Active Shooter: These Three Words, In This Order, May Keep You Alive & Unharmed.

It's something that you never think could happen to you; an active shooter situation. When faced with an active shooter scenario, the key to survival can be to RUN-HIDE-FIGHT. Those three words, in that order, may keep you alive and unharmed.

An Active shooter has been announced through your tv, radio or social media outlet. What do you do next?

The phrase has become all-too familiar to Americans in recent years. When you hear it in a newscast or read it in a headline, you know that a person or a group of people with weapons has targeted a public event or an area with a large number of people — all of whom are potential targets.

Citizens need to know what to do should they find themselves in such a dreaded situation. While no plan is foolproof, there are some common-sense guidelines that are the most likely to keep you and your loved ones safe.

Amanda Ripley’s book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes And Why, identifies a three-phase process that everyone goes through during events like these.

DENIAL: There is a moment of disbelief at the beginning when every second is critical. You have to push through that quickly and move forward.

DELIBERATION: You have to have a plan beforehand so it can be implemented when the time comes. The less prepared you are, the fewer chances of survival.

DECISIVE MOMENT: This is when you put your plan of action in motion quickly. According to Ripley’s findings, those who survive go through these three steps faster and take the correct measures at decisive moments because they are better prepared.

An alert and informed person can sometimes thwart a dangerous incident before it starts. That means being aware of your surroundings and any possible dangers. If you spot something suspicious, notify the authorities right away.

There are avenues for active shooter training that can make you better equipped to handle such situations. Take advantage of those opportunities if you can. Make a plan for your family so that everyone knows what to do if a confrontation is imminent.

When faced with an active shooter scenario, the key to survival can be boiled down to RUN-HIDE-FIGHT. Remembering those three words, in that order, can keep you alive and unharmed.

RUN: The best way to get out of danger is to just flee. Leave your belongings behind and get yourself to safety. Help others escape if you can, but make it your mission to evacuate regardless of what others do. Once you are safe, warn people on the outside about the situation and call 911.

HIDE: If escape is not possible, get out of view of the shooter and stay quiet. Make sure your electronic devices are silent. If you are alone in a room in a building under siege, lock and barricade the doors. Turn off the lights and close the blinds. If there are several of you in a group, don’t huddle together; spread out or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter. If possible, communicate with law enforcement via text message or put a sign in a window.

FIGHT: This is an absolute last resort. Once you make that decision, however, commit to it as aggressively as you can. Recruit others to help you if possible. Use whatever is at your disposal — chairs, fire extinguishers, books, scissors, etc. Try to distract and then disarm the shooter.

Once law enforcement has penetrated the shooter’s location, your actions are still important. Keep your hands visible so they know you aren’t the bad guy. Follow the officers’ instructions, whether to stay on the ground or evacuate toward them. Realize that they are armed and may have to use tear gas or pepper spray to neutralize the situation. Do your best to help others, especially the wounded, also get to safety.

You can find more detailed information at, the official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Use whatever tools are at your disposal to educate yourself when it comes to your safety and that of your loved ones.


Ken Malcom has 30+ years experience in law enforcement in Newton & Walton County, GA combined. He joined the Covington, Georgia Police Department in 1986, and worked on patrol and in drug enforcement, community outreach, and investigations. He has over a quarter century’s experience as an educator, teaching children and adults alike about safety. He is well-versed in media and public relations and has an extensive background in managing both staff and volunteers. For 25 years, he has directed the Fuzz Run, a charity 5K race that has helped thousands of Newton County’s citizens and has become one of GA’s premier races.

Ken has demonstrated a commitment of service to this community, serving all citizens with a strong sense of integrity & pride. He believes that his years of experience in law enforcement and community service is the right combination to serve Newton County as Sheriff, and he would appreciate your vote in 2020.


FBI National Academy Graduate

Adjunct Professor Georgia Perimeter College

Police Instructor U.S. Embassy in Republic of Georgia

Adjunct Professor Georgia State University

General Police Instructor

D.A.R.E. Elementary and Middle School Curriculum Instructor

D.A.R.E. Parenting Instructor

Guest Instructor for Georgia Association of REALTORS®

Guest Instructor for Women’s Council of REALTORS®

Guest Instructor for Georgia Real Estate Institute

Neighborhood Watch Instructor


National D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year

Police Star Award (Act of Bravery Award)

YMCA Volunteer of the Year

Physical Fitness Award (Perfect Score)

Humanitarian Award

Covington Rotary Club’s Public Safety Employee of the Year

Covington News “Faces of Newton” Edition

Georgia Runner Magazine’s Best Race in Georgia Award, 2002, 2003, 2004

Georgia Association of REALTORS® Educator of the Year 2006, 2007, 2013

Honorary Officer of the Year (Asheville, NC Police Department)

Meritorious Conduct Award


Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Troy University

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice & General Psychology Program, Summa Cum Laude, Troy University

Carl Vinson Management Institute Graduate

Dale Carnegie Graduate

Clayton County Regional Police Academy Graduate

For more information about the author, Ken Malcom, go to You can also follow Ken Malcom on Facebook at

Release ID: 88945797