Lessons of the Run, Hide and Fight Video

After the Aurora movie theater shootings in Colorado a few months ago, it was on my mind to write a column about what you might be able to do in a situation involving a crazed gunman, but I wanted to wait until the media hysteria died down before doing so. Well, it’s happened again, so I figure I might as well discuss it now and maybe provide some food for thought if you ever find yourself in such a rare – but critical – situation.

You may have heard of the Run, Hide and Fight video, which was created by the City of Houston Department of Public Safety and Homeland Security. If you haven’t, you’re obviously not one of the 1.5 million people who have already watched it video on YouTube, but it’s time you did. The video has generated a lot of discussion on whether it’s a good idea to advise ordinary citizens on how to defend themselves against a madman.

Whenever I’m discussing disaster preparedness, I remind people that it’s not just about the end of the world, an economic meltdown or the zombie, it’s about being prepared for ordinary things: Sudden power outage, a winter storm, a tornado, wildfires and other disasters that we read about in the news every week.

Unfortunately, two of the disaster scenarios that we read about all too often is workplace violence and public rampages (usually at shopping malls). Even if your company doesn’t have disgruntled ex-employees, sometimes an angry ex-boyfriend or husband can try to seek revenge on the woman he was attached to or a guy he was competing with. And while often think of public rampages as something that involves male perpetrators, I recently saw some stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows women commit workplace violence more often than you might realize.

In response to that, as well as the Aurora movie theater shootings, the city of Houston put out a six-minute long video called Run, Hide and Fight. Now, I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that they advise you to take action to a workplace violence incident in one of three ways:

  • Run to an exit and get out of the building
  • Hide, if you can’t get out of the building
  • Fight for your life, if all else fails

I feel that the video is worth six minutes of your time and encourage you to click on this link to view it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0

Most people have been very supportive of this PSA, but I did hear one federal government official comment that it can be dangerous to give people recommendations on what to do in case – if they choose the wrong option – they could hold you liable. It struck me as kind of puzzling: Isn’t having information better than NOT having information?

And in anything in life, we can choose options that are wrong. Should we stop teaching driver education classes because somebody might choose the wrong accident avoidance technique? Of course not. Should we stop encouraging people to go wilderness camping just in case they get lost or injured? That would be silly.

We need to trust people to sift through the available information from a variety of sources (hopefully including my blog) and make your own decisions on what is best to do in your particular situation. Nobody can foresee future events (other than the Big Man Upstairs), but we can at least give each other ideas on being prepared for danger, so we know the choices we may have at our disposal.

The way I see it, having good information to contemplate is always an advantage. Watch the Run, Hide and Fight video and let me know what you think.

Stay prepared and be safe,



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