Could you survive a mass shooting? How to prepare for an attack

Bloodied students lay strewn about the courtyard of Pompano Beach High School Friday, apparent victims of four gun-toting, bullied classmates out for revenge.

Except that the attacks — which drew SWAT, Pompano Beach Fire Rescue, a chase dog and robot — were a Broward sheriff’s drill to prepare for mass shootings, and the kids’ “wounds” were created by a makeup artist.

Mass shootings are happening more often and can have deadly consequences for an unprepared public, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says. It is essential to have a survival plan, say authorities, who routinely train for such shootings.

Sunrise Police Officer Cindi McCue warned: “Don’t wait until an emergency is unfolding to formulate a plan.”

Survivors of mass shootings in South Florida recall them as fast-moving events that prompt gut reactions.

“One thing I didn’t prepare for was how scared I would be,” said Arthur Pumpian, 65, who survived a 1996 workplace shooting in West Palm Beach when he witnessed a colleague die.

People should learn to recognize the sound of gunfire, and always note the nearest escape routes, Homeland Security says. If a shooter appears, flee. If you can’t run safely, hide in a secure place. Only as a last resort should you attempt to overcome a gunman.

The gunmen, called “active shooters” by police, are spurred to kill by anger, revenge or ideology, or suffer from untreated mental illness and randomly fire at…


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