SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - If the unthinkable were to happen on the Suncoast, and a mass shooting takes place, how would you respond? Would you know what to do?
Experts tell us three words are now the norm: Run. Hide. Fight. Derrick Clark, self-defense instructor and owner of Clark’s Self Defense on Fruitville, and New College of Florida Police Sgt. Jennifer Coley stress the “Run. Hide. Fight.” recommendation.
“If you can run, it’s important to do so,” Coley says. “If there’s a safe path away from the incident, run as far as you can and call 911. If that’s not an option, hide. Barricade the door with heavy objects or furniture, that’s even better ... The last resort is to fight.”
Meanwhile, Derrick Clark says if you have to fight, your keys, a book and even your loose change are tools to win this battle of life or death.
“You see them coming towards you ... You have keys in your pocket, you have keys or anything really, you get a clear shot and throw it at them and then charge! Then hopefully other bystanders will step in to help you,” Clark explains.
He also says remembering to use those simple items is key because you’re less likely to talk down an active shooter once they’re engaging in an attack. He also says to stay calm.
“Relax, breathe! Find your exit routes, center yourself. Be aware of your surroundings and center yourself. That’s the key,” says Clark.
He adds that if you have a family, make a plan ahead of time to find the exits and knowing escape routes and where your family will meet if something were to happen.
And for the police officers at New College, they’re hoping to never see this happen in the areas they police.
“We’re here to keep the students, staff, and visitors to campus safe. It’s terrible to hear about another active shooter incident” says Coley.