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Special Report: What to do in a mass shooting

What can we all do to stay safe if we find ourselves in an active shooter event and how can we help others?

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 6:11 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2019 6:30 PM

EUGENE, Ore -- Western Oregon is no stranger to a kind of tragedy that has taken place across the country and even the world, mass shootings, but what can we all do to stay safe if we find ourselves in an active shooter event and how can we help others?

Donnie Myers said he will never forget May 21, 1998. He was a Springfield police officer at the time and was parked near Thurston High School when dispatch alerted him to a report of a gunman inside the school.

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"At that point, we didn't have active shooter training," Myers said. "We still had shotguns in our cars as opposed to rifles."

Myers rushed into action, and soon he and another officer were able to arrest the shooter, Kip Kinkel. But he wasn't ready for what he experienced next.

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"Just kind of a panoramic view of the cafeteria of all the injured shot kids basically," Myers said.

After leaving Springfield police, Myers became the head of campus security at New Hope Christian College in southwest Eugene. There he said he told his students to remember three simple things in the event of a mass shooter: Run, hide, and fight.

RUN

Myers said if you can leave the area safely, do it, and always err on the side of caution.

"If you hear what sounds like gunshots, let's err on the side of gunshots and get the heck out of there," Myers said.

HIDE

If you can't run, Myers said make it hard for the shooter to get to you. Barricade a door and turn off the lights and your phone.

"It's the world's most important game of hide-and-seek," Myers said.

FIGHT

And if it comes to it, Myers said to fight like your life depends on it, because it will.

"Fight with all you got," Myers said. "They're not looking for a confrontation; they want easy targets."


But after the shooting stops, what can you do to help others who have been wounded?

Doctor Travis Littman, the trauma medical director at RiverBend Hospital said three of the victims of the 2015 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College ended up in their care.

"Initially, we were expecting 20, 25 victims, we had no idea what was coming," Littman said. "One of the victims who had multiple extremity injuries, that becomes really important to try and control that hemorrhage."

Jim Cole, the injury prevention coordinator for PeaceHealth, said just like CPR, people need to know how to stop bleeding. He said the average response time for ambulances across the country is seven to ten minutes, but people can bleed out in under five minutes, and during an active shooter situation, he said it can take longer for EMS to help.

"It takes a while in those active-shooter terrorist situations for medical personal to safely go in," Cole said.

Cole has taught staff at Eugene School District 4J and other organizations and how to use a tourniquet and pack a wound. He said the people he has taught have gone on to teach others in their organizations. He said over the years they have given out close to 200 Stop the Bleed kits that include the tools people need to save lives.

"It needs to be the janitor in the school, it needs to be a teacher who is teaching English, that if something happens, they have the training and have the kit in the classroom," Cole said.

Stop the Bleed kits that include tourniquets can cost as little as $70. If you want to take a class to learn how to use them properly, click here.

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