Do you know what to do when confronted with a life-threatening event like a shooting, criminal assault or terrorist attack? There are several ways to make sure you are ready if the unthinkable happens.


One of the key factors needed in a dangerous situation is your mindset. It is extremely important to always be alert to what is going on around you. The brain finds it very difficult to immediately transition from a state of ignorance and being “tuned out” to one of high alert. Many times, people freeze and don’t do anything because they are unable to process the danger facing them. This kind of panic or fear can be dangerous because it makes the individual unable to save themselves or others. Another important element is trusting your gut when it says something is off. Be aware that there is evil in the world and there are people that want to hurt others. Denying potential danger will not make it go away. Don’t dismiss warning signs that something is not right! When you are in tune with what is going on around you or “situationally aware”, you are able to be prepared for an attack that could be about to happen. This is something Stratfor Global Intelligence calls attack recognition. They note that, “the earlier a target recognizes the attack, the better.”

It is important to know that criminal and terrorist attacks are usually pre-planned and can be recognized if a potential victim understands what to look for. Criminals and terrorists are usually unable to fully mask their intentions so early detection is possible if you are paying attention. Although it is possible to incorrectly think there could be an attack happening when it isn’t, it is still better to make that mistake and survive then not do anything and end up a victim.

Run, Hide, Fight

In a shooting situation, a person must decide where the gunfire is coming from and then whether to run, hide or fight. You must run as soon as you determine where the gunfire is coming from so you are not caught in the middle of the attack. Most attackers are fortunately not well-trained in marksmanship. They often miss even when shooting high-powered guns. This allows for individuals to get to safety and away from the shooter quickly.


How can a potential victim reduce their chances of being shot? It’s important to remember this acronym: Motion, Distance, Angle, Cover, and Concealment. A shooter finds it harder to shoot a moving target than one that is still, especially at a distance. If you can put more than 7 meters between you and your attacker, there is less chance they will be able to shoot you. Motion and distance are both essential. Angle is also important—shooting a target running in a straight line is much easier to do than an object at an angle. If an individual can run at an angle and get behind things such as cars, trees, houses, that gives them a much better chance to not get shot. There is a difference between concealment and cover. Concealment will prevent the shooter from seeing you, but may not protect you from bullets. Cover will protect you from both.

Inner Warrior

Mindset is extremely important when one becomes wounded. Most wounds are not automatically fatal and do not incapacitate the victim immediately. It is essential to not drop to the ground and freeze in panic or shock. This gives the shooter more time to shoot you at point-blank range. It is also crucial to realize that most gunshot wounds are not fatal as long as medical attention is sought as soon as possible. It is imperative that the wounded get out of the dangerous area and to safety. Your body is amazing. You can continue to push through obstacles, as many soldiers and athletes have found, long after your mind says you are done. You have to listen to your inner warrior in order to survive.

Atlas Aegis educates and provides resources to our clients so they can know what to do when faced with a life-threatening situation. We want to educate, empower and support our clients so they are ready to face whatever might happen.