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'Weapons of Opportunity': Experts Explain How Your Family Can Survive an Active Shooter

Avoid hiding in bathrooms, quiz your kids on situational awareness, and don't hesitate to run away if you hear a noise that sounds like gunfire, experts say

After two mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, WFMY News 2 spoke with experts about how your family can survive an active shooter situation in a public space.

Connie Chesner, Founder of Armored Self Defense in Clemmons, teaches people how to prepare their minds and bodies for the unexpected.

"It's not a paranoid mindset, it's a prepared mindset," said Chesner. "What would I do if something were to happen-- where are the people that I love? Where are the people that I am with? And do we have a plan in place?"

Here are recommendations from Chesner:

Notify a trusted person when you are entering or leaving a public space. Use GPS phone tracking applications if that is easier.

Make a plan with your family that includes a safe meeting place in the event of danger.

Look for all possible exits as soon as you enter a public space.

"Think about meat counters, or deli places, there are all places at the back of grocery for you to actually do those alternate exits," said Chesner.

Bathrooms are often a bad idea to hide in because they often do not have secondary exits and you can become trapped, Chesner said.

If you hear gunshots in a large building, do not assume you know the direction the sound came from.

Watch how other people are reacting and where they are running to avoid heading toward danger.

Regarding the mantra "Run, hide, fight": "Run is your best option, but don't think about that necessarily as one big run. You may have to run, hide, go back to running, and hide again. Take those things in stages to use that environment to your advantage," Chesner said.

"Weapons of opportunity": Look for objects in the environment around you that could become means to hide, defend, or attack.

Chesner said a table, for instance, can become a tool for hiding or defense.

Try as best you can to run away from the active shooter. As a last resort only, attack the active shooter.

"In an active shooter situation, you're not going to have a tremendous amount of options, unless you have highly specialized training. Going towards a gun is never a really great idea, especially somebody who has adrenaline going, like an active shooter would be, and probably is prepared for lots of things to happen and they have shown they have no love of life," said Chesner.

Don't be afraid to avoid the herd mentality and run in a different direction from the crowd.

Pick up children and grab the hands of your loved ones to avoid leaving people behind on accident.

'Your life is depending on inches and seconds'

Marko Galbreath is the owner and instructor with T4Tactics, with years of experience in law enforcement and teaching courses about active shooter situations.

"We live in the day and age where these active shooter attacks are a reality," said Galbreath. "They are occurring frequently and they are occurring everywhere."

Here is guidance from Galbreath about how you can survive an active shooter situation:

Immediately check your surroundings as soon as you walk into a public space.

"When you walk into that Walmart, it should start in the parking lot, where you park, when you get out of your car, look around, does anything look unusual?" Galbreath said.

Search for alternative exits.

"You have a plan - if I'm standing right here at the meat counter, and I hear shots, I'm over the meat counter, and in the back to the employee section and out the back door," said Galbreath.

If you hear a noise that sounds like gunshots, do not hesitate to react and run away.

"The human brain want to edit it out, and we want to think, 'It's not gunfire, it doesn't happen to me here at Walmart, it happens somewhere else.' You are wasting valuable time when you are doing that," said Galbreath."Your life is depending on inches and seconds, you have to move immediately."

Run away as quickly as possible while also not becoming an easy target

"Running away, you don't want to run straight because the active shooter, that's an easy shot. Most of these guys and girls practice stationary targets, so you want keep moving, zig zag, don't get in a pattern they can recognize."

Teach your kids active shooter safety by creating a game.

"Teach them situational awareness, so when you go out to a place to eat, look around the room and take notes of unusual things. When you get back into the car, quiz your kid on it. And then you tell your child, the next time we go out to eat, you're going to take notes and quiz me, and then we are going to play a game," said Galbreath.

Avoid hiding in a corner.

Fight only as a last resort.

"The first thing you want to do is put distance between you and that shooter, get away," Galbreath said. "But if you're backed into a corner, you may have to fight, and that's when you fight their violence with superior violence, you go all out."

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