16 Tips To Survive An Al-Shabaab Shooting

One of the terrorists in the Dusit Terror Attack (Courtesy)

In the modern world, terrorist groups like Al Shabaab, Boko Haram and lone shooters have been a source of terror for people in confined and populated spaces.

In Kenya, for example, we have had active shooters storm into malls like Westgate, schools like Garissa University and hotels like Dusit where scores of people were killed

Clint Emerson, retired Navy SEAL, and crisis management professional recently took to BuzzFeed Unsolved Network where he shared some helpful information on how to survive an active shooter.

He said that you have three options, run, hide and if the worst comes to worst, fight the shooter.

“Simple things you must do if an active shooter is on your vicinity; Run, Hide and Fight,” said Emerson.

He then went to break it down as follows:


1.Figure Out Where the Shots Are Coming From

He said that sometimes during a shootout, gunshots can feel like they are coming from the right when in actual fact they are coming from the left. This is due to how soundwaves travel in hallways, stairways, and tight spaces.

“Stop for a second, trust your eyes and question your ears. Don’t just run. Know your routes. Think about where you would run to at all times so if shots are fired you already know where to run to,” Clint advised.

2.Run in A Zigzag Pattern

People running for their lives during the Dusit attack (Courtesy)

This is especially in an open space like a basement. Running in this manner forces the shooter to change his movements left to right and elevation, up and down. Don’t run in a straight line.

3. Don’t Run with Everyone Else
“Being part of the herd is what the shooter is going to shoot at, a large body of people,” said Clint.

4.Run from Cover to Cover from Concealment to Concealment

Don’t just run, run and hide. Ideally, find a hiding stop that stops bullets.

E.g.; If you are in a parking lot, hide near the engine of a car instead of the boot because the bullet will pass through the boot.


 5. Find the Hiding Locations in Advance

If you are in a mall, a hotel or coffee shop always think about the places you can run to incase things pop off.

6. Avoid Dead Ends in Hiding Places

A washroom is a dead end (Courtesy)

Dead ends like bathrooms because they cannot be barricaded and have no exit.

“An ideal hiding spot should enable you to barricade the door and escape the room,” explains the former Navy SEAL.

7.Block the Door First
If you run into a room barricade the door by stacking things like chairs in a linear manner to the opposing wall.

However, don’t spend too much time near the door as this will put you at risk of beings shot at.

“Keep your body away from the centre of the door,” Emerson advises.

8. Put Your Phone on Silent, Switch Off Lights and Lock Doors

Put Your Phone on Silent or on Do Not Disturb mode (Courtesy)

9. Keep Your Body Away from Doors and Walls
“Assume the shooter will shoot through doors and walls,” he said.


If running and hiding are impossible the only other option is to fight. If you are fighting you only have one shot.

“Fight for your life. Your level of violence has to be greater than your adversary,” Clint said.

When it comes to fighting, you have to fight strategically. First, you disarm the shooter then tackle him to the ground. To do this you need to;

10.Team Up with People Willing to Fight
Strategize on how to take the shooter down. One can go for the gun others can go for different body parts.

11.Gain Control of The Gun First

Gunman (Pexel)

Emerson says that you should get a firm grip on the gun then drop to the ground, this will strip the gun from the shooter or they will go down with the gun.

12. Destabilize the Gunman

The best way according to Emerson is by gaining control of the shooter’s spine either by the head or the hips. Since the head is harder to reach grab him by the hips then another person can grab the head.

13.Grab and Tackle the Shooter
Emerson advised that since adrenaline is surging through your body at a high rate, your hands cannot manage small movements, so go for huge ones like tackle and grab the shooter.

“At a time like this, you only got one try, make it count,” the crisis management professional stated.

14.Improvise Your Weapons

Use improvised weapons such as scissors and stab the shooter in the face or spray and hit him with a fire extinguisher.

15. Ensure That the Shooter is Neutralized Before Helping the Victims.

“Don’t turn your back on him,” Emerson advised.

16. Wait for the Professionals to Come and Help

Hero rescues survivors of the Dusit attack (Courtesy)

“Remember in the unlikely event you hear shots fired, run, hide fight. These are not in any particular order. Your environment, the situation, and your personal capability will decide what you are going to do. By using this mantra, you will increase your odds of survival,” he concluded.

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