Active shooter situations, like the incident at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night, often stir up questions on both the public and private scale.
How can anyone truly be prepared for an active shooter?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides a plethora of resources online for private citizens, business leaders and first responders at www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness, and here are some of the highlights for the average person.
Active shooter situations are unpredictable and unfold quickly, but typically last 10 to 15 minutes, according to the department's site. Officials advise always being aware of the two nearest exits and any possible dangers. If an active shooter situation takes place inside a building, go to the nearest room and lock the door. Only try to take down a shooter as a last resort.
The mantra for reactions in these situations is run, hide, fight - in order of importance.
If there is a way out, escaping should be the priority. Leave belongings behind, help others if possible, keep hands visible and follow emergency responders' instructions.
Hiding is the next option. Find a location out of the shooter's view that does not restrict movement and lock or blockade any entrances. Turning off a cell phone can help as well.
Attempting to incapacitate the attacker is the last resort. Do this by throwing items or improvising weapons, like fire extinguishers, yelling and committing to actions.
Plainfield Fire Deputy Chief Jon Stratton said village first responders preach the same advice. Police and fire participate in annual active shooter drills, and Stratton said their approach evolves from year to year.
"From the Columbine days to what we’re learning now, everything is changing," Stratton said.
It's also important to know that the first emergency responders to arrive likely will not tend to those who are injured.
"Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons," the resources state. "They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises."
The department site includes tips for office leaders to prepare their staff for these situations and identify potential risks.
Stratton said it is important to always stay vigilant and report suspicious activity in an attempt to avoid these violent situations altogether.