore, mass shootings can happen at any moment with no warning.

What safety measures can you take?

Nobody should have to live in fear or stop going about their life because of these horrific acts. The best we can do at this point is be aware that they can happen unexpectedly and be prepared when they do. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security suggests doing the following:

  • Any time you’re in public, be aware of your surroundings and any possible dangers.
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any building you enter.
  • Stay put and ensure the door is secure, if you’re in an office.
  • Get inside a room and secure the door, if you’re in a hallway.
  • If you’re unable to retreat and an active shooter is nearby, take physical action. You have a greater chance of survival in this case than if you do nothing at all.
  • Once it is safe to do so, call 911.

Employers, schools and other facilities must have a plan

Employers and schools should have a safety plan in place. It’s critical to ensure you have:

  • An escape route pre-planned
  • A secure hiding space if no escape route is available

In the event of an active shooter, it’s also crucial to:

  • Not allow anyone into an area where an active shooter may be
  • Help others evacuate
  • Evacuate, even if others refuse to do so
  • Avoid moving wounded people
  • Stay out of view of an active shooter
  • Lock the door and/or blockade it with heavy furniture
  • Silence cellphones and other electronic devices
  • Shut off all sources of noise and remain quiet
  • Hide behind large objects
  • When police arrive, remain calm, follow orders, put down items, and keep your hands visible

If you’re able to call 911, be sure to provide the operator with the location of the active shooter, the number of shooters (if more than one), the shooter’s physical description, type and quantity of weapons, and the number of potential victims.

At Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, PLLC, we urge everyone to follow these measures and stay safe. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us online. We handle all types of personal injury cases, including negligent security, and can help you explore your legal options.

Michael J. Gopin

Michael J. Gopin has practiced law in El Paso since 1987. Even after more than 30 years, he still remembers his first jury case. It was two weeks after receiving his license, when he represented a person whose life had been forever changed after being blinded in a work-related incident...


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