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Safety experts say having a plan of action is key in workplace violence, active shooter situations

Posted at 10:05 PM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 11:37:18-04

Run. Hide. Fight. It's what the Department of Homeland Security says you have to do in order to survive an active shooter situation.

Just this past weekend Las Vegas had another reminder of that when police say an angry employee started shooting inside a Ross store near Blue Diamond Road and Valley View Boulevard.

13 Action News decided to look into whether there is more you can do to protect yourself in that type of situation.

Doron Benbenisty is CEO of  CRI Counter Terrorism Training School.

 "I call it the ugly sister of the active shooter is workplace violence, " said Benbenisty. 

Through simulations and videos they help people formulate a plan to survive any situation. 

"It really comes down to situational awareness," said retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Randy Sutton. "Being aware of your surroundings and then having a plan."

13 Action News spoke with Benbenisty and Sutton, our 13 Action News Crime and Safety Expert, about what to do in specific situations and at known soft targets like a restaurant. Sutton begins with these questions,

"Where is that shooter in relation to the exit? Do you need to go out the front or do you need to go out the back?" 

What about a movie theater?

"The best thing is to get the hell out," said Sutton. "And if you can't the second best thing is to hide and if you are out of options you fight like hell."

"When they tell people to run, hide, or fight, it's so general." said Benbenisty.

He agrees escaping an enclosed area is best, but says that plan of action could change, if you have a child with you, for example. 

"You grab the child," said Benbenisty said. "Hold them close to your body and when you run away use available covers." 

In workplace violence scenarios both agree there are usually warning signs -- an argument or a threat. They don't typically begin violent. 

"They escalate to that point," said Sutton. 

And the attacker usually has an intended target. You may hear shots focused in just one area. 

Generally speaking a workplace encounter often gives you more time to plan an escape or call police so use that time to your advantage.